Postby Abie Philbin Bowman » 11 Oct 2011, 14:14

Overall, this venue is excellent.

The room is downstairs, and seats about 70 people. The manager, Franco, was helpful and encouraging. He's a natural businessman and his main interest is in getting punters into his restaurant - understandably. He's very happy to have people on the street, outside his restaurant, encouraging punters downstairs.

One advantage is that the downstairs performance area can be directly accessed from the street, without having to walk through the restaurant. This minimises disruption to all concerned.

His staff are friendly and helpful. No major problems, but when a glass broke or something had to be cleaned up, they were quick and happy to do it. The venue location is ideal - on South Bridge/Nicolson Street, near a lot of other fringe venues, and with strong passing pedestrian traffic.

There was a bit of an issue with lighting. the basement room has ceiling lights, and these are not designed for theatre or comedy performance. Some other shows invested in extra lighting - I think a desk lamp was used by one. I never found it too much of a problem but my show was low-tech.

We supply our own PA, and this worked well with a few exceptions.

I was compere in a mixed bill show, and overall we had decent audiences - I would guess 20 to 60 on average. General audience feedback was very positive, and most people enjoyed the show. We had some fabulous guest comedians.

Our takings in the bucket were fair enough. While some gave generously others thought nothing of leaving nothing. I think we averaged about two pounds per punter. There were a couple of instances of individual comedians not turning up on time or getting the day wrong, but invariably I and others were able to cover for them. I'd like to acknowledge Kate Smurthwaite, who also performed at Ciao Roma, and saved the day by standing in a couple of times at very short notice.

Probably my biggest failing was my own fault. I corresponded with various people in PBH Free Fringe about my days off (16 and 22 August). I received confirmation of these on the group database. Unbeknownst to me, the team who designed the PBH brochure were working from a different database. They didn't include any days off.

I do feel in future that these lines of communication could be clearer. I was absolutely certain that I had confirmed my days off. The people who ran the brochure hadn't heard anything about it.

Overall, however, a very positive experience. I think we should definitely work with this venue in the future. I want to say particular thanks to Peter and his team who found this excellent venue, at very short notice as a replacement for Iman's grill, where we were originally scheduled to perform. If anything, I think Ciao Roma was even better.
Abie Philbin Bowman
Posts: 2
Joined: March 2011

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