DarkChat - Reviewing the Edinburgh Fringe since 2008

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DARKCHAT were up for the first week this year and the audiences seemed smaller than later in the month. Is there a pattern to when the biggest audiences arrive?


The biggest audience definitely arrives sometime around the third week of the festival. Even the people who are already there save their money until word of mouth tells them what they "must see".



How important do you think reviews are to getting an audience?


Reviews are extremely important. National reviews are a bonus, but any stars you can staple onto your flyer or stick to your poster is invaluable. "Everyone" has a 5 star review, they say, but without a staples note with quotes and stars on your leaflet, people in the street are definitely harder to convince.



We loved the show. Did it change as the run progressed?


Superbolt's shows always change after the beginning of it's time in the public eye, and had already done so before we went to Edinburgh. After our previews in May we reworked the show in preparation for the Fringe, so that during the Festival all we needed to focus on was keeping on our toes, doing the story justice and reminding each other as performers of the key elements that make the show what we collectively think it should be.



Do you get nervous before a show?


We definitely get worked up and excited before the performance - if we don't feel butterflies, we tend to think that something is wrong. By stressing each other out a little bit (in a playful way) and warming up, we manage to create a kind of "nerves". Superbolt has been touring a lot together over the past two years, and we've reached a point where we trust each other and know each other enough not be afraid or truly nervous before the performance. However, as our shows rely so much on the energy provided by the audience, when people walk in the door we definitely feel our hearts beat faster.



Does it take you long to relax after a show & do you analyse each performance?


Everyday we do a quick brief of the show, give each other feedback etc. After the shows we would eat. The rest of the day was generally different every day - We joined a gym this year to try and stay in shape while at the festival. This worked out (no pun intended) very well for us!



How did you spend the rest of the day?


It is tough and delightful at the same time. You have constant feeling that you should work harder, meet more people, flyer more, put up more posters, but in the end of the day you also need to learn to trust that the connections you make at your own pace will be enough to take the company where it needs to be. the festival is a different experience to all companies every year. For us the festival is not something we remember as "tough", but as challenging, fun and inspiring.



Is it tough being in Edinburgh for a month?


We did Edinburgh last year, and that was our first year as performers. Back then we weren't filled with as much expectation as we were with hope. Hope that we would sell a decent amount of tickets, get good reviews, get a following, get touring work afterwards - all of which happened, so we are very happy with our two first years at the Fringe.



Money is always a talking point in Edinburgh . Without being rude, do you make any/much money from a critically and publicly acclaimed show? What are your biggest expenses?



Superbolt did a Kickstarter campaign to cover the expenses of the Festival. We spent time during the month writing post cards to the people who funded us, and we are now working on the rewards for large donations. Superbolt makes most of its money from touring the rest of the year.



DARKCHAT saw 53 shows in a week and without a variety of 2 for 1 offers and the Free Fringe we couldn’t have afforded to see so many. What are your thoughts about the current pricing structure?


Our opinion on price levels vary from context to context - we think it is very important that it is affordable to see many shows at the Fringe for as many people as possible, so we would like to see all shows that are not yet selling out do a 2 for 1 offer or be on the half price hut every day. We believe that the Free fringe is a great system. Unfortunately, the big venues are pushing their prices up and it's not really in the hands of the performers or companies to control the prices. In a dream world, the Arts Council would fund the venues expenses, and the shows could put whatever price they want on their shows, enabling those who believe that theatre should be cheap to make it cheap, without leaving Edinburgh in debt.



We thought the standard of shows this year were higher than ever. What were your favourites?


Our favourite shows were:


Ballad of the Burning Star

Bo Burnham


Pyjama Men

Briefs: the second coming

La Donna E Mobile

Next Door (Out of Balanz)



And finally, how have you relaxed since the festival?


We have not relaxed since the festival, I'm afraid - We all freelance as performers as well as produce the company, and since we got back we've been organizing future tours, as well as collaborating with other companies.



Lightning 'bolts


Secondly, we have Frode Gjerløw from  Superbolt Theatre. He invited us to see “The Uncanny Valley”.


We loved it and it has been nominated for Best Play and Best Actress.