ED2011 COLUMN: ThreeWeeks favourite Piff The Magic Dragon on his worst – and best – Edinburgh Fringe experiences.
THE BAD BITS
The weather: Piff doesn’t like the rain. It puts him out. Mr Piffles hates it even more. When you’re that small, Edinburgh is like a very hilly Venice. I’ve found him a discarded takeaway tray which he now uses to punt his way around town using a straw as leverage. He’ll serenade you for a biscuit if you’re lucky.
The tough crowd: There will be one night when, for no apparent reason, a whole room of people will turn up to see the show with seemingly no idea of who or what they’ve bought tickets to. They spend the next hour with arms folded, hopes dashed, glaring death at your face, itching to leave but determined to get their money’s worth. Who knows how or why they go so far out of their way to come along and have a bad time.
The paranoia: What’s that show? How many stars? Who’s in tonight? What television deal? Who’s casting a new sitcom? What did that flyerer call me? Etc etc etc. Snore. Snore. Snore. Compare and despair my friend.
THE BEST BITS
The freedom: Solo shows are a great place to experiment and expand on what you do. Everything in the show is there because I want it to be. Having worked in the corporate magic scene for ten years previously, I love that freedom. I’m the boss of my own show and that keeps me warm at night. That and Mr Piffles obviously.
The food: Last year I spent the whole month with Marawa the Amazing on a steak tour. Every day a different restaurant, a different steak. This year I’m missing my food buddy, so I’m having to sneak Mr Piffles in to keep me company.
The Honing: I do about 60 shows in a month when I’m up here, and by the time I’ve finished I return with whole chunks of new material that has been worked under the most testing conditions. Where else can you see how material plays at 3pm and 3am in the same day?
Piff The Magic Dragon’s show ‘Last Of The Magic Dragons’ was performed at Just The Tonic at The Store during Fringe 2011.