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Eight Steps Q&A: Al Samuels

By | Published on Tuesday 13 August 2019

Al Samuels from improv group Baby Wants Candy 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?
Poll three or four Fringe super-nerds for recommendations. There are some people who somehow fit 50-60 shows in over the month.

2: What tips have you got for people trying to see as many shows as possible in one day – how can you power through?
Two words: Diet Irn-Bru. Is that two and half words?. Also, mix it up. See an improvised musical (we have a great one), then a dance piece, then a two-hander, then a musical parody of ‘Game Of Thrones’ (wait, we have one of those too!) I have a hard time packing too many shows into any one day, though. I get show fatigue.

3: When people are reaching peak Fringe, what tips do you have for chilling out during the Festival?
Climb Arthur’s Seat – such a beautiful view of the city and the Firth. If that’s too daunting, climb Calton Hill. Not quite as beautiful, but not as strenuous either. If that’s too daunting, climb into bed and look at pictures of Edinburgh on the internet.

4: What things do you think should be on every Fringe-goers Edinburgh Festival bucket list?
Get to a proper pub and hear some good Scottish musicians play. Civernos pizza slices are amazing. And climb Arthur’s Seat – such a beautiful, yeah, I’ve already done that one.

5: Beyond the flyer, what tips have you got for performers trying to get people into their shows?
If they won’t come in the show, slowly pat your pocket and give them the “I’ve got a gun and I’ll use it if you don’t see this show” look. Sorry, I’m American. This is how we solve our problems.

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?
Social media – duh! We also go outside after each show to talk to the audience, which is a nice way to connect face to face.

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?
See other shows similar to yours and compare notes. Talk to anyone you think might be even tangentially interested in the same things you are. You never know. That’s one of the best parts of the Fringe. You become connected – often forever – to people you would have never met outside of Fringe and you never know where it might lead.

8: How would you recommend performers stay healthy during all the Fringe madness?
This is a joke question, right?!

‘Baby Wants Candy: The Completely Improvised Full Band Musical’ and ‘Thrones! The Musical Parody’ were both performed at Assembly George Square at Edinburgh Festival 2019. 

Photo: Robyn Von Swank