The effect of the London Olympics and a cup of tea on the Edinburgh Fringe

The Fringe Roadshow at London’s Shaw Theatre yesterday

The famous repeated mantra in William Goldman’s book Adventures in the Screen Trade is that, however experienced, nobody knows for certain what will work or what will happen… Nobody KNOWS anything.

Ever since I blogged that I only very rarely remember anything I dream, I have been occasionally remembering a tiny snippet of a dream here-and-there. This is partly because I have bits-and-bobs of a cold hanging round my nose and throat and brain and I keep waking up during the night coughing.

Last night, in my dreams, I was at the Edinburgh Fringe in August and bought a cup of tea, but the assistant behind the tea bar topped it up with orange juice instead of milk.

“Oh! Sorry, sorry,” she said. “I’ll replace it. I’ll do it again.”

“No, don’t bother,” I replied. “It might work. It might taste interesting.”

Nobody KNOWS anything.

You can never tell what may work at the Edinburgh Fringe – or what may happen.

I dreamed about the Edinburgh Fringe last night because, yesterday afternoon, I went to an Edinburgh Fringe Roadshow in London.

This year, the London Olympics overlap the first nine days of the Fringe in theory – or the first twelve days in practice, given that many shows start on the Wednesday preceding the official start of the Fringe.

I asked Kath Mainland, Chief Executive of the Fringe, if this was a good or bad thing for attracting audiences to Edinburgh in August.

“Well,” she said, “we’ve been talking a lot about whether that will impact or not. We’ve been doing a lot of additional marketing and moving a lot of marketing earlier. We’ll be doing a lot more in London to counter that. Whether it will have an effect or not, who knows?”

You can never tell what may happen at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Nobody KNOWS anything.

Even Doug Segal – who performs an excellent mind-reading act – does not know what may happen in Edinburgh.

Last year was his first appearance at Fringe and he got full houses. His show was in a relatively small venue at the Free Festival, where performers are charged nothing by the venues and the audience is charged no admission but can pay what they think it was worth at the end. It is like indoor busking. And with the same uncertainty.

Doug said he made about £150 each night for his hour-long show and, over the course of the Fringe, broke even. This is a rare thing at the Fringe; most people lose money because of the cost of accommodation, travel and staging/publicising their shows.

You can never tell what may happen at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Not even a top-notch mind-reader.

Nobody KNOWS anything.

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