“There’s always plenty to talk about when it comes to cabaret at the Fringe”
This afternoon saw the launch of Edinburgh Fringe Festival‘s first Cabaret Chinwag – a kind of live chat show for anyone interested in the cabaret scene or, as host Ben Walters announces, “An excuse and a chance to get to meet some of the wild and crazy things up here at the fringe”. Today’s “wild and crazy things”, decking the floor with sequins, leopard print and red silk kimonos, are Miss Behave, the Wau Wau Sisters, and Miss Hope Springs. Walters used to be Cabaret Editor for London’s Time Out (until they decided they no longer needed a Cabaret section), and now runs independent blog Not Television. He introduces each of his guests and their current Fringe offerings, prompting and probing for the juicy bits we all want to hear, before opening the floor to questions. Miss Behave is a doyenne of the Edinburgh Fringe (note: “doyenne”, NOT “veteran”!) and for 2014 is not only presenting her Gameshow until 25th, but also producing her own venue with Bob Slayer: Bob and Miss Behave’s Bookshop, which is hosting FREE shows, focussing on DIY, slightly-left-of-cabaret-centre brilliance.
One of these shows is Asking For It, from Adrienne Truscott, one half of the Wau Wau sisters (with Tanya Gagné). Like their joint production, Death Threats and Other Forms of Flattery (playing till 17th), it uses a cheeky and warm-hearted entertainment framework to confront huge issues – in this case rape, in the case of the former, actual death threats that confronted the pair when they took a previous show entitled The Last Supper to Brisbane Festival.
Unlike the other guests, drag chanteuse Miss Hope Springs is experiencing her first Edinburgh Fringe, with a cabaret of original songs that tell the story of her life, loves, and struggles with Nurofen and Chardonnay addiction, at the relatively new, plush addition to Fringe venues, The Boards at Edinburgh Playhouse (until 15th).
We are treated to a snippet of her rich voice and diva attitude with a teaser from one of her songs, The Devil Made Me Do It, as well as a quick-fire selection of mobile phone games and cardboard prompts from Miss Behave’s Gameshow.
Questions come from an audience comprising of performers, promoters, and brave “just a punter” Bryan, and they focus on advice about publicity, and surviving the Fringe. Here are some of the top tips:
- “Don’t underestimate your audience” Donny Darkly. Even if they come in with misguided expectations, don’t be afraid to leave them with a notion that their world has been opened.
- “It’s never the flyer” Amy G. Prepare an elevator pitch, summing up the essence of your show in a single sentence.
- “Plan the wording of your brochure profile really carefully” Bryan Jones. Flyers can be annoying shoved under your nose every five minutes – there aren’t that many dustbins in Edinburgh.
- “Eat a decent breakfast” Miss Behave. Feed yourself well, so you’re fit to enjoy all the other good things too.
- “Don’t miss the opportunity to have conversations with people” Ben Walters. It’s where you can pick up some of the most useful information about what shows are really like.
- “Crowd-source ideas for your publicity” Paul Nathan. Put a few ideas forward, and see which one people respond to best.
- “Use publicity material that makes you feel comfortable” Frodo Allan McDaniel. If the audience misinterpret it, but you feel it’s right, then it’s their issue to deal with.
- “Hydrate between cocktails” Tanya Gagné. “And get a decent amount of sleep. If you go to bed at 6am, stay there till 2pm.”
- “Focus on WHY you’re here” Miss Behave. If it’s to book a tour, go for that, if it’s to build a network, work on meeting people.
Cabaret Chinwag will be running each Wednesday of the Fringe with more special guests and insider gossip, and it’s FREE. But you missed the free gin, sorry.
Cabaret Chinwag. Fringe Central, Crichton Street EH8 9LE. Free, but please book. 6th, 13th and 20th August 14:30