I’m sure there are many misleading show descriptions on the Fringe, but the one that is causing me the most trouble right now is “free and unticketed”.
Sometimes it does what it says on the tin. For the marvellous Young Dawkins at the Royal Oak, I turned up, bought my half-a-lager from the barperson, perched on a stool for a while then wandered downstairs to bask in poetry for a while. The lager was tasty, the poetry was great, and everyone who wanted to see it managed to squeeze in, although there were a couple that had to sit on the floor (normally my favourite place to sit, but in a pub? Probably not.)
For Skeptics on the Fringe at the Banshee Labyrinth, I stood and looked confused in the hallway before finally figuring out that the confusing “Cinema” description on the listing did actually tie up with one of the arrows on the big sign. There was a great deal of compression and incredulity that we were expected to fit four to a bench, but everyone did get in.
It’s on the more popular shows that the problem starts.
I try to see Robin Ince. The first time, I fail to tell the difference between Cowgate and Canongate and then walk straight past the Canon’s Gait pub as I hurtle down the Royal Mile. Fail the first.
The second time, I notice a new addition to the pub decor. Many, many signs. “If you are a fan of Robin Ince, you need to get a queuing ticket”. It’s 20 mins to showtime. A queuing ticket is not forthcoming. Fail the second.
The third time, I arrive super-early. I take a raffle ticket. When I turn up two hours later, I still have to stand in a giant queue. The annoying atheists-are-misguided woman behind me in the queue doesn’t have a ticket, but she gets in anyway. At least she wouldn’t have enjoyed the show.
When a free unticketed all-teen performance of Romeo and Juliet pops up on Nearest Next, I merrily wander down Jeffrey Street. It’s 10:30 am for goodness’ sake. Surely not a problem. I check with the people in front of me in the queue. No tickets. Free and unticketed.
Yeah. Tickets. They get in and I don’t. Maybe tomorrow? Or maybe the paid-for shows aren’t such a bad idea after all.