The Edinburgh Diaries Part Four: It’s all in the Stars!

Saturday 18th August.


I’ve learnt so much these past two weeks. ‘Do not smile at dogs on the bus’ is at the top of the list of life lessons.

I smiled at a dog sitting across the way from me. It was a good looking animal with short, shiny fur, attached to a less good looking, short, shiny human.

Trouble was, the drunk man next to me thought I was making faces at him and wanted to know why I was looking at him ‘like that.’

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to explain that you were smiling at a dumb animal to another dumb animal, but boy, it was exhausting. Reeling from the alcohol fumes, I was lucky to get off the bus alive.

Lesson learned. Henceforth I won’t be trying to win the favour of cross breeds on the bus.

Other lessons learned this week:


I had a reviewer in to my show on Tuesday evening. She was a young, bespectacled woman in mint green who barely cracked a smile throughout the show, in spite of its being one of the more raucous and well enjoyed performances.

I knew before I read it, that she’d only be giving me a lousy three stars.

She made some fair observations about my delivery and presentation style; she said some pleasant and complimentary things about me but I didn’t feel she’d really understood the essence of the show.

Ha. I bet that’s what all performers who get less than glowing reviews say!

But she did get me thinking. My show and my performance have been evolving as the fringe has gone on. I have been watching other comedians at work and analysing their technique. I have been thinking about my own.

The great thing about the Fringe is you can make changes or try something new in your show and get instant feedback.

I made some changes. I played with the audience some more and in different places. I stopped being afraid that I wouldn’t find my way back into the story arc.

And bugger me, it worked. Today I’m looking at an audience review which makes me want to marry the man who wrote it. And also wish that he wrote for a professional publication.


So the thing I was dreading happened.

I knew that at some point, I’d be faced with two tricky prospects:

1.No audience.


2. A tiny audience.

Thursday was the day.

Thursday itself was a good day. Following my three stars, my younger son Theo, managed two important stars of his own in French and German A levels, which, along with two A grades in Latin and Maths meant he’d achieved his place at Cambridge University.

I was obviously thrilled. I gestated him after all.

I am planning on buying the college hoody, the t shirt, the pencil case and the key ring. That’s how thrilled I am.

Theo has been a brilliant flyerer for my show. He has drummed up rooms full of people who didn’t know they really, really wanted to see his mum’s show.

On Thursday however, he was back home collecting his results and meeting up with his pals.

His father too, similarly accomplished in convincing strangers they want to see his wife in action, (make your own gags here, people) was enjoying some down time at the family ranch.

Our publicity machine was crocked. And it showed.

Four people turned up. An actress and her friend and a couple in their fifties.

“You haven’t experienced the Fringe unless this happens to you,” I told myself as I hitched up my tights and prepared to go on in front of what had become, in my head, The Counting House Four.

Ok, so at first it had the feel of a pupil referral unit, but it wasn’t long before we’d made friends and were having a ball together.

I was able to smash up the structure of the show, try some new things safe in the knowledge that only four people could find it detestable/alienating/offensive.

They didn’t.

They wrote lovely reviews instead.

I’m twinkling like mad.


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  1. Knock ’em dead Sam, or break wind, sorry, a leg or whatever you performers do. Actually, breaking wind could get a laugh!
    Best wishes

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