I have done another two previews of my show and the material is coming together fairly nicely. Unfortunately, the quiz is currently miles away from where it needs to be.
The first of my latest round of previews was at the night I run in Walthamstow. At my preview there last year, I properly tanked in a sweltering and tired room. This year, I was much more optimistic due to the weather being overcast.
The usual format of this night is to have four acts doing five to ten minutes in the first half and then the same again in the second half. At last Friday’s show, it was business as usual in the first half and I was due to do my thing in the second.
We had about 15 people in for the first half, which wasn’t a bad amount at all for a free gig on a Friday night in July. However, all but two of our audience left at the interval. The first half went pretty well and they seemed to be enjoying themselves. But they may have all decided that they really didn’t want to see my show. The fools.
We managed to get a couple more people in and the preview went ahead. I’ve performed in front of far smaller crowds and it’s good preparation for the Fringe. The show went much better than it should have gone in the circumstances and the recording sounds like the crowd was about five times as large.
But this preview did highlight the risks I was taking in the quiz of leaving too many questions and answers reliant on opinion and subjectivity, as well as questions that are probably over complicated.
My second preview was in Chelmsford. I had five days in between to get the quiz closer to what it needs to be. I ended up getting nothing done in that time and was rewriting the questions on a picnic bench outside the venue, half an hour before I was due on stage.
The first half of material went pretty well, with some big laughs in places. There are a few bits I need to work on, but nothing dramatic. And my last-minute additions to the quiz went well, but there was still a bit in the middle that didn’t work.
I thought the preview was decent, but afterwards somebody at the bar told me that I was very brave, or words to that effect. When someone says this to you after a gig, it generally means you haven’t done very well.
But it is definitely a good thing that I’m having problems with the show. It makes me think harder about how I can improve it. I have two previews left. There’s still time to get things right and I work best when I have a deadline looming.