Friday, 31 July 2009

Edinburgh Fringe Preview thoughts concluded

Last night saw the last of our Edinburgh Fringe Previews (for the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Goes To Hollywood, which begins at the Gilded Balloon on Weds Aug 5th, ie 5 days away). It took place at Widcombe Social Club in Bath and was organised by Owen, who I met at an earlier gig and who just suggested doing this off his own bat out of the goodness of his heart. He and his mate Joe are in a band called The Edsel Furies and runs a night called Fluffys, with eccentric acts in.

I was worried at first that we had no lighting or CD player, but the guys got that sorted and I rose to the challenge of the Socks performing under flourescents. It was okay, it worked. Our support was Gentlemans Relish, a one man and his guitar act which was pleasantly somewhere between Ivor Cutler and They Might Be Giants.

As for the content of our actual hour, well. One promising thing was that our hour ended up lasting an hour and a quarter. Which means, given that an Edinburgh Hour is only 55 minutes anyway, we have 20 minutes of chaff to cut away. There is still chaff left, and I'm worried that I'm opening the show with some of it, but some of the material is absolute killer and the audiences have all been full of praise at the end of the shows and, more importantly, forthcoming with laughter during it. Though they laugh more after the first quarter. Oh the boring navel-gazing of comedians, take no notice.

I went over my epic Preview season and gave each show a star rating last night:
1) London preview - cancelled due to organisation probs
2) Leicester preview - 4 stars, brilliant start, not all new material
3) Glasgow preview - cancelled by me cos I couldn't afford the return flight
4) Milton Keynes previe - 4 stars, tremendous. They love us there and make us think anything we do is comedy gold.
5) Bristol preview - 4 stars, excellent, biggest audience and they loved almost everything
6) Bedford preview - 3 stars, a blur, started an hour late, think it went well but too dizzy to remember
7) Gloucester preview - 2 stars, mid afternoon subdued crowd, chickened out and threw in material from touring show as new material wasn't strong enough for a tough crowd
8) Bath preview - 3 stars, went increasingly well but now worried about poorer material early in the hour.

So we've gone from feeling like it was perfect from the start to worrying that it's not all that good, all I can do is sort the stuff into the optimum order, mend the dodgier of the props (Obi Wan Kenobi's arm fell off last night, without getting a laugh, which is worse) and get stuck in next Wednesday. Thanks to all my audiences for sitting through the shows, and saying such nice things, which I can only believe you actually meant. Let's see if Edinburgh audiences, and Edinburgh reviewers, are as kind.

NB: Tickets are selling well in advance, well outstripping both previous years. But there are still 2 days where we've not sold a single ticket - Monday 10th and Monday 24th. I'm wondering whether the box office has some glitch in it and thinks we're taking days off?

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