I’m sat in the Peartree Pub at 6 in the evening of the third day of my Edinburgh run.
Having sat here a month ago to start finalising work on the show with my boyfriend, it’s a very different atmosphere now. There’s a blues guitar trio thumping outside in the garden area, which is packed. The sun is blaring, as is my head . . .
I’m rapidly developing a huge amount of respect for people who do this for a full three weeks. Three days is nothing in comparison and is already the longest run I’ve done of any show in ages. Probably since I was last in Edinburgh in 2013, and that was (only) performing every other day . . .
I’m loving it though. The first performance on Sunday was the most nervous I’ve been for anything in a while and we got a whole room full! Nearly thirty punters in – a mix of friends and strangers, some of whom I’d flyered the hour before, which was very gratifying. The show went well, people seemed to enjoy it and for the rest of the day, to be honest, I felt like a god. How hard can doing this for a month be? I thought. This feels amazing, I feel like a proper professional, ploughing my trade in one of the busiest arts festivals in the world.
I still feel pretty amazing. Today and yesterday we had six people in though, and I’ve begun to realise that I was perhaps spoiled on day one a bit. Not that I’m complaining. Yesterday was particularly nerve wracking as there was someone in whose work I hugely appreciate, and there was a reviewer in. And we were filming it.
But nothing quite compares to first day nerves to carry it through, and I quickly realised how very different the experience of playing to different sized audiences is, and how little I was prepared for that.
In that sense, Edinburgh so far has been exactly what I wanted it to be; a breeding ground for experimentation and learning in the cosy, lamp-lit back room of a pub, a place for challenges, for not feeling I can do it and doing it anyway.
But a month?! I still fancy it, next year. And part of me feels guilty for not going for it straight away (I met Dave Benson Phillips on the Mile, host of Get Your Own Back and rescuer of long afternoons at childminders, and he dubbed my week a gentleman’s fringe, which hit a chord) But another bigger part of me is feeling glad at this point that I’ve dipped my toes in before going the full hog. A lot has been learned in a short space of time.
I’ve learned a lot about the show too, about my character and the other characters I talk about in the show. It feels like there’s scope to expand the show further and I’m feeling a renewed enthusiasm to try and get Rob put on again elsewhere on the back of this.
Who knows, he might be back up in the Burgh next year!
Catch me then or, indeed, now, this week, until Saturday – 14.05 at the Southsider Pub (Venue 148) every day.