2014 Gig One Hundred and Seven: Edinburgh Fringe

...and so it begins! In the lead up to the Edinburgh Fringe I decided to approach the festival in a way that was more in keeping to how an athlete approaches a long season.  In the past I like to perform as many gigs as possible so when I hit opening night I'm as polished as I can be. Since I have already performed this show at a couple of festivals and with it being the middle of the year I have gone against my base instincts.  This is going to be a long month of shows, gigs and selling my arse so apart from a small trial show in Melbourne I have left the show alone.  The idea is that it will be a little rough to begin with but I will build it up so it is (hopefully!) in stride by the middle of the festival and I can then roll with it from there.

 

There is something comforting about the view of our street.

 

I'm living with my friend Rebecca and fellow comedian Rhys Nicholson.  I've already spent time with some of my closest friends on the scene like Cal Wilson and Celia Pacquola.  I've found old friends like Bec Hill and Damian Clark.  I've spent some time with new friends like the Aunty Donna boys and Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall I've found my old school inner circle pals in Mickey D and Gordon Southern. Regardless of the slog we're embarking on it is comforting to know (to paraphrase Christopher Marlowe...you should see him at the next Adelaide Fringe if he tours) you have companions in woe and jokes.  The set list was:

 

Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994

 

I've made a number of changes to the show to help broaden the appeal and lose some of the Australian references.  Gone is the story that revolves around me having fun at a young man's expense since it had a reference to the Doug Anthony All-Stars and a story that revolved around me spending time with Paul McDermott when I was an 18 year-old lad.  It was too difficult and clunky to find a way give those people context to a modern Edinburgh audience so that story has been left behind.  In its place is a mix of new material and a smaller routine that first appeared in my last solo show, "The Goodbye Guy".  It fits into the show thematically and has also brought a slightly softer edge to the middle of the story.

 

Sooooooo many shows....

 

Changing this material had a knock on effect to the rest of the show and now made the "Pro Choice/Anti Idiot" routine stand out as being a little incongruous with the rest of the story.  This version of the show now feels more reflective and less combative and this routine was now out of place.  Instead I have once again plundered "The Goodbye Guy" and slipped in the "Purple Cows" story about a little boy being told not to use his imagination.  This also had a set of problems as one of the main venues here in Edinburgh is the Underbelly which has a massive inflatable purple cow on its roof. My UK friends in my last trial suggested I change that because everyone would immediately think of this stunning venue so that has been changed from cows to horses.  I know it seems like a pretty small thing but it meant last night I not only had to really pay close attention but also develop a new rhythm for that routine.  With "cows" being one syllable and "horses" being two it just meant the conversation that takes place in that story had a new cadence that required me to pay close attention.

 

A quick perusal of the script just before show time.

 

I was pretty happy with the first night's performance and even more so that I had an audience!  During the day I flyered for about five hours and then in the lead up handed over to my friend and fellow comedian Demi Lardner (who is also performing her solo show later in the night) who did a fantastic job of filling out the show with punters in the final minutes before the show.  Apart from a few gear changes that felt a bit "crunchy" in my head it rolled pretty well.  It was the type of beginning that I was looking for and it will only improve from here.  Right?  Right.

After the show I joined a gang of people to see my friend Boo Dwyer's "Titty Bar Har Har" at the Gilded Balloon so I've managed to knock off my first attended performance. I have every intention to see as many shows as possible as this is also a part of my education and the girls in "Titty Bar" were a great way to finish the night.  So one show down.  More flyering to do.  A little work to be applied to the show.  We're in full swing now.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.

 

Justin Hamilton

31st of July, 2014

Edinburgh