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The Swellest of Mobs

Things I’m glad I lugged to Edinburgh:
·         My gym kit
·         My Kindle and other things to read
·         My denim jacket that takes a long time to dry

Things I’m genuinely glad I took to Edinburgh
·         Comfortable shoes
·         Absolutely no smart clothes
·         Tupperware
·         My Tinkerbell travel mug
·         Two sets of headphones (the dog ate one)

As ever, Edfringe was a long, crazy, tiring but fun month.  At the half way mark it seemed that it would never end and that I’d be destined to walk up hill for an hour a day (ok, half an hour, the way home was downhill). But it did and all of a sudden, I was fighting my way onto a train at Waverley and heading back to London.

At the fringe in 2017 I had a solo show and mainly flyered on my own.  I had a lot of wonderful support from family and friends but if I wasn’t there, there was no show.  This year couldn’t have been more different.

The Swell Mob by Flabbergast Theatre was an immersive show with a rotating cast of 30.  Yes 30!  There was a core cast of 10 (of which I was one) who were there for the whole month and then we had 20 other performers who came for shorter stints.  No one was replaced like for like so each time someone left or arrived the show changed.  This meant that the show was constantly evolving and that there was never time to sit on our laurels.

The problem with immersive theatre is the audience.  I don’t mean that in a negative way (more on audiences in a moment) but that even more than in traditional theatre, the audience response is vital.  I had no concerns that we had a show and that all the work we had done on our characters was sufficient, but I must say I was relieved after performance one – we had an audience, we had a show and it worked.

Audiences.  Every performance of The Swell Mob was different.  Every spectator (or participant even) had a unique experience and I believe that every cast member did too.  Thank you to all my family and friends who came to see the show, especially those who thought it "Wasn't really their thing" (Dad) I hugely appreciate it.  People react very differently in an immersive situation.  Overall, audiences were willing and wanting to engage which was great.  Some were terrified but most entered into the spirit of the venture and really got involved.  We had hard core fans who came again and again, determined to meet different characters and crack the show.

Flyering was a joy compared to last year.  People to talk with and share the rebuffs and the successes!  Friends to dance with to the buskers plying their trade and to look at all the food stalls with.  Someone to play with the group on the Silent Disco tour and try to flyer them while they were singing “Can You Feel It”.

We had a great cast of truly talented, creative, wonderful people and it was a joy to play with them all each night (and twice a night on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays).  Big shout out to director and terrifying cast member Henry Maynard and Flabbergast Theatre for making this happen.  To co-director Jordan Chandler, one of the most beautiful humans, inside and out and to Amée Smith for managing a company of actors and moving parts that must have been like trying to push treacle up a hill.

And to the mob – you guys rock #mobgoals

Some numbers:
25 days
35 performances
28 Other shows
100+ miles walked
Five 5 Star reviews
1 Award (Three Weeks Editors’ Choice Award)
3204* cups of coffee
*only mildly exaggerated



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