I can do anything | ...at least when it comes to the Fringe, says Brennan Reece

I can do anything

...at least when it comes to the Fringe, says Brennan Reece

You probably are reading this because you saw the title and thought, who is this little cocky so and so, professing he can do anything.

‘I bet he is white (check), male (check), middle class (a regular misconception, I was actually brought up on a council estate in the North West of England but two out of three ain’t bad).’

When I say "I can do anything" I don’t mean in the world, I can’t change a car tyre or keep my plants alive…I mean in terms of the Edinburgh Fringe…I Brennan Margaret Reece can do whatever the hell I want, and so can you.

I’m performing my third hour-long show at the festival and I only recently realised that I can do anything I want there. Over the past seven years of being involved in the circuit I have followed the rules of the industry, I don’t know who set these rules up, but when it comes to the Fringe, I think these rules are absolute bollocks (sorry Mum, and my Mum’s friends who she will no doubt share this article with).

'You must do an hour of your best stuff in your first year…’

‘You have to spend at least 2 grand on PR…’

‘Don’t go free fringe in your first year unless you are doing something weird, you will ruin your career…’

‘At 40 minutes do something wild or emotional or weird because the audience will get bored…’


‘Write a Chortle opinion piece to advertise your show’ (OK, you got me on that one).

These are just some of the few ‘rules’ that everyone going up to Edinburgh seem to abide by. I too have been one of these people…but I don’t understand why. This is the biggest arts festival in the world, so why are we all following each other like sheep? Why have we decided to play it safe; preview in Feb, change the show by May, collect your nomination by the end of August.

Take a bloody risk, be creative and do the show that you want to. I did in my first year, I decided to go against my ‘Northern club comedy’ ideals and do a storytelling show which didn’t have a 40 minute emotional bit, it wasn’t all the best stuff I wrote in the five years previously, it even had a flippin’ stage set…and it paid off.

This year I am taking an even bigger risk, I started to write a brand new hour of comedy with only 30 days to go (partly as a challenge to myself and partly because of other commitments), I am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and do more of a storytelling show (did an industry person advise me to do that…no), I am even having a full live band underscore the whole show (Why? Because I want to). I didn’t have a bloody clue if it would work when I started. But it doesn’t matter, we should be going to the festival to get better, to challenge ourselves and the audiences that grace out tiny little  rooms.

I want it to go back to how it was, in the late 1980s when our heroes, the people we got into comedy because of, would go up, with a loose idea, and work up a show over the whole festival…and have a bloody brilliant time doing it.

So my advice to anyone thinking of bringing their first show here next year (and ignore it if you want…there are no rules here): go up and do the show you want to do, ignore the nominations, they aren’t the be all and end all of your life (trust me, as someone who was nominated, I have seen the good and bad sides of it