The Bitter Struggle
Mice ravage the kitchen supplies and as we grow ever more weary, hygienic conditions deteriorate. But we always have a jolly good sing-song as we tuck in to our fried pemmican and gristle sandwiches. Besides fighting the fight my time has been consumed with a quest for shoe-polish.
Before jetting down to the airport I accidentally ate all of my dark tan polish for breakfast - an episode I like to describe 'the bitter struggle', on account of the bitter taste that the polish left in my mouth. A few days after arriving in North Britain I commenced the search for polish - to give myself a pair of shoes, so shiny that I could eat my shoe-polish breakfast off it. I expertly located a local ironmongers and having brushed up on the local dialect I strode forth. But then disaster struck - it was a Sunday. So I left, bereft with dull shoes intact and my soul broken.
Days later, just before the free show ended, I awoke to a horrendous pain in my stomach - I thought it might be the dreaded 'Balmoral Belly', but it turned out to be a friendly local punching me repeatedly in the tummy.
'WHERE'S YER FOOKEN TROOSERS?!' the gentleman enquired,raining his pugilistic fury down on my soft guts all the while.
'I lost them, so I fashioned this old tartan rag into a kind of pleated skirt,' I replied with the vim and vigour of a man just woken by the morning dew resting on the cold, hard pavements of Edinburgh.
'YE LOOK LIKE A FOOKEN GUURRL!' And with that he disappeared into the sunshine, leaving nothing but a solitary oat behind him.
This outdoor sleep left me with a fever - which struck me later that day, being the 12th August.
The 16th saw the end of the free show to thunderous applause, a great roar rang out from the Caves, strong enough to shake the very foundations of the Earth. There was much public mourning at the end of this most esteemed and loved production. It was just as I was wondering if my time here could ever again soar to such dizzying heights as that that I wandered into the Hardware shop and found my delicious dark-tan prize, and next to her was my shoe polish too.
Until next time, ta ta and farewell,
Louis 'captain captain' Captain
And so, following a long and unplanned blog-based hiatus, we are back. Hello.
You find us in Edinburgh - royal city, Scottish capital and place - in the aftermath of our first performance of Cream, our main show at the Fringe this year. Last Sunday, we journeyed North from Bristol Airport and, other than a minor scuffle over baggage weights, our airline lived up to its eponymous claim.
Since our arrival we've honed, refined and finessed our repertoire of sketches in preparation for yesterday's first show and, after a morning, afternoon and early evening of moderate to light flyering, we were ready.
The show was awesome and we were delighted to perform in front of a packed house of over 100 esteemed theatre-goers. Fingers crossed for another great night tonight.
Over and out.
Canal Cafe previews
Here's what each of us have had to say so far about the rehearsal process:
Louis: "Rehearsing has been fine. The commute has been long."
Ben: "Rehearsing has been fun. Enjoyed my abode. Commute 4 stars."
Jimmy: "It's fine with me, it's not my money. If I was paying for the food I'd be more angry. Angry's a little strong... I can't think of the right word... Frustrated."
Joe: "If Nick and Harriet were here there's definitely be more people."
Will: "I can't think of any more questions. I dunno... Probably more of a Trevor McDonald style."
Catch us perform tonight and tomorrow night! Tickets still available online here:
Preview season is upon us. In fact, it has been for quite some time. Apologies for the lack of posting on here for a while, but basically the Revunions haven't been together for aforementioned while. Though in the interim you may have noticed our having announced our two Edinburgh shows, our video trailer, artwork, and all the usual awesome stuff. Get a load of that here. But our inactivity is all achanging, baby! Now we meet up as an almost whole to put together a set for two marvellous preview shows that we are hosting at the Canal Cafe Theatre in London this week, on Wednesday (21:30) and Thursday (19:30) night(s). The Wednesday is with our good friends from Southampton, our equivalents from down there, the Jesters, along with recent Southampton graduates, the double act Marshall & Hart, who won the NaSTA for Best Comedy the year after us and have made it into the final for the So You Think That's Funny? Best New Sketch Act 2015! Thursday we welcome Giraffe, who are set for a hell of a Fringe this year and we're so proud to be able to perform alongside. I won't bore you with details here, as we made a whole Facebook event page for that! Do come along to one, the other one, or both of them, they'll be sure to have you laughing muchly!
