19.05 Adam Strauss:The Sordid Sex Life of the Montane Vole

19.05 Adam Strauss:The Sordid Sex Life of the Montane Vole

Postby adamstrauss » 13 Jan 2014, 04:33

Ciao Roma is a good venue overall, but more so than most venues I've performed at, its suitability varies greatly depending on the specific show.

It's strong points include a very central location (though it's not one where people loiter, it's really situated on more of a throughway, so flyering is more difficult than the Mile where people are standing around), good capacity (maxing out around 85). Also, wonderful restaurant management that truly appreciates Free Fringers and goes out of their way to accommodate them.

The room itself has a few drawbacks, at least for my show. Tile floors and hard, parallel surfaces make for somewhat muddy acoustics. Long narrow configuration makes for narrow sight lines, a problem compounded by lack of a stage. And the noise bleed, while not terribly loud, is persistent - you have constant dishes clattering, bathroom doors closing, etc.. To be clear, many paid venues have significantly worse problems, and for straight-ahead stand up or sketch I don't think any of this would pose much problem. For my show though, these were significant issues. Hanging heavy curtains in front of the door mitigated noise bleed somewhat.

It's also an utterly charmless space. It's clean and neat - almost antiseptic. Once again, this is no worse than many paid venues (better than some in fact) but it's a far cry from rooms like Bannermans or Banshee Labyrinth that exude a sort of weathered, whiskey-soaked warmth. Of course, when you have a packed house none of that matters terribly much.

So overall, a good venue for straight ahead comedy. For more theatrical or storytelling stuff - anything that doesn't use a mic or has blocking - it has drawbacks. But the big picture is it's a free venue in the heart of Old Town, and I was grateful to be there. Thanks also to the venue captain, who did a great job managing some challenges with both the venue (broken water pipe) and some acts (broken equipment and trash not cleaned up). And, of course, to the Free Fringe as a whole for making this whole thing possible.
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