Eight Steps Q&A

Eight Steps Q&A: Naomi McDonald

Published on Sunday 4 August 2019

Impressionist, comedian and singer Naomi McDonald 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?
Occasionally it’s fun to let the shows pick you. Some of my favourite experiences were when I was so hungover I didn’t have the energy to say no to a pushy flyerer and was coerced into seeing something totally random. Yes it was awful, but that’s Fringe life baby!

2: What tips have you got for people trying to see as many shows as possible in one day – how can you power through?
Wear your comfiest shoes possible. This sounds obvious but I once wore heeled boots to the Fringe… WRONG. Pack your bag with an Irn Bru and a flapjack, insert a catheter, and you’re good to go!

3. When people are reaching peak Fringe, what tips do you have for chilling out during the Festival?
George Square is pretty chill. I like to buy a falafel, sit on the grass and people-watch. It gives me a moment to space out when I can’t bear to watch another show, or I’m tired of running away from a comedian I once dated.

4. What things do you think should be on every Fringe-goers Edinburgh Festival bucket list?
The Pleasance Courtyard has the best vibe, even if you’re just having a beer there. And Tingthai Caravan for a dreamy dinner made up of noodle-curry-heavenliness.

5: Beyond the flyer, what tips have you got for performers trying to get people into their shows?
Talk to people’s faces! Boldly approach them and pitch your show with genuine enthusiasm and the response might surprise you. The amount of times people would say ‘what… that’s actually you on the flyer?!?!? I’m definitely coming then!’ was quite astonishing.

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?
Pointing them in the direction of all your social media is, of course, helpful these days. Shout it obnoxiously at them at the end of your show and watch how the followers flood in.

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?
Try and wangle your way into venue member-only bars. Neck as much beer as possible. Then stalk someone who looks important. The smoking area is a great place to corner someone… so I hear!

8: How would you recommend performers stay healthy during all the Fringe madness?
Sleep is genuinely the most important thing. Head home after your show and chill out occasionally, for god’s sake! Yes of course, there will be times when you’ll feel extreme FOMO as you stand waiting for your taxi to take you home and you see the person you really fancy looking proper hot, heading out to a cool bar to flirt with someone other than you. But you’ll be the one laughing the next day when you’re feeling fresh and good to go and they’re too hungover to do their show! Try it! It’s great!

Naomi McDonald is performing ‘Copycat’ at Just The Tonic at The Caves until 25 Aug.

Photo: Joshua Bilton