In other preview season news though, some of our good comedy friends (some of which are doing a set with us at the Fringe itself (see our Shows page for more deets!)) are also previewing new material for you London folk. Well, you've got to really, haven't you.
Tomorrow night (13th) Lolly Adefope is taking over the Pleasance (in a good way).
Twins still have a load left in them. 16th, 17th, 23rd, 27th and 28th July. So no reason not to catch them!
Jack (of Twins) is also doing the Pleasance. The night after Lolly as well, imagine that! He's also doing a tonne of other dates too so again, watch him up while you can!
And of course, knowing how bloody popular my little spiel about The Invisible Dot below was, there's a job lot of excellence all for the seeing over there. Ellie White and Natasia Demetriou, Minor Delays, Sheeps, The Pin... They're all rockin' it.
Will keep you updated on how our rehearsals are going this week. Forecast is swell. If we've won you over already, please do grab a ticket online. It would genuinely make our day because then we can perform to you and make you laugh which makes us happy. Okay, bye.
Invisible Dot Fringe Programme
This year the ever-boundary-pushing Invisible Dot are producing yet again another stellar line-up of Fringe Acts, this time featuring old and new acts alike. Stalwart Tim Key returns once again with a half-run of work in progress, but probably still excellent, shows. As Phil Wang has proven himself on the stand-up circuit, ID are supporting him in his newer endeavours as Daphne do a full run at the Pleasance. Another double bill for Liam Williams as his new show 'Bonfire Night' goes to the Free Sisters, and our absolute faves Sheeps do a short run in the Cellar Monkey, Williams's out-of-the-way barely-appropriate venue from last year. Of course they wanted to do their shows there! It doesn't end there either. Also being lobbed up North are new double act Beard with 'The Grin of Love', Joseph Morpurgo, a debut hour from Mae Martin, Luke McQueen, Mike Wozniak and Nick Coyle. Loads and loads, basically. All of them acts to watch and to have watched already. We'll be there. Will you?
Freestival .vs. PBH .vs. Sanity
The world of Fringe was shaken up this week by the one and only (thankfully) Peter Buckley Hill. He's claiming Freestival's flagship Cowgatehead venue is his. Apparently he did it last year as well and failed miserably. Freestival just today released all their confirmed acts in an attempt to cement their claim. Which is a little bit annoying because it pre-empts our formal announcement of the free show we're putting on this year (though we do still have a trick up our sleeve with regards to it (ooh I'm teasing again!)). Basically I'm just writing openly here that this dispute is absolute nonsense. In every way. The Free Fringe (and the Fringe generally, really) is about the performers, many of which will have already paid for Fringe registration, accommodation, travel, taken time off work, all this stuff that's been said before. I would simply like to add to the argument that they have already arranged all this, Freestival have already put in all the leg-work, and done a really good job as well might I add - the whole team is fantastic to work with. So regardless of whether PBH thinks he has a claim on the space or not (believe me, I do respect the claim, though personally to avoid the faff I'd rather it stayed with Freestival), if he's going to dispute it, he needed to do it in advance. Well in advance. Not 11 weeks before the Fringe starts. It's just simply too late. If we all want the Free Fringe to work, which of course we all do, stop making it such a hostile environment. It's meant to be stress-free (and monetarily free) fun, not whatever the opposite of that is.
Info on our shows to come very very v soon. Be excited!
And our Pals at Propolis
Similar post to yesterday's, but not Fringe related this time. Also fundraising are our other theatre contemporaries Propolis. They are also a wildly talented bunch of boys 'n gals (I'm starting to think maybe Bristol is just where talent lives!), they're attached to Bristol Old Vic and are putting on a show called 'Spill'. It's about sex (hooray!) and they're looking to tour it a bit, so are raising some money. They only need £350, so feel free to donate as much or as little as you like/can.
They're really good and I would hope to see them up at the Fringe next year if not this. They deserve to be!
Our Pals At Popcorn
Don't worry, not every post title will be alliterative. This one is though.
What comedy group wouldn't be fans of Richard Ayoade? And what Richard Ayoade fans wouldn't have enjoyed his directorial debut 'Submarine'? WELL, this Fringe you can see the first ever stage adaptation of the film, and boy oh boy oh boy is it great!
They need some help first, though. They're raising funds for them to put the show on and for them to go up. If you're going to back anything financially, Popcorn Productions and this show is so worth it. They're a really talented group of thesps and the Fringe would be at such a loss without them, so whatever you can donate would be appreciated by us just as much as them!
They have a Go Fund Us page full of the important information for you. I shan't repeat it all here, you probably wouldn't like that too much.
Blok out x
Royal Mile Memories
Here's some marketing do's and don'ts (mostly don'ts) for people going up to the Fringe with a show this year, in my opinion. Make of it what you will.
We were having a chat the other day about how we will make our presence felt on the Mile throughout August. For those who are unawares, the Royal Mile is basically a stretch of road through Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle down to Holyrood Palace. It's about a mile long, hence the name, though I remember someone last year trying to convince me it's actually only a few hundred yards, but the amount of time it takes to get through the crowds and flyerers during Fringe-time, it might as well be a mile - but like I told them there and then, that's stupid, shut your face. Day in, day out, performers and production teams use the space to the extent that it's almost as if Edinburgh City Council were planning to tear it all up to build a block of non-public thoroughfare the next day (ie. lots). As well as handing out flyers to vacationers and locals alike and chatting about why they should come see their show, there are lots of free-to-book stages set up by the Fringe Society for performers to do a 10-minute set to reel the punters in. There's also these big obelisks (?) that you can staple your posters to, but if you're planning to do that I really wouldn't bother. You'll find it's been covered by another poster within about 15 minutes. Essentially what I'm getting at is that it's really busy and lots is going on and it's a great experience and I can't wait to get back out there again this year.
There are a few things about it though that do make me think, "you know, it wouldn't be the end of the world if that stopped forever and ever".
1: Space Invaders.
Impromptu is great, don't get me wrong, and it's probably a word I would use to sum up a lot of the Fringe, but when 150 people are crowded around a school production of Oliver Twist set in Nazi Germany with young girls playing Holocaust victims in skimpy tops, I feel like someone should tell them to stop whatever it is that they're trying to do there. It's just unfair. Fine, you've put together something so controversial that people really want to see it just... 'cos, and you need to show people what they might be "missing". So book a stage, or perform a small part of it out of the way, and for God's sake don't bring all your set. The thing that annoys me is that it really kills the whole joy of the Mile. The council has a roster of street performers that perform there year-round, and Fringe-time must be an absolute dream for them regards getting a crowd, and it's really beautiful that all these tourist performers like us get to sell our shows amongst locals doing what they do for realsies. I'd be livid if I were one of them and all the attention (and money) was drawn away from me towards some un-sanctioned "theatre".
If I had a penny for every person I saw doing a bit on the Mile about their 'hard-hitting' play based around a torture or interrogation scene of some sort, I'd have a few pennies. But I'd get them every day so I'd be close to whole pound by the end of August! Srsly though, sitting tied to a chair covered in fake blood is annoying, not because so many people do it, but because you're in everybody's bloody way. Every company finds their 'spot' - somewhere they go to every day because it works best for them - it might be surrounded by similar shows or mates (last year we tended to drift towards our buddies The Leeds Tealights every day, which was nice, because they're nice), but if needs be we will happily get out of somebody's way so that they can walk past us, regardless of whether they're interested in seeing our show or not. You can't do that when you're tied to a chair (also, you can't tell people about your show with tape over your mouth, dumbass). For the same reasons, no lying down on the Mile (also because that's really rancile) and no doing a 'Hungry Bitches' - the whole cast picking positions across the width of the Mile and staying still and pouting (though I am willing to forgive them because their show 'Americana' last year was so amazingly enjoyable).
3: 'Tis Pity'.
This is naughty of me, but I'm naming and shaming this specific show. I didn't see it, so I can't judge it artistically, and in fact by the looks of it and from speaking to some of the team behind it, it actually seemed like a really interesting piece of theatre. My issue though is that their Royal Mile publicity consisted of one of the cast members walking around sobbing into a bloody and quite accurate prop Heart. It was disgusting. I can deal with it, especially as I had to see it every day, and at least he was moving around so he wasn't getting in people's way as per examples 1 & 2, but the Fringe is not just for adults. Edinburgh is generally a nice place to have a family holiday, it's not just dead for 11 months of the year, and the Fringe caters very well to children. A lot of venues will mostly put on kids' shows from 10am through lunchtime. So bearing in mind that there are children present, maybe we shouldn't be scarring them. I'll hazard a guess that the show itself wasn't suitable for children, so it's really not suitable for public space.
Coincidentally, though I'm slagging them off, we do appear in this picture from their Facebook page. That's our banner in the background. Thanks for the unintentional shoutout, guys!
In recent years as printing has gotten cheaper (I can only presume), companies have increasingly had banners designed and made up to promote their shows on the Mile. I agree and disagree with them (with a bias towards agreeing given we used them last year and intend to again this year). The air space above head-height is valuable territory, and a banner is the perfect way to capitalise on potential audiences that fancy looking up every once in a while.
An Aside: My first day on the Mile I wondered why the Fringe Society didn't provide giant screens that people could buy advertising on, but as time progressed I realised why actually that would be really annoying - people would be more inclined to pay more attention to those shows (the ones with lots of money) than the ones putting in the legwork on the ground, which is a problem enough with the sign advertising along the streets of Ed. Plus it would block all the lovely architecture - remember Edinburgh in August isn't just about the Fringe, people want to see the city they came to see.
Back to the banners though. There is the ever-present issue of getting in people's way again. I like to think we were quite responsible with it - at times when it got very busy, we were fine to admit defeat, roll it up and let everyone get on with their lives. Lots of shows get banners, and why not? They add even more colour to the Mile, and I'm not averse to people in costume either as they're a nice way to strike up conversations with the punters. If your costume is an eight-foot long dinosaur though, maybe leave it backstage. Just generally be sensible I'm saying here.
I suppose that's kind of what I'm getting at with all the bitching really. Whatever you do, be responsible. Think 'Is this making people want to see my show, or is it making people think I'm a tosser?' It's a surprisingly fine line. I get that everyone is competing with each other for audiences, but that's not all the Fringe is about. It's also about networking, especially for comedy maybe probably, and most importantly enjoying yourself. We all use the Mile for hours and hours every day, so let's all just be nice, yeah?
I'll leave you with these pictures I took on the Mile just before dawn one day. Sorry they're a bit pants. Either my camera was rubbish or I was drunk. Or both. It was both. I personally think it's much nicer when it's chock-a-block with all us creative peoples 'avin a laugh.
The excitement begins!
So today marks 12 weeks to go until Edinburgh Fringe '15 begins and naturally I'm super stoked, to the point that I start talking as if I'm from the '80s (as if I ever didn't before). This year is Bristol Revunions' seventh year at the Fringe and we're all working hard to make sure it's a darn good'un for you the audience/blog enthusiast.
I'll keep it short and sweet for the moment, but in the coming weeks you can expect to see lots of cool stuff from us, including the formal announcement of our TWO shows and our comedy guests ("Guests? What do you mean guests?", you ask. Ooh, I'm such a tease!). We're also working on some new videos, because we know you love 'em, and of course we'll let you know about our various preview dates for those of you who can't come up to see us in Scotland (If we could we'd bring you all with us because we love you all so much, but realistically it's probably easier for us to just come to you).
So watch this space, it's all kickin' off big time.
Check in here for regular updates from us about our shows, our friends' shows, and the whole Fringe experience generally.