Five shows into HTWAPQ and all is well. Every show is either selling out or getting damn close and the audiences have all been superb.
But you don’t want to read about my successes, do you? Be honest, what you’re here for is to read about my pain and suffering. The last four Fringes have gone a little too well and as a result, this blog lost a little of the edge of the early days.
Well, I have some good news on that front, because I am doing another show this year that is taking me back to my roots. Admittedly, I find much more motivation to write when things are going badly.
So here it is. I have had a couple of tough shows with Stop the Press. On Monday, I had the largest audience the show has ever performed to, with around 25. However, it was a hot room and there was no energy.
A good third of my audience were pensioners looking tired, bored, disappointed or just falling asleep. Another bloke poked his head through the curtain ten minutes in and said he was coming in, but not yet and just stood there awkwardly for a few minutes, telling me to carry on. This made building any sort of momentum trickier in what was already proving a struggle.
Half-way through, I had to resort to opening the door at the back of the room just to let some air in and people dozing off.
Somehow, I kept going. When things aren’t getting much reaction, it’s a natural reaction to let it deflate you. But once you do this, you’ve lost. If you maintain your energy throughout, you’ve at least got a chance of winning them around. My persistence paid off and the biggest laughs came towards the end of the show, but it was a hard slog and pretty far from what I would call a success.
Yesterday’s gig was difficult for different reasons entirely. I had about eight in, with three recent journalism graduates, three older German ladies sitting at the back and two old hacks who used to work at local papers sitting nearest the front.
One of the hacks proved my most troublesome audience member so far. He kept interrupting and asking questions about where exactly I was going with my material, pointing out that the bits that weren’t relevant to local papers. Twice during the show, he left to go to the bar as he said he wasn’t interested in what I was talking about. In short, he was a total arse.
When I said a bit about A Mixed Bag getting a one-star review, he pulled out a reviewers pass from his jacket. I don’t know if he’s going to actually write one, as he didn’t seem to have any interest in the show, missed large chunks due to buying drinks, and his interruptions made me have to cut a load of stuff from the set.
But if he does write one, I don’t really care what he has to say. If you can’t be bothered to engage with what I’ve written, then I am more than happy to return the favour. Reviews really don’t matter as much as you might think, much less from people who haven’t even seen the full show and also totally disrupt it.
I am trying to avoid counting down the number of shows left I have for Stop the Press. I’m still convinced there is a good show in there and I hope to get it to where I want it during the run. Just 15 to go…