Eight Steps Q&A

Eight Step Fringe: Robyn Perkins

Published on Friday 23 August 2019

Comedian and ThreeWeeks Preview Edition cover star Robyn Perkins offers some tips on how to get the most from the Edinburgh Festival, in eight steps…

1: Beyond posters and reviews, how do you suggest people pick shows to see at this year’s Fringe?
My top tip is compilation shows. Compilation shows are a great way to see a lot of acts in an hour, and get a feel for what you like. I’ve HEARD there is a great one at 1.30 in the afternoon called ‘Laugh Train Home’ with an amazing host (me!). I’ve heard. Also, talk to other punters. Word of mouth is a great way to find hidden gems. Talk to audiences at shows you like. Or if you like a performer, ask THEM who they recommend. Ask everyone! There are so many styles of shows, one person’s top show may not be someone else’s.

2: What tips have you got for people trying to see as many shows as possible in one day – how can you power through?
In short: Diversity, coffee and well placed alcohol. I think it is crucial – for everyone – to fill their days with a variety of shows. Go see circus, theatre, improv, solo shows, compilation shows, chat shows and more. There are compilation/panel shows with really great concepts like ‘Set List’, ‘Hate N Live’ and ‘Comedy In The Dark’. The change in style will keep you engaged.

3: When people are reaching peak Fringe, what tips do you have for chilling out during the Festival?
Chilling out during the Festival?! Nope. Haven’t heard of it. Actually, I am debating on whether to tell people this, as I don’t want it ruined, but Divino’s is an amazing Italian restaurant in Merchant Street. It is so central, but in a basement, so a different chill vibe. The food is incredible and the cocktails are just as great. Also, there is no cell service, so you are really away from it all. Other than that, if you have money, go to a spa and get a massage. If you don’t have money, climb Carlton Hill at sunrise. It’s quieter than Arthur’s Seat and the city is calm for just a couple of hours between 4-6am.

4: What things do you think should be on every Fringe-goers Edinburgh Festival bucket list?
Arthur’s Seat, ‘Mating Selection’, Oink the hog roast place, a circus show, ‘Mating Selection’, the Gilded Balloon Library Bar, ‘Mating Selection’, and a tour of Real Mary Queen’s Close.

5: Beyond the flyer, what tips have you got for performers trying to get people into their shows?
Brute force and questionable morals? Is it kidnapping if they are adults? I think with so many performers up there, it is hard to trust complete strangers. As such, ask your audience to tell people – assuming they like you! Also, I find doing as many short spots as possible at compilation shows and then exit flyering is great. That way people see five to ten minutes of you, as a ‘try before you buy’ type thing. But make sure you stick around until the end to hand out flyers… people have a short memory.

6: The Fringe can be great for finding a new audience. What tips would you have for staying connected with that new audience beyond Edinburgh?
I guess social media, but really a mailing list. Everyone is on social media, so often tweets just aren’t seen. If you set up a mailing list, it’s a more direct connection with someone. Also, if you know your show title for next year, tell them that! I am not sure if this works, but I did that in Perth in February…come back and ask me February 2020!

7: Performing at the Fringe is partly about building a network. What tips have you got for people looking to make connections in the industry?
Don’t just walk around asking for spots. Be real when talking to people. In terms of things you can do to connect, I would say bars and watch shows. Go to the industry bars. You don’t necessarily have to be at the VIP bars, but there are venues where comics hang out more. Second – and probably more importantly – watch other people’s shows. Performers do not tend to watch as much as they should, so it means a LOT if you put in the time to support other acts.

8: How would you recommend performers stay healthy during all the Fringe madness?
Of course I would say: exercise, sleep, eat healthy, tea and meditation. I haven’t ever worked out at the Fringe. Meditation is very helpful. Even if it is five minutes a day. As far as food, I try to cook a lot as it both relaxes me and is inherently healthier. If none of that happens, eat blueberries.

Robyn Perkins performed ‘Mating Selection’ at Underbelly and hosted the ‘Laugh Train Home Comedy Showcase’ at Laughing Horse @ 32 Below at Edinburgh Festival 2019.

Photo: Steve Ullathorne