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 Danny O’Hara who’s performing with Bendy House’s Neighbourhood Watch.
Rachel: Tell us about your show.
Danny: Bendy House is returning for its third year with a new format called Neighbourhood Watch, which is still a work in progress. An unassuming front door gives no clue to what characters and relationships lie behind it. Journey through the keyhole and find out what really goes on behind the closed doors of today’s neighbourhood.
Rachel: Tell us about your best ever Edinburgh performance.
Danny: Performing to one person on our first year. She had a comp ticket from meeting us in the street, came with her packed lunch and had never been to improv before. We played half an hour for her whilst she ate her food out of a plastic bag, and honestly it felt like one of our nicest shows ever at the Fringe. She loved it and thanked us for the experience!
Rachel: What do you enjoy about performing at Edinburgh?
Danny: I love the fact that we can perform. Simply put, we get to get up every day for two weeks and step out and improvise. If you don’t have that at home like I don’t, then it’s a wonderful gift.
Rachel: Have you had any low points at Edinburgh?
Danny: Last year we had a full house and a whole bunch of improvisers in the audience and honestly I felt like we just didn’t find it. I was in my head too much because they had all turned up, and yet it was a crazy gift they gave us to be there. I still kick myself a little bit about letting myself get in my head so much.
Rachel: We can definitely be our worst critics. What advice would you give to a new show at Edinburgh?
Danny: Go there to enjoy the process of performing, not to make money or to be found. And support other improv shows. Try to experience it all by going with the flow and at any given point, just walk into a place in front of you and let all the entertainment entertain you. There’s nothing more fun than to just enter a venue on the free fringe and just see what occurs in the next hour or two. It might not be what you like, but it will be something and you may discover a gem.
Rachel: How do you prepare for each show?
Danny: Chris and I put on our music loud for three or four minutes, look at each other in the eyes and tell each other we’ve got each other’s backs. Then one of us welcomes the public and if that is not me, I hide around the corner and try not to fall apart. The first year I spent this time running back and forth to the toilet! Last year I spent the time hiding by the bins! We now go on to loud music and I find that really helps. When there’s no music I find it hard to jump in.
Rachel: What else are you looking forward to?
Danny: Seeing more improvisers in our audience. It would be great to connect with others from across the country, and we love meeting them and then seeing their show. Last year, we met a lovely improviser, Joe McGuchan, on the streets, after we found ourselves flyering alongside each other. He was from Cambridge and a lovely human being who came and saw our show, we saw his show, he came back with his troupe and then later that year we went to Cambridge and gave a workshop, and he came with his troupe to perform in Norwich. It was a lovely meeting that led to lovely connections, but it came from him being such a wonderful person first and foremost.
Rachel: OK, we’ll be there! Remind us where?
Danny: Neighbourhood Watch is at Sweet Novotel at 11:45am from 12th-25th August.