Saturday, 4 August 2007


I'd like to do an Edinburgh preview, but I'm still in monomaniac mode and can't really think about anyone's shows but mine just yet. A couple more days and I'll start seeing things and telling you about them. In the meantime:

the dash is over, and the slog begins. Both shows are open and thus commences the daily grind of building an audience, raising press profile and, most importantly, helping both shows to bed in for a long run.

The needs of both shows are completely different. With Can of Worms, it's blowing off the cobwebs accumulated over a couple of weeks in the drawer - and a much longer period since it last squinted into the glare of an audience. The first show was a mite tentative, but yesterday's, kickstarted by the support of a couple of particularly vocal audience members, really took off. There's something about the permission generous laughter gives to the performers to be daring that really helps to transform this show. Yesterday had some really thrilling sections that were completely new to us all, and several of the old sections felt completely new-minted. A couple more good days and the performers will feel sufficiently emboldened to be so daring from the first moments of the show: then that laughter will be theirs by right.

Man Across the Way, on the other hand, sailed with great confidence out of an intensive rehearsal period and is now being buffetted on all sides by the demands of a new space and a fairly complex tech plot. Not to mention a tech/fit-up that ran from 11pm-3am and thoroughly knackered everyone while nonetheless not being quite sufficient. So the show isn't exactly being knocked off course so much as taking a little time to get the wind back into its sails. It's a show with a huge amount of energy, but the space is huge and somewhat echoing, so sucks some of that energy right out again. Added to a couple of tech problems that lead to the odd bit of pausiness, the whole thing still feels just a mite heavy. But it's not so much about energising - the energy's there, it's just not quite coming through - as balancing it. Again, a couple more shows and it should be properly centred.

Ideally I'd like a couple more previews for both; two isn't really enough for them to bed in. But "press night" in Edinburgh is a fairly meaningless term, as the press come whenever they like, and in any case we've none booked in for today. So it's another preview, albeit one for which people are paying full price.

But we do have the Scotsman booked for both shows over the next week. I'm not going to say when, as the actors don't want to know when there's press in and there's a tiny chance one of them might read this. I just wrote several more paragraphs bemoaning the power of one or two pens belonging to people whose authority (a particular problem in Edinburgh, where there are so many rookie reviewers) we have no reason to trust or even recognise. But I realised I was treading the age-old path of lamenting my powerlessness in the face of the press. The shows are good. The press will recognise that. FACT.

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