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Saturday, 17 August, 2002, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Fringe diary: Review craving
The Sketch Club
The Sketch Club desperately want to be reviewed by the main festival papers
Performer Tom Barnes of comedy act the Sketch Club describes his troupe's attempts to draw the big reviewers to their Fringe show as the festival enters its final week.

13 August

Slightly up-and-down week so far, with our fantastic review in on Friday, followed by the smallest audience we had yet had.

I thought I had put in a wrapped-in-cotton-wool performance but no one else noticed. Andrew had exactly the same feeling about himself the next day, while the rest of us thought he'd done well.

Then, it was a lovely day for handing out fliers, which led to 46 in the audience on Saturday.

Sunday, though, returned to standard weather - wet, wet, with a touch of extreme wet, and audiences shrunk again.

There really is, in Edinburgh, a correlation between how many fliers you put out and audience size, though the maths of it would be difficult to articulate.

Tom Barnes
Tom Barnes trying to keep his spirits up

For the first time since I have arrived in Edinburgh, last night I managed to get to bed before 0100, because both Maggie and I felt exhausted.

I slept through till until 1100 this morning, missing the first of three shows I didn't make it to today.

Our ghost story has been taken up by other acts: an astrologer (also playing the Gilded Balloon) has offered to exorcise the ghost in the Sunday Mail.

Stacey's "hot breath down the back of the neck" is getting references in other comedy shows.

Lots of people, when they meet us, say "Oh you're the haunted show!" so it has got us known, but it certainly hasn't increased our audiences.

One great thing about Edinburgh is the way that the divide between performer and audience is totally broken down.

W e all see each other's shows, and the man you see as Coriolanus one moment is handing out his fliers the next day.

Sometimes you wish Tom Cruise and Kim Basinger had to do that.

A woman I had persuaded to come and see the show almost on the first day stopped me in the park to say how fantastic the show was.

Yesterday, two 16-year-old fans came all the way up from Whitby just in order to see Sketch Club. There's dedication for you.

14 August

Exactly half-way through the run, and audiences have yet to pick up, leaving Andrew and Brian slightly worried about cash-flow.

Last night we had five paying customers, and we have a bit more than that tonight (Tuesdays are always supposed to be bad), but we need to be moving toward 30 to 40 to be happy.

The troupe is one girl down
One female member went home after becoming scared by their "haunted" venue

And we need to sell out a couple of nights to really have a hope of breaking even. The lady at the Gilded Balloon says that all ticket sales are down by about a third from last year and the main papers have yet to review us.

A nice review in The Stage today called my camp rendition of Ol' Man River "strangely affecting" - what does that mean? And Brian was "saturnine".

But we need to be reviewed by The Scotsman, Metro or List, and they're just not coming.

15 August

Real life intrudes on Edinburgh, as I have to ring home to find out about my students' A-level results.

They were better than expected, but I still have little faith in the value of the new A-levels.

Yesterday we put on a great performance, despite the lack of Jackie, who had been called down to London for an audition, which apparently went well.

Despite fact that various people were doing different parts to make up added to the spice and zest of the evening.

I even joined in the dance (a frightening experience for the audience). This is why live cabaret is so exciting: the show genuinely changes every night.

Coverage of the 2002 Edinburgh Festival from BBC News Online

The buzz

In focus

Fringe diarists



See also:

04 Aug 02 | Entertainment
10 Aug 02 | Entertainment
22 Jul 02 | Entertainment
17 Jul 02 | Entertainment
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