Edinburgh Fringe 4th August 2012

We are coming to the end of a manic first week here in Edinburgh. The Gambler is settling into the Jack Dome very nicely and I think everyone is starting to get comfortable. It's really nice to be staying in one place for the month as we've previously been touring the show around London, doing a single night at each venue. Kath Graham, our intrepid lighting designer, returned to London this afternoon to get back to work so I am left to run the light and sound from now on. Kath has shown me everything that needs to be done so things won't fall apart! The only problem remaining is that I may never find my way to the theatre again without her to show me around Edinburgh...

The vast majority of our time this week has been spent promoting the show, and yes, that means standing in the street handing out flyers. Thankfully the sun has been out and people don't seem to be in too much of a rush generally. I've had some really interesting responses from people I've tried to offer flyers to. I asked one lady if she was interested in physical theatre; “Yes I love it,” she replied, before scanning the flyer I handed her and thrusting it back at me; “But that's not for me.” I was so surprised by her sudden change of heart that I actually asked what it was about our flyer that put her off; “It just looks a bit... meh.”

Another man took the flyer, appeared to read it and then said to me; “I am looking for job.”

“Excuse me?” I replied.

“I am looking for job, giving flyer.”

“I'm not really the person to ask I'm afraid. Try asking in one of the venues.”

“I ask them, they say ask in street.” Thankfully he wandered off at this point because I had no idea where to send him.

On the first few days we had previews to try and build up some interest before our official opening yesterday. Part of the idea of doing previews is to give away some free tickets for the show just to get people in. I gave a free ticket for Friday's show to a very nice man I met on Thursday, he seemed keen and we chatted for a short while about The Gambler. Anyway on Friday afternoon, half an hour before the show the same man came rushing up to me and very apologetically returned the ticket. It was a real shame that he couldn't make it but in any case it was very good of him to bring the ticket back so we could give it to someone else. A few minutes later another man strolled by on his own and I couldn't believe my luck when he accepted the free ticket, that seat would be filled! Unfortunately ten minutes after that he also came back and returned the ticket to me... I suspect both men had been given tickets to see other shows that sounded more appealing, but it was really good of them to bring back the ticket.

If you've never been up to the Edinburgh Fringe, you're probably reading this and wondering how it can be a big deal to give away a free ticket. Well, apparently there are 2,695 shows in the Festival this year; most of them opened this week, and a lot of them were giving away free tickets. Obviously there are only so many hours in the day and many people only visit for a few days so it's actually very common for people to refuse a free ticket. There's so much on offer you can actually be fussy about which shows you see for free!

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