Base Camp



Gardens at C South, Edinburgh

We left our lodgings at midday and, under low cloud, made the long and arduous trek across the Meadows towards Summerhall. We reached our rendezvous at C South in good time and were introduced to our climbing companions for the day. Alannah struck me as affable and relaxed, and I was relieved to be chosen to join her group. Her companion, Shian, was brusque and sarcastic and she promptly instructed Susan to join her team. We were somewhat dismayed to realise that our usual duo was to be disrupted in this decisive manner and, furthermore, sensed an uncomfortable rivalry between the two leaders, but we were properly equipped for our task and determined to make the best of things. We waved each other farewell as we set off for our respective tents…

Fever Dream’s Base Camp is site-specific theatre. The audience is divided up and herded into separate tents, where we are told the stories of two ambitious young climbers and their upcoming expedition to reach the peak of a dangerous mountain. As their respective stories unfold, we learn something of their shared history and the rivalry that has always been an element of their partnership. From time to time, the two women converse via walkie-talkie, or pay brief visits to each other’s tents. Seated on cushions on the floor, we can hear them squabbling outside and we start to become part of their story. ‘Do you think they are real climbers?’ asks a woman in my group.

Afterwards, when Susan and I compare the two individual stories we’ve heard, we realise that they differ only in minor details and we both find ourselves wishing that they had diverged even more – how satisfying would it have been to learn that the two women have entirely different accounts of how they came to be here? But this is nonetheless an intriguing and ambitious idea and surely one of the most unusual pieces of theatre we’ve encountered at the Fringe.

Those with an adventurous nature should check this out, but if sitting on the floor is a problem, the show may not be suitable for you. Please be aware that audience size is restricted to the number of people you can fit into two large tents, so book early to avoid disappointment!

4 stars

Philip Caveney & Susan Singfield



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