Microcomedy - Rowan Cave 2, 2.15

Performer reviews of their venues/shows/experience in 2009

Microcomedy - Rowan Cave 2, 2.15

Postby Donnchadh » 04 Sep 2009, 13:09

Microcomedy - Rowan Caves (Free Cave 2), 2.15, 8th-29th (not 16th, 23rd)
On the whole, our run was a success. Our audiences averaged 30+, in a venue which took 40+ at a real squeeze. I understand we made a (tiny) profit on the production, not including accomodation and living costs.

As for the venue - on the plus side, it's very well located. We were usually able to catch punters looking for some free comedy at the bottom of the Royal Mile in the half-hour before the show, in addition to those who drifted down to the venue of their own accord. Being next to Just The Tonic probably helped in terms of getting extra people.
The room is very striking, with a distinctive atmosphere, which makes it perfect for certain kinds of show. It really suited what we wanted to do (dark, intimate sketches). It was also the right size for us, both physically and in terms of the audience it can accomodate. These factors alone meant that it worked well as a venue.
On the debit side, there were a few running problems. The cave is damp, really damp, to the extent that sitting on certain chairs is uncomfortable. Perhaps the owners could be persuaded to fill in the worst cracks before next year? We also had fairly persistant problems with sound bleed, both from the bar and from Free Cave 1 (I should add this wasn't the fault of the group on in that cave, but audience members wandering in and out without closing the doors). To a certain extent the other performers, from Comedy Baby before us and Tom who was on after us (Freedom Come, Freedom Go) helped out here. It would be really useful if the bar staff were asked by their boss to ensure the doors remained closed as part of their job - we did ask them, and to be fair they sometimes helped, but not always.
The amp in Cave 2 was never very reliable - we ended up buying a cheap stereo and using that a couple of times. The cave wasn't always left in a tidy state when we got in each lunchtime.
One issue for people thinking of applying for this venue - the stage is very awkward to work with. There are two raised levels, the first of whcih is very shallow, the second of which is very narrow (because of the curve of the ceiling). It's not a problem for one-person-and-a-mic standup, or even for certain kinds of sketch or variety act, but it makes performing dramatic sketches on the stage all but impossible. We simply cleared away the first few rows of chairs and performed in the area in front of the stage. The location and atmosphere of the venue made it worthwhile for us, and if the venue is available next year we would certainly be interested in applying for it again, but anyone thinking of doing something ambitious in there should have a look at the venue for themselves first.
One last thing - the venue wasn't advertised as well as it might have been. Just the Tonic had billboards at the bottom of Lower Niddry Street with timetables and posters for their acts. We should have done the same. I'm not sure why this didn't happen - I was assured there would have been no legal problem doing so. I think it was a collective failure on the part of all the acts in the caves, including ourselves, to not organise this. Next year, it should be done as soon as possible.

All in all, though, it was a good run - my favourite, of the three I've been involved in. Kudos to PBH, the other Free fringe organisers, Todd (the venue captain) and the other performers. Thanks, and hopefully see you next year.
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