Thursday, 11 June 2015

Brighton is the new Edinburgh. (1995)

Having just devoured the new 2015 Edinburgh Fringe programme, and recently performed previews at Brighton Fringe, I've chanced to compare the programmes from the two events and come to a stunning conclusion. Brighton Fringe is the new Edinburgh Fringe. Circa 1995.

This year's Brighton Fringe programme weighs in at an impressive 102 pages and carries an array of shows that seems, to my eye, unrivalled outside of Edinburgh. Of course Edinburgh's programme far outweighs it, with a postal-delivery-worker-stretching 440 pages in this year's volume. But it was not ever thus.

I've had the pleasure of putting shows on at Edinburgh since 2001, and first attended as a punter in 1984, so squirreled away I have quite the collection of programmes. And my pile of Fringe programmes shows quite a steady development over the years.

Last year's Edfringe programme was 408 pages long, 2013's was 392 and 2012's was 376. Back in 2001, the first Fringe programme to feature one of my shows was a mere 176 pages long. And my faded but treasured 1984 programme is but a pamphlet at just 72 pages.

Which shows the Fringe programme growing at a rate of about 20 pages a year. So Brighton Fringe is up to the size that Edinburgh was in approximately 1995 (a year I didn't go, so no prog in the vaults sadly). All of which tells us very little I'm afraid, but if this continues Brighton might want to look to its future with some trepidation. Will their streets be blocked solid with jugglers and fire-eaters for a month, and will every home-owner find themselves renting out their place to visitors at the cost of the GDP of a small developing country every summer? Heaven forfend.

As a small coda, 2015's comedy section in the Edinburgh Fringe programme is slightly smaller than it was last year - 137 pages to 2014's 141 pages - which I at first thought might be down to a smaller number of display ads (certainly the Scottish Falsetto Socks bought an 8th page ad last year and haven't bothered this time, and I notice a lot of fellow shows following suit. What difference this makes to everyone's sales, only August will tell). However, having totted up the number of display ads in the comedy section I find this year has 47.5 pages of ads to 2014's 46.75 pages. Meaning this year has 89.5 pages of actual comedy listings to 2014's 94.5 pages. (2012's programme boasted 143 pages of comedy, inc ads, while 2001's had only 33.)

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are at The Gilded Balloon throughout Edinburgh Fringe 2015, August 5th - 30th. Tickets are on sale now.

Edfringe 2015 - My Top Ten favourite titles (Comedy section)

10  Hal Cruttenden: Straight Outta Cruttenden
9  Lou Sanders: Excuse Me, You're Sitting On My Penis Again
8  Eleanor Tiernan - Don't Cry For Me Eleanor Tiernan
7  Stewart Lee: A Room With A Stew
6  Sajeela Kershi: Shallow Halal
5  Craig Hill: Playing With My Selfie
4  Expect The Unexporcupine
3  That's The Way Aha Aha Joe Lycett
2   Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana Sit In A Fucking Yurt at 11pm and Provide Comedy and Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches
1  David O'Doherty: We Are All Of Us In The Gutter, But Some Of Us Are Looking At David O'Doherty

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