Two shows have gone by since my last post (I didn’t write a blog yesterday, so there’ll be two winging the internet’s way today), which both felt markedly different.
Saturday’s show had sixteen people in, which made the room feel pretty busy; it’s more than enough to work up a good show with. They were lovely; especially a rather stocky-looking guy at the front, who I for some reason assumed would hate me, though his reaction suggested I couldn’t have been more wrong; proof you should never judge a book by its cover, or a punter by his alpha-masculinity.
Even though I was only a few days in, Saturday felt like a turning point. The show's starting to feel more cohesive and I’m starting to get a sense of the space. Just Out the Box at Just the Tonic is a great room for stand-up comedy of the sort that I stand up and ‘comede’; it’s lovely and intimate, without being intimidating for the performer or the audience. Be it by luck or judgement, the venue I booked into couldn’t feel more appropriate.
I stand by the opinion that an audience who’ve paid to watch a show are usually more attuned to what’s happening than those who haven’t. I say that from experience, having played the Free Fringe a number of times in the past. It’s a fantastic thing with exactly the right ethics, but there’s something about money changing hands – even if it’s just a few quid – that makes it feel like the audience have invested in what they’re about to see. It suggests they’ve at least read the flyer, particularly when they’re at the Edinburgh Fringe, where you can see so many great shows for nothing. I’m always amazed that they’ve sought out me (even if they only decided this a few minutes before they walked through the door), but I'm very grateful for it. Knowing they have takes the pressure off a little psychologically.
This morning’s show was harder, but this was by no means the fault of the audience. Admittedly, I only had four in, but that’s still good when so many great performers have had to cancel for less. The sticking point was me: I got to the venue a later than I wanted – I hadn’t had the best night the night before, which slowed me down – picking up the money to pay my flyerers on the way, and consequently forgot to bring my show notes. This meant I had to run back to my digs and return to the venue within a ten-minute window before my show was set to begin. I got back on the dot of midday, sweating like a beast (my flat is three floors up, accessible only by a mediaeval turret-like circular flight of unforgiving stone stairs); consciously starting the show five minutes late, to give myself the chance to catch my breath. This meant I had to cut bits here and there to ensure I ended by 1pm, which made me feel a little back-footed. Note to self: idiot check your bag before you leave the house / flat / castle / digs.