DarkChat - Reviewing the Edinburgh Fringe since 2008

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How did this year's festival compare to others?


It was pretty much the same month long beautifully horrific absurd assault course for the body and mind as previous years for me.



DARKCHAT were up for the first week this year and the audiences seemed smaller than previous years (though your venue was packed on the 1st Monday). Is there a pattern to when the biggest audiences arrive?  


Not that I know of, but I'm sure there is. The first and second weeks seemed busiest on the streets.



Are reviews important or do you now have a reliable fan-base?


I would love to say I don't read reviews and they don't mean anything to me but it is interesting to see what somebody has written about what they saw. Reading the reviews I got this year it was as if people had seen completely different shows. I'm pretty sure I was doing almost the same show every day, I had two reviewers in on the same day and one gave the show five stars and one gave it two stars.  I like reviewing the reviews I get. The two star one got five stars from me.



Was "The Sky Show" easy to write?  


Easier than my homework used to be I guess.



You brought "Yellow" to Edinburgh last year. Why did you decide to stay as a free show?


I don't think people should have to pay to see someone they have no idea about.



Were you surprised you won the Best Joke award at this year's festival?


I was very surprised yes. The joke wasn't in the sky show so when they phoned me up and told me I had won I wanted to know where they had seen me say it. It turned out that one of the judges had been at a gig where I was doing a ten minute set.  I was more surprised at the reaction to it winning. Doing all the interviews and things like that was completely bizarre as it is not a joke I say that often and there is a reason for that.



What difference has it made to your career?


People sometimes give me chocolate at gigs.



Did you enjoy being interviewed by Vanessa Feltz live on Radio Two?


Is that a rhetorical question?



Are you tempted to be a paid show next year?  


Yes but I don't know which paid show I would be.    



Do you get nervous before a show and how quickly do you relax on stage?  


I get very nervous before a show and never recover. I don't think a stage is a good place to relax.



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


I don't sit down and mark my performance out of five with stars but I try to take things and lose things from every show.

That is the best thing about Edinburgh for me, the fact that if a gig doesn't go well you only have 23 hours until the next one.

It is a great place to try and improve and find out what works and doesn't work.



A month is a long time in Edinburgh. How did you survive the festival?


Ate a lot of fruit, drank a lot of water, shut my eyes and put my fingers in my ears.



Is it lonely doing a one-man show?  


Not if you get an audience.



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


I was getting a bit of money in my bucket but then I won the joke of the Fringe award and people started to give me Wispas instead.



What are your biggest expenses?  


Paying people to take away the Wispas.



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?


I think there are a few badly priced shows but word of mouth seems to work with finding what is worth going to see.  



 What were the best (& worst) aspects of this years festival?  


The weather was nice for most of it but the wheel on my suitcase broke halfway though the run.



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


I saw some great stuff at this year's festival including Paul Foot, Edward Aczel, Scroobius Pip, Luke Wright, John Osborne, Lucy Hopkins in The Veil, Bryony Kimmings, Brett Goldstein



Do you miss not being a salesman?


I do miss certain aspects of routine and interaction with strangers that I used to get with working in a shop yes.



And finally how have you relaxed since the festival?  


Ate a lot of fruit, drank a lot of water, shut my eyes and put my fingers in my ears.



If you could change one thing about the festival, what would it be?


I would make the castle bouncy.



The Best?  Wispa it quietly.

Last year we were enthralled when he made an unscheduled appearance in a free show with Marc Burrows. This year we rushed to Banshee Labyrinth to see his full length show “The Sky Show”.


Sadly, our hopes of Rob Auton being our own special secret were dashed when he received the Dave award for Best Joke Of The Edinburgh festival. But, he managed to stop eating chocolate to grant us this interview: