Hey Tom Bell! Caves 1

Performer reviews of their venues/shows/experience in 2009

Hey Tom Bell! Caves 1

Postby tom bell » 27 Nov 2009, 17:48

The caves are fantastic and a real indication of the growing influence and credibility of the PBH Free Fringe

The biggest issue we all had, and I know it’s been mentioned a lot but here goes, was two shows starting in adjacent rooms (caves 1 and 2) at the same time. If we're fortunate enough to get the caves next year I really believe a half hour staggering would be beneficial as it would mean the bar would always be full, people walking up on a whim would more likely have a show to catch and it would remove the slightly unpleasant sensation of competition for audience members between shows (plus people on a number of occasions going to the wrong show.) Plus it would take less marshalling from the acts to get people into the right rooms and hold them back in the change over time.

I don't believe the noise created would be too disruptive to the other show, the lesser of two evils perhaps.

Also worth noting, Just the Tonic (who had the caves nearer Cowgate) were a little passive aggressive towards our venue. They lent us paint and wood to make signs, but then wouldn’t let us put any signs on the Cowgate (the main road where we would hope to catch punters). Not that they had any real right to do that, but they would move our signs and Norman (who was in charge of the venues) didn’t seem to want to get involved. I also know there were some clashes between Just the Tonic and people flyering for the Free Fringe on Cowgate, which basically came down to our lot being told them they had to move even though that wasn’t true.

The lack of signs on Cowgate made it tricky for people to find the venues although we all worked hard to make as many signs further up as we could and certainly I can’t complain about audience numbers. I’m sure though that next year Just the Tonic will splash out on big big banners and advertising (they told me so in fact) so without a similar effort, the Free Fringe Caves could be really hidden. Some sort of sign on Cowgate I think will be essential as the venues are amazing place to do and see a show, so long as people can find them.

Ghosts were a concern also. I had 12 ghosts in total throughout the run. Sometimes they would just harmlessly float through the stage saying “have you seen Harold?” and we’ll all laugh because presumably he’s long dead, but on occasion they would possess the front row and force them to vomit up frogs and spoons. This was quite disruptive and meant I had to break in MC mode a lot more than I would have liked. One time a river of blood swept through the room. Probably due to ghosts.

Todd Womack was an excellent venue captain and a real human. He was always there, even when we didn’t want him around. If you had a bad gig he would comfort you with tales of his homeland and let you have a go on his gun. If you had a good gig he would kiss your face. One time he fought a bear that was trying to steal food from the bar. You felt safe knowing Todd was around.

In summary, roll on PBH at the Caves 2010! A great success all round.
tom bell
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Re: Hey Tom Bell! Caves 1

Postby PBH » 28 Nov 2009, 00:14

Thank you, Tom

The decision to have both shows start at the same time was mine and I take responsibility. When I saw the Caves, which had not been rigged at the time, and which had neither bar nor doors, I formed the view that the noise of an incoming audience would be too disruptive to a show in the other space halfway through. Obviously in making that decision I was aware of the arguments in favour of staggered start times, and as you will know we use staggered start times at other venues with more than one stage. A couple of people (not you, Tom) have suggested that the parallel starts were a decision born of stupidity. No. The decision was the best one on the basis of the information available at the time I had to make it.

If we use the Caves in 2010, however, there will be staggered starts.

As for the competition: you can't expect them not to compete. There ought not to be unfair or hostile practices, however, and certainly our notices ought not to be moved. But the electricity sub-station does not belong to the Caves, so Norman has no jurisdiction over that wall. This problem will not be solved by a deus ex machina; the team at the Caves has to assert its rights against anybody disrupting our notices.

If necessary, enlist the help of the ghosts.

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