Today was the first day of shows at the Fringe. Even then, the festival really gets going on Saturday, but a lot of shows begin today for previews.
It’s a strange energy around Edinburgh at this time. It’s like everything is superficially in place, as if the Fringe has begun, but not really. Like walking on to a Western set with a few actors thrown in, you feel like if you lean on a wall it will collapse, showing itself to be painted balsa wood all along.
All the bunting is up, all the pieces are in place, but there’s something missing. You look around – flyering teams, people with lanyards working various roles behind the scenes, food stalls, then it hits you… there are no people!
I was out flyering and you simply realise that it’s all too early, there are simply not that many people about. Sure, it’s busier than I found it late the night before, but it’s all quite weird.
My ComedySportz chum Lukas Kirkby, when out flyering, actually had a car stop in the street especially to take a flyer from him. This level of audience enthusiasm is something out of a sick bizarro universe, and should not be trusted.
I think the driver just instinctively realised he had to take one from him to make up for the shear lack of foot traffic. With this act, some kind of balance could be struck in the universe.
My first show
In these circumstances then, acts are happy to have anyone come in to their shows. Sure, many count these as previews, time to do the last tweaks, but you still want some bums on seats.
I was very happy then to get 14 people in to my show today. The show before had managed 6 people, and the show in the room opposite less than that. So yes, I was very happy with the number I got.
It’s always discombobulating getting used to a new room to perform in, especially one you’re going to be in for another 24 days! However, the setup was all fine. I plugged in my phone for a bit of music, checked the sound, and everything was fine.
The audience came in bit by bit. One couple apologised ahead of time that they had to leave in the middle of my show, but put in £10 at the very start of the show. I held this up as an example for the others there to follow.
I really enjoyed my show. Someone has to!
But seriously, to finally be here, to get a decent group in, was wonderful. It all worked well. Yes, it’s a right little sweat box, but then that’s every room at the Fringe, more or less.
I then raced over to Three Sisters for the second ComedySportz show, and made it with a couple of minutes to spare. That was also very nice, especially as the room had air conditioning (ok, maybe not every single room is a sweatbox, but most are!).
I even had time to go the gym and get a workout in.
At this point, I feel quite satisfied with how the first day has gone. However, it will get a lot busier, and I have a lot more spots on a variety of different shows coming up. It will take a lot of energy, but maybe I can let myself feel a little excited looking forward after all.
My show, Shit Socialist, is on 3.15pm, 1-25 Aug, at The Counting House (Attic). Free entry, PWYW.
ComedySportz is on twice daily – INFO