We’ve finished our run performing the #AhhGeePodcastLive at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for 2014. As Andy, Michael Bell and I munch on some delicious pies at Tebay Service Station (the greatest service station in all the UK) I’d would like to reflect on the week run at the world’s largest comedy and performance festival.
Firstly I want give a huge thank you to all our guest comedians (Loretta Maine, Wilfredo, El Britanico, PDT, and Tom Mayhew) for taking part in our show and giving us support during the hard times. It was a real pleasure to work with you guys and it really helped to keep our spirits up when things got tough.
I also want to thank the small number of people who actually turned up to watch the #AhhGeePodcastLive. Their enthusiasm fuelled our desire to give 100% during our performance. We here at AhhGee Productions really hope that you enjoyed the show as much as we enjoyed performing it.
I would like to thanks the venue techie individuals who gave us a helping hand with setting up and packing away when we asked them. It helped to have them at hand.
When we arrived at our performing venue we realised that our show had an unfortunate handicap.
Whilst the room itself was a good size the location of the room was not. It was located at the 8th floor of a hotel. Furthermore, the elevator only went as high as the 7th floor, meaning that the audience had to climb one flight of stairs to get to our show. Comedy may be funnier at altitude, but very few people would make the effort to climb to such heights. On top of that the hotel is about a 10 minute walk away from The Royal Mile, one of the main streets of the EdFringe.
The other handicap that we believe that we had was the time slot that we were performing. 11:00am. We discovered that there is hardly anyone around at this time. The Royal Mile, typically buzzing with thousands of people during the day, is deserted before 11:00am. Trying to hand out flyers at this hour seemed futile. Because who was going to make the effort to come and watch a show that was not already known at 11 o’clock in the morning on the 8th floor of the hotel just out of reach of the heart of the action?
There were very few seats that were filled.There were two days where nobody turned up to watch the show.
This affected morale among team AhhGee. Enthusiasm was visibly lacking, rehearsed lines were forgotten or even abandoned on the spot in favour of untested, unrehearsed improv material (which failed), the whole thing proved to be not fun. However there were some self-contained parts to the show, like Adele Cliff 3 minute stand-up and the Texas story, that were performed consistently well each day.
The worst day of the week was when we had two reviewers to watch the #AhhGeePodcastLive. They were the only two people in the audience. And they were not going to give us an easy pass, they were there waiting to be entertained. This was the time where #AhhGeePodcastLive should have been giving 110%, but because of 3 days of virtually no audience and fruitless flyer distribution we only gave a fraction of that amount.
The reviews that were giving to us were low and harsh. I can’t say that I blame them.
On the last two days of the #AhhGeePodcastLive there were more people on seats and we had taken out a section of the show that felt consistently flat all week. Because of these tweaks and because we could see the audience were enjoying what we were doing it ended up being the best two shows of the week. It is only a shame that these good performances happened at the end of our run rather than at the start.
As difficult as this week was for us, we want to return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next year. And there were some fantastic lessons and tips that we needed to learn for next time.
For example in terms of time and location you truly get what you pay for. When we were watching other shows we noted down the characteristics of a good location and good time. We found that being on the ground floor near the Royal Mile and having the start time of around the middle of the afternoon were good ingredients to have for a successful show. It would be worth paying the extra costs to get these strong ingredients.
Speaking of the Royal Mile, we noticed that there were plenty of street performances that were designed to attract the general public and to give them a taster of the main show. After talking to these performers they say that it does help increase ticket sales. We think that for our next EdFringe performance we can take a section of our show and perform it on the street. Or even write brand new sketches designed to attract people to the main show. If nothing else, this would be fun to do.
This week of low audience attendance and the poor review has reiterated the life lesson that you must give your performance 100% every time, no matter what. I can imagine that one or two members of team AhhGee has never experienced this kind of failure before. I hope that they take this experience and use this to become stronger and more confident entertainers.
Whilst we didn’t have time to see every show that we wanted to, we did see some great shows like the inspiring Tim Key, the audience engaging McNeil and Pamphilon 8-Bit, the nostalgic pantomime of Knightmare, the dark tale of El Britanico, and the super solid performance of Nick Helm. We even got to see some terrible performances because one can always take something away from any show.
The thing a that I find very encouraging is that Team AhhGee is not defeated by this struggle this week. Rather than calling it a day and pulling the show early in the week, we performed to the very end like professionals. Also we are making plans and thinking up ideas on how to improve the #AhhGeePodcastLive for next year’s EdFringe.
To an entertainer and a performer the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is not an easy place to work. It is a festival where you must work hard to get any any amount of success and reward. But it is possible to have success. It is possible to learn a tremendous amount of knowledge especially if you talk and make friends with your fellow performers. It is possible to have a fantastic and fun time.
My first time in at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was a great experience. I cannot wait to go back again next year.