23/08/2012 05:16 BST | Updated 22/10/2012 06:12 BST

Where the Devil Eats a Sandwich



How quickly does one get used to a new environment? Here, in the Scottish capital, hundreds of thousands of people roam the streets slipping in and out of shows that seem to be going on day and night, literally (almost) anywhere. On every street corner you find artists - singers, mimes, painters, just name it. Stop for a sandwich and you might find yourself sitting next to the devil and a well-known American comic. If you were to take all the flyers offered to you on the streets here, your arms would buckle under the weight. 'Welcome to The Fringe,' the veterans say.

How we imagined the Edinburgh Fringe of course barely corresponds to how we experience its reality. That same thing happens when you look forward to something, fantasize about something: once you're there, you forget how you'd initially imagined it and you accept immediately what had been a mere fantasy just the day before.

At night, I now dream about Arthur's Seat, that magnificent rock formation cradling Edinburgh (which we still haven't climbed), about exit-flyering and about ventilation in our venue (every night, until the early hours right before our morning shows, Spank takes over the vault that is our venue, so you can surely imagine how the place smells when we arrive freshly showered in the morning). Our daily routines are set, our knowledge of the city's geography reasonably developed.

Last Monday night we took over the baton from Romy and Gable Roelofsen of Het Geluid Maastricht. For two weeks, they played their show Life Is Too Good To Be True at the Bellydancer, one of the Underbelly's venues. Now it's our turn. We celebrated this passing of the baton with a deep-fried Mars bar cake - an extraordinarily shocking Scottish sensation - and fizzy Rosé. A dignified exit for them and a good start for us. It's fun taking over the baton. Like in a relay race, you do almost exactly the same as your team mates before you - just a little later than them. In 2010, the year that Romy and Gable won the Dioraphte Best of Amsterdam Fringe Award, we were in the same space as them and ended up in third place. Now we share an apartment with them, a venue, and producers Flavia and Teunkie. Even the titles of our shows seem to correspond - they could almost be the final two lines in the lyrics of a somewhat heavy-handed singer-songwriter: "Life is too good to be true / Bye bye world."

With our international tour, we constantly break our daily lives, just like our characters. Less radically, of course, but still. The routines of our Amsterdam lives seem miles away, almost forgotten. How many more of these Bye Bye World tours are we going to make? How many more new places will become familiar to us?

I'm in the garden of our apartment as I write this. There is sunshine, there is a breeze. From the church next door - naturally also converted to a Edinburgh Fringe venue - piano music floats through the air. Is this a concert? A saxophone joins in. A warm, deep, jazzy voice. I decide I'll wander over there. Life is almost too good to be true.


Bye Bye World plays daily at Underbelly Edinburgh until 26 August, at 11.35 AM.


On behalf of our director Marjolein Frijling we would like to thank: The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, London; Teunkie van der Sluijs; the teams of Fraser-Cannon Productions and Prospero Communications; and the dear people of the Amsterdam Fringe Festival who have made this unforgettable Edinburgh experience possible.