Fringe Diaries #1: Mace and Burton.
Well, the Edinburgh Fringe is upon us.
Every year we get so excited by the prospect. My whole calendar revolves around August and the Edinburgh Fringe. So does the calendar of my comedy partner, Lizzy Mace. In the months running up to it our summer is filled with previews and preparations – all for three weeks of sheer madness…
We had a string of hilarious happenings during our preview performances of our 2011 Fringe show Rom Com Con, a comedy show about what happened when we tried to find true love by road-testing all the ways that guys and girls meet in the 100 top grossing romantic comedies. To tell this true story we use a laptop and projector to show slides and videos.
We had three preview performances in Cambridge. Our first went really well, but the sound quality wasn’t very good as there was no PA system at the venue. So the next day we ordered speakers for our second performance.
We were assured by the company the speakers would be delivered well before we were due to begin the show. We waited all day for the speakers to arrive but the end of the afternoon, we were panicking. We had called the company many times – the first time they just said they were on their way and a bit late, but by the other times they were no longer manning the office. At the start of our performance we had no idea what had happened to the speakers.
Just before we began our second show still struggling with minimal sound on laptop speakers, the projector we had borrowed from a friend suddenly stopped working. In the stuffy room on a humid summer’s day it had overheated. We panicked even more and resolved to holding up the laptop with the screen facing the audience for them all to peer at to see our carefully-created videos. It was the best we could do at such short notice! We began the preview.
Suddenly mid-performance, there was a knock at the door which led directly from the stage to the street at the back of the venue. I apologised to the audience, who already had enough to deal with and were doing so with what appeared to be enjoyment and enthusiasm. I opened the door to see a random man standing there. Thinking he was a random person, we bundled him out saying “we’re in the middle of a show”.
Once we shut the door, realisation dawned. We re-opened the door, and in front of a packed-out venue, we asked him if he was the man delivering the speakers. It was indeed him! Three and a half hours late!
It turned out he had been on his way when we first called his company – but on his way to the BILLING address, my flat! not the shipping address – the venue! It was only when he arrived at my unoccupied flat where no one could redirect him that he realised the mistake but with no way to figure out why because the office staff had gone home for the day.
My comedy partner Lizzy had to hurriedly sign all the forms for the speakers while I chatted with the audience and the delivery man brought all the speakers in from the street onto the stage while we carried on with the show! And when he left, he got a round of applause from the audience!
Thankfully those lovely, supportive people saw the funny side and got fully into the spirit of it all! The next day I bought our own projector as an investment, and was assured this would never overheat. But our second 2011 preview of Rom Com Con was unexpectedly transformed from a funny stand-up documentary to a complete and utter farce…
Thankfully, this year’s Fringe has begun with a lot more promise. Fingers crossed our good luck continues.
‘Mace and Burton: Rom Com Con’ are at The Canons’ Gait from 4-26th August (except Tuesdays) at 1.15pm as part of the Free Fringe. ‘Mace and Burton: Heartbreak Hotel’ will be at Buffs Club, West Register Street, from 4-25th August (except Tuesdays) at 7.30pm as part of the Free Fringe.
Follow Mace and Burton on Twitter @MaceAndBurton and visit www.romcomcon.com for more information.