Museum After Hours – Friday Fringe Takeover


Cabaret and Variety

National Museum of Scotland (Venue 179)


(12, 19, 26 Aug ONLY)



The National Museum goes all trendy on a Friday night, offering the discerning patron the opportunity to explore all its galleries and the current Celts exhibition in addition to a wide-ranging programme of entertainment on three separate stages.


There’s too much on offer to be able to see it all, unless you whiz around like a mad thing.  I opted to go for the Grownups Glittery Face Art and the Temporary Celtic Tattoo: I really wanted to do the Mad Celts Selfie but some selfish man had grabbed the long red Merida wig that I lusted after, and didn’t look like he’d let go of it in a hurry: I failed to connect with the Mythical Masks and make myself a spirit animal headpiece to wear, but I saw other people with them, and they looked great fun too.


I caught a bit of the first circus show but missed out on ‘unique contemporary circus’, ‘hip hop, dance and acrobatics’, ‘comedy improv extravaganza’ and Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s musical mayhem in the Grand Gallery, and failed to visit either of the other stages, where I could have seen the queen of rock’n’roll cabaret, surreal stand-up comedy, contemporary mystery and magic, feminist comedy Texan style [now there’s an intriguing prospect!], comedy storytelling, Mimes in Time [‘theatre, comedy, no mime’] (??), an interactive magician and the Harry & Chris Show, and didn’t explore the other galleries where I might have encountered Art & Design curators, roaming costumed characters and various drop-in activities….


I spent the rest of my time in the Celts exhibition, which deserves an evening to itself, and alone just about justifies the cost of a ticket.  If you have boundless energy and stamina, you could probably clock up a lot more than I managed: I feel tempted to go on another night just to see what I missed – though I gather the programme will be different on subsequent nights.


It was a splendid evening, I recommend it to anyone who wants a handy pick’n’mix of what the Fringe has to offer overlaid with a large dose of History and Culture if that’s your scene. Oh yes, and there are bars and food if you need them, and a cloakroom in which you can leave your heavy raincoat, galoshes, giant umbrella and anything else which might impede your progress round this glorious and fascinating museum – what better way to spend a wet Friday night in Edinburgh?


Mary Woodward