You Want The Truth? You Cant Handley the Truth (UpTwoM)

You Want The Truth? You Cant Handley the Truth (UpTwoM)

Postby JayH » 23 Feb 2017, 12:50


Up and down, some big crowds of 50+ other shows had a handful of punters... No real rhyme or reason to it as far as I could judge. Having a flyerer did seem to help!


Good overall, obviously the smaller the crowd the smaller the bucket but people seemed to give fairly generously.

venue facilities

The room itself was functionally very good (seats a good number, everyone sat in rows, stage area well lit and large enough to move around) but cosmetically very dingy (flaking paint , pipes, binbags taped to the windows). I suggested putting more posters up in the room itself to detract from the overall grotty vibe the walls created but other performers felt they would be distracting which is fair. I'd did mean I had to devote a few lines at the top of the show to commenting on the room itself.

Anyone who might be using this room would be well advised to bring black sheets to hang on the walls and take the edge off the space. This was down to great effect in Up Two L.

The building the room is in is a large multi storey affair with UpTwoM being on the second floor. The entrance was very nice... a pop up bar called Barbados. Unfortunately this bar wasn’t accommodating in the slightest, being only interested in its own success (justifiably). We were in competition with them rather than being part of the same team as they had a separate deal with the venue. Flyering wasn’t permitted in the bar and the bouncers wouldn’t let us flyer directly outside the entrance. It might be a pipe dream but if a Free Fringe Friendly organisation were to have run the bar it could have been a brilliant hub for the Free Fringe.. As it was it felt like our shows were trapped behind hostile gatekeepers.

The entrance itself was the first of a few issues. Our venue name was "Cowgatehead" but the sign outside was an enormous "Barbados" with "cowgatehead" written in tiny letters beneath. This made the venue difficult to find. Had we been able to put "barbados" on our flyers it would have been much easier for punters to locate us.

The venues were upstairs. This part of the building had not enjoyed the renovation that the bar downstairs had. The dilapidated vibe permeated but did give the place quite a cool "fringey" vibe. What it lacked in show business ostentation it made up for in an authentic sense of Brechtian isolation. A perfect frame for the inherent desperation of an Edinburgh Fringe show,

The fact that there were so many shows going on at once could have posed more problems than it did. Overall it everyone worked well together in directing audiences to where they needed to be and I didn't see any evidence of the punter-poaching that was reported last year. The only issue I had with it was that it made selling your show to passing trade a much more competitive affair. My previous shows had been done in Dragonfly which is the only venue in its location. At Cowgatehead you are going to be competing with 7 or 8 other shows just in the building you're in, not including the wider cowgate area which is one of the most densely populated. Overall its a trade off between the sheer numbers of punters you get on Cowgate and the pathological indifference most of them show to you (largely due to the fact they will have already been bombarded with flyers from 100 other sources). Sometimes a venue a little more out of the way means that the people you do flyer are a little more receptive. I countered this problem by exit flyering shows nearby and doing as many showcase spots as I could as my old tactics of shouting in the street and ushering people into my show that way had been rendered impotent by the noise and show-density of cowgate.

The show

I was happy with my show... it was generally well received and I felt myself develop considerably as a performer over the course of the month. There is no substitute for the challenges the fringe throws at you for teaching you a host of skills you'd otherwise have no inclination to learn.
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