Upper-Class Rapper. French Quarter. 21.10

Upper-Class Rapper. French Quarter. 21.10

Postby Upper-Class Rapper » 01 Sep 2016, 12:02

This is Dominic Frisby here (the man behind the Upper-Class Rapper) ...

VENUE:
- What a great venue the VooDoo Rooms is. Cool as f*ck.
- The staff were, without exception, lovely - Giles, Johnny, Xander, Daisy, everyone . Without exception.
- It is a little bit hard to find (up a back street) but it's a known venue
- The road to St Andrew's Square was blocked off due to building works and this meant a lot of passing traffic was lost. That's a shame. It's not yet clear whether this path will be open next year, but I'm told it led to fewer people at the venue this year
- Crowds at the weekend took some marshalling. But staff got the hand of things pretty quickly. Kieran Hodgson's show was always mobbed. People started waiting 2 hours before. So some systems were put in place to deal with that, which all seemed to work.

ROOM:
- Room seats about 70, I'd say, with some space for standing.
- Stage is quite small, stretches the width of the room but only a metre or so deep
- Tech is to the side of the stage.
- Lights are quite basic but functional enough. Controlled from behind the bar.
- Everything was working the day I got there. My show was light on tech. It was all fine.
- There are toilets at the back, which you can get changed in. Or you can make an entrance from the staircase.
- If there was a storage area, I didn't use it, except for my flyers which were kept in a room behind the bar.
- There's a bar where people could buy drinks. Sometimes people getting served would be a bit of a distraction at the beginning of the show, particularly on weekends when there was often quite a long queue and the signal to the credit card machine was weak which caused delays.
- There's an area at the front where maybe 40-50 or so can seat. Then there's a large staircase going down to the fire escape. Then there's another area to the back of that by the toilets and the exit with room for another 20 or so. People would always try and sit in the back area, so I used to stand blocking this area when audiences came in and invite them to sit near the front. In some (not all) shows I found this back area could get a little detached and not participate in the show as much as those elsewhere. Talking to Kieran Hodgson who was in this room last year, he said he found the same thing. During the week when numbers were a bit lower, you could just pack everyone in the front area and it would feel full.
- Sometimes people would loiter near the exit or insist on sitting in the back area saying helpful things like, "Well, I'm sitting here in case it's shit, then I can walk out."
- I had some absolutely barnstorming gigs in that room and I grew quite fond of it. When it flies, it flies. It's not often you have people bent over laughing. I think it's almost impossible to get to that point unless you're doing something left-field or clowny. I had a few gigs where I reached that pinnacle and I was quite proud. Course comedy being what it is I will have got kicked in the nuts somehow the next day, but you get my point.

AUDIENCES
- Pretty much full at the weekends. Numbers would dip during the week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays were the nights with the lowest numbers. I don't think I ever went below 25 or so. One night there were only 2 in the queue when I opened the door to let them in (I didn't hand out any flyers that day). I was thinking to pull it, but people seemed to appear and more and more walked in during the show so that by the end there were over 25.
- I would say the numbers fell away in the final week (except the final weekend). I was expecting them to go up, but they didn't. I can't back this up but I almost think the festival was more crowded in the first two or three weeks than it was in the last.
- Audiences were certainly more generous towards the bucket early in the run. By the end I had loads of people bunking out without putting in anything. I'd say it was closer to £2.50 per head in the first week and more like £1.50 towards the end.
- That first Saturday, the opening night, was magic.

FLYERING and PR
- I would flyer at the venue or nearby at St Andrews Square for about 60-90 minutes before the show each day. I had a flyerer help me for an hour before the show each day (he did my tech each day). He was very good and very supportive of the show. In general it is more effective to hand out flyers yourself - I would do it in costume and character and make people laugh as I did it. I had quite a funny shtick going.
- I think my flyers themselves were funny and they helped get people in. It's pretty clear what the show is - a posh clown rapping - that is either your cup of tea or it isn't.
- The venue took care of putting up the posters, so that wall space was shared equally.
- I didn't take any ads anywhere or put up posters beyond the venue. There was no PR. It was a flyer- and word-of-mouth-based campaign.
- I don't think the show got reviewed either. I certainly didn't invite any reviewers. A good review makes a big difference, but I wasn't looking for one for this show as it was so experimental (I hadn't done the character since 1999 and the material was all new).

OTHER NOTES

- The other acts were very nice. Elf Lyons before me, Kieran Hodgson in the room next to me, ushering people into my show, Eddy Brimson the room captain.
- This was my first time at the fringe since 2003 and my first free fringe. I was doing two shows. One here and one at the Gilded Balloon about tax. Doing two shows is a big undertaking. It was made a lot easier by the fact that the VooDoo Rooms, indeed the entire free fringe, was so well organized. Thank you.
- All in all I had no major problems whatsoever and I would say this is the best fringe I have ever had.
- The venue was extremely helpful - they just made your life so easy. And I say it again: the staff were so nice.
- Oh, I got given a load of shit by someone on the last night, accusing me of nicking my act off Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer. I did the Upper-Class Rapper in the 1990s. He didn't start until, I don't know, the mid- to late-2000s. If there has been any nicking, it is the other way round. I was told the VooDoo Rooms were "his venue". I did the Upper-Class Rapper at the VooDoo Rooms (then the Cafe Royale) in 1999 as part of the Big Value Comedy Show. So please, if you're the person that gave me a hard time, put that idea to bed. Despite the names, the acts, accent aside, are quite different. Or at least I think they are. I have never seen Mr B live, just a couple of vids on YouTube.

I would like to say thank you to Peter B-H, to Paul BE, to the venue and everyone who worked there. This was a great experience. I am very grateful. Thank you.

Dominic
Upper-Class Rapper
 
Posts: 1
Joined: August 2016

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