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 festival always starts with a bit of a flourish due to 2-4-1 tickets and preview prices, then comes 'Black Wednesday' so deemed because all the deals have gone and it's the first midweek audiences and generally the quietest day of the run.



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


Reviews are extremely important for shows, given the wealth of choice on offer it can help audiences decide what to see if a publication they like is recommending you.



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


Knightmare Live changed dramatically during the run, we came to discover it's actually an improv show of sorts. we started expanding on character play and doing less call backs to the original show.



From day one it seemed "Knightmare Live" was the show to see, with House full signs going up quicker than most other shows. Were you surprised how popular it became?


I was very surprised at just how popular the show was. I knew it would do ok but mostly we were focussing on making it a good show that fans of the original would appreciate.



Similarly, from twitter I could see how keen performers were to get involved. Were you expecting that?


It was great to have so many comedians really up for doing it. The best shows were when they lost themselves and became emotionally involved with the quest.



Being an audience participation show things must have gone wrong?


There were occasions where something would happen that we didn't anticipate or maybe a piece of set fell over but most of the time if something goes 'wrong' you just roll with the punches and something really funny will come of it.



Do you get nervous before a show?


I personally don't get nervous before a show. Although I will probably be nervous at the Bloomsbury show as it's a large theatre.



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


The after show buzz is great and it can take several hours to 'come down'. We don't tend to over analyse the shows but the cast were free to give each other notes and make little adjustments as we went.



How did you spend the rest of the day?


The rest of my days were spent mostly drinking... not always. Sometimes I would go to shows, there might be props that need repairing, there's a lot of admin to do also. Everyday varied but there was always drinking.



Is it tough being in Edinburgh for a month?


The month in Edinburgh is not for the faint of heart. Expect your body clock to shift forward and there to be a constant ache in your legs due to the walking. As Paul McGarrity (Binky the Goblin) says Edinburgh is a city made entirely of 'up'.



Was this was your first Edinburgh as a performer, what did you expect?


This was my 3rd Edinburgh. For first timers I would recommend doing it as cheaply as possible and try to just enjoy it. It takes at least two visits before you can get your head round how it all works and can work for you.



How did reality change from your expectations?


This has easily been my favourite Edinburgh visit and exceeded all my expectations. My worry is it will never be this good again!

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?


Making money at the Festival is incredibly hard. The start up costs for Knightmare Live were astronomical for a fringe show. I think the only people who make money are the TV names in attendance, which is a shame as they are taking audiences away from other new shows/talent for whom this is a big chance to be noticed.



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?


This is a can of worms question; One could write a dissertation on this subject.


I think the pricing structure needs an overhaul. The companies who 'run' the comedy festival pay through the nose for the spaces and buildings, that cost is then passed onto the performers (most of whom leave the festival in debt), this then drives up the ticket prices making it harder to convince people to take a chance on a show they've never heard of. This has lead to the Free Fringe's recent surge in popularity.



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


My favourite shows this year were (In no particular order); Dark Room, The Betamales 'Superopolis', Choose your Own Documentary, Boris & Sergey, Nick Helm, The Grandees, Tom Bell's Flyer (biased) and McNeil & Pamphilion 'Go 8-Bit'.



And finally how have you relaxed since the festival?


My relaxation time after the festival is spent mostly crying and looking for 'normal' work

Our favourite Fringe  Knightmare

One of the biggest hits at this year's festival was "Knightmare Live!!" a joyous opportunity for people of a certain age to relive their youth.


This so excited DARKCHAT that this was one of only 2 shows that 2 different sets of reviewers went to see.


We were therefore thrilled to gain an interview with Paul Flannery (Treguard) from the show