November 2, 2020

What remains of the Fringe when there is nothing to review?

Thom Dibdin | Peter Dibdin, 46

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Photography and text, initially via Social Media but subsequently for print.#NothingToReviewHere, 2020Initially as constrained by Social Media. Ultimately, for exhibition. TBC, but up to 120x120 cm.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, bombastic showpiece of the performing arts, is seemingly limitless in size and the nature of its performances. Even in this fallow, Covid year, it needed to borrow a million Scottish Government pounds to exist. But where is it, this million pound non-event? The venues are there – but can it exist without its performers, creatives and artistes; its critics, chroniclers and workers? The Dibdin Brothers review and photograph and live in Edinburgh. Separately we have chronicled the Fringe for over a third of its life. Together we have met weekly, chronicling a year of cancer, chemo and then Covid. After 2020’s Fringe became an official non-event, minding its famous championing of open access, we decided to see what remained when we weren’t there. Our weekly meeting became daily. Uninvited, we donned our August work gear and visited a different venue every day. A different memory of years past, of shows seen, of people met and stories told. We went to places we had been before, we interrogated them: asking what they are without the people. We spoke of who was there and who was missing. We looked around at the ghosts. Sometimes we cried a little.