Sunday, 13 May 2018

Brighton Fringe - Show in the rain

There's nothing more glamorous than standing in the rain for an hour outside a pub giving people soggy bits of paper with the words, "Musical comedy at 2.30," on repeat.

There's nothing more satisfying to be setting up your show an hour later only to find there's a queue snaking down the staircase waiting to come in. 

And so it was that Anna and I performed to a full house on a wet Saturday afternoon with a crowd so warm and friendly you'd happily take them all home for cookies afterwards if you could. Our theatrics went into overdrive and our "crew" became tighter and tighter as the hour wore on. "Airport" finally found an audience comfortable enough to recognise and laugh about the primary effect of global terror being minor inconvenience before boarding a plane and the Brightonians related readily to "gentrifried" chicken. We concluded with a rousing rendition of "West End" (there really is a club out there called Revenge) and the bucket rustled nicely rather than jangled.

A few hours later we had a great ten minute spot at the Laughing Horse pick of the fringe show alongside a bunch of other thoroughly talented acts. Flyers were duly taken in tandem with nice comments as the assembled departed. This was only topped by confirmation we've been booked for an actual tents and everything festival this summer!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Saturday at Brighton Fringe

Last year's Brighton Fringe consisted of two Sunday lunchtime split shows with Andy Onions. This year we upped the ante somewhat by not only booking 4 Saturdays for First World Problems 2018 but also taking on a heap of guest spots. Already £200 in the hole (assuming we ignore the £21.50 daily returns for Anna and I every time) we definitely wrote this one off to getting good experience and fine-tuning for Edinburgh rather than any actual financial return.

The first order of the day was to head to the Family Picnic Stage for 1pm (pictured) to do a short spot to promote our full show later that afternoon. Lined up alongside a school choir, a man wearing a furry octopus and a pantomime dame it was the first time in the life of this act that we could have been accused of being the most adult thing on the bill. Well aware we were probably going to secure no bums on seats from this later due to the average age being seven, we just had fun. "This one's about coffee! Which you can't drink! But it does involve lots of shouting!" Anna pandered spectacularly to the horde of tiny people at the front with multiple high fives and once we hit the second chorus we had a sizeable audience shouting along. A children's version of FWP is most definitely on the cards for 2019.

Our show at The Temple starts at 2.30pm. Not ideal on blazing hot Saturdays where everyone wants to sit outside and bask in the the rays with a beer or cocktail. Still, despite doing almost no flyering thanks to our primary school outing we had a nice little audience for the show who'd seen us in the program. The new show involves "recognising" multiple members of our crew throughout the hour and getting them to play along with the introductions to whatever problem/song is coming up next. This worked well alongside our more narrative driven links that probably make TOWIE appear well scripted but when you present as East London's Premier Rapper of First World Problems and his Lead Backup Dancer it's already so surreal you have to go big or go home.

Afterwards, feedback was good with plenty of positive remarks on the between song blither and audience participation. More to do though, not least remembering the bucket speech props and the whistle for Airport (thanks local hiking shop for having one in stock.)

After a few drinks with friends we were back in the room for the 6.15pm pick of the fringe show with Laughing Horse. Filled to capacity and with LJ Da Funk on MC duties we squeezed our way onto the postage stamp sized stage and delivered a couple of tracks to an audience that certainly had its fans but also a good number who looked slightly puzzled we weren't standing with a mic telling jokes for ten minutes. 

It's experiences like this that we actually need more than anything. What works in its own fifty minute context does not necessarily work when you're clock watching and have about ten seconds in which many people will make their mind up about you. We're rewriting our delivery for this spot next week (same time, same place). Could be great, could be a car crash, that's what it's all about right?