I’m taking Between Us to Edinburgh Fringe for the first time this year, so I wanted to hear from other seasoned improvisers about their Edinburgh experiences. I caught up with Vicki Mitchem who’s performing with ComedySportz and Crime Of The Hour.
Rachel: You’re performing with two different shows. Tell us about ComedySportz first.
Vicki: ComedySportz is a competitive short-form improv show. A red team and a blue team go head-to-head. There’s games, puns, usually a song or two and the audience decides who wins. It’s a family-friendly show so there are penalties for bad behaviour (and bad jokes). This is the 12th year ComedySportz has been to the Fringe. In the last few years there’s been at least one show at Three Sisters, which is a great venue – always really busy.
Rachel: And what about Crime Of The Hour? I haven’t heard of that one.
Vicki: Crime of the Hour is a longform improv show that usually happens in New York but is taking a trip to the Fringe this year. I’ve never been in it or even seen it before, so come to the show and find out what it’s about with me! The Fringe guide tells me we’ll hear the story of an infamous murderer which inspires an improvised show.
Rachel: What do you enjoy about performing at Edinburgh?
It’s relentless! There are three shows a day this year, plus we do our own flyering and there’s a load of shows I want to see too.
Rachel: What do you find difficult about performing at Edinburgh?
Vicki: It’s relentless! I couldn’t do the whole month. Respect for everyone who does. *Mum voice* please schedule naps and eat fruit sometimes.
Rachel: Tell us about your Edinburgh low point.
Vicki: Someone in my accommodation microwaved yellow-sticker fish in the kitchen. The kitchen was also my bedroom.
Rachel: And what about your highlights?
Vicki: I was voted Best At The Floss the year flossing was a thing by an eight-year-old judge. And in 2017 Prince Edward, his family and his security staff came to the show, which was pretty surreal. I may have sung him a song about tennis. And yes, he did put money in the bucket at the end! We have no idea how he heard about us.
Rachel: Do you have any Edinburgh money tips? (Other than getting royalty to see you!)
Vicki: If you’re doing a free show, add some incentives or freebies if an audience member puts a certain amount in the bucket. Some shows use contactless payments for donations, which saves taking handfuls of change to the bank.
Rachel: How do you keep your improv fresh when you’re performing every day?
Vicki: In the short-fom show we try not to repeat games too much, which saves the popular ones going stale. It’s also a great time to try things out. If it doesn’t work today, change it up for tomorrow.
Rachel: Do you have any particular goals for this year’s Edinburgh?
Vicki: It would be brilliant to have a full house for all our 16:30 shows. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think it could happen.
Rachel: And where are you performing so we can help fill up that house?
Vicki: ComedySportz is on from 1st to the 17th August at 12:20 at the Pear Tree and at 16:30 at Three Sisters. Crime Of The Hour is on from the 2nd to the 10th August at 23:00 at Greenside @ Infirmary St.