Saturday, 26 May 2018

David Ephgrave: Seconder Construction.


Today's show got a quieter reaction to yesterday, mainly due to a rather bijou audience spreading themselves around the room in pockets instead of sitting together, which counterintuitively made them feel more self-conscious than safe that they were tucked out of the way. 

Me, during tonight's show at The Quadrant.


The success of live comedy in a small venue is an exercise in psychology; if the audience and comic don't feel like they're in the same boat, it just doesn’t work. You can sometimes literally feel people wanting to get onside, yet some subtle awkwardness in the air renders it impossible; it’s like watching a film you’ve endlessly praised to a friend for it to fall completely flat when you show it to them; suddenly something you love seems completely barren when seen through someone else’s eyes.

While the response was muted, it still went reasonably well, despite a slightly clunky beginning; there were a few nice moments of connection here and there. My overriding feeling though was still frustration that the manic nature of everything I had to do around the performance zapped the joy out of the actual show.

It doesn’t help that all three dates this week were performed in venues where you’re never out of view. Mostly Comedy at The Sun Hotel is a perfect case in point; from the moment the audience come in to when they leave there’s nowhere to hide; at least when we were at the Market Theatre there was an actual backstage to get changed in; at the Sun you either hide in the little vestibule by the fire exit (which is always freezing cold as the door is left open all day; just a gentle heads-up to all the Hertfordshire-based blog-reading thieves) or nip into the gents’. Speaking of toilets, there isn’t even a private one for the acts that’s close to the space; to put it grimly, you can’t even crap in peace.

So it was for me today, getting changed out of my sweaty clothes in the pub toilet with my belongings spread around me, feeling the epitome of the scum of the Earth; there’s nothing showbiz about performing at a Fringe festival; however hard you try, you wind up looking like Angelos Epithemiou clutching his favourite plastic bag. I bet Nicholas Parsons wouldn't work in in these conditions; it would dirty his blazer for a start.

(Don’t get my wrong: I still enjoyed it.)

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