After a full-run at Edinburgh Fringe, you probably need at least a week of doing as little as possible to recover due to how much energy the experience takes out of you.
I say ‘probably’ because I’ve never actually managed to have any time out after the Fringe as I’ve always needed to go straight back to work to try and repair my bank balance. This was the case again this year, when I arrived back in London on the Tuesday and was back at work on the Wednesday.
I had my first post-Fringe gig this past Thursday (if you’re struggling to work out the actual timeframe, this is the Thursday in the week that followed my return) and my energy levels still felt pretty flat as I’d not had a chance to properly recover.
It was an unexpectedly odd night. It was at a renowned gig in Crouch End (I try and avoid name-dropping where possible, but it is probably obvious where this is if you’re in the know), where you can expect an audience that is usually pretty friendly, middle-class and well-read. But three prominent pockets of audience on this particular night were almost the complete polar opposite of this. They weren’t nasty, just a bit mad and drunk. At one point, one woman who claimed to be a doctor offered to slap the MC with a flip-flop. She was at least nice enough to offer, but was prepared to see it through if it was accepted (it wasn’t). In another of the audience pockets, a woman said her job was selling fetish underwear.
Later on, the three pockets of audience all interacted with one another across the room when an act was on stage. There was a dispute about the type of tea the flip-flop lady was drinking, who then upped her threat ante and offered to hit another audience member with her tea cup. The fetish underwear woman then stood up and interrupted, to question if the flip-flop lady was really a doctor. I think her medical credentials are unlikely, because she later changed her profession to bin-man.
This would normally be the type of audience I would love to play around with. I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with similar audiences in the past and often revel in the weird. But this is a particular gig where you don’t want to deviate too far from your material and you only have a tight five-minutes, which makes playing around with an audience more difficult.
I didn’t do too badly; I managed to get some decent laughs and played around a bit, but felt I never really got out of second gear. Despite this, I had some really nice feedback from other acts and the promoter, which is of particular high value.
On Friday, I was doing another gig. This one was a one-off charity night in a venue that is opposite the Wimbledon tennis courts (the main ones). There were about 150 people in and it was quite a middle-class audience. I was initially planning to do less smutty material, but after the first few acts I realised that smut was exactly what they wanted. So I gave them some of my Dirty Laundry vintage. I got some good-sized laughs and had a decent gig, but still felt the lack of all cylinders being fired upon.
Nevertheless, when you have a decent gig and people say nice things when you’re not at the top of your game, it is never a bad thing.
I have now had a weekend of doing very little, other than recuperating. My energy levels should start to increase shortly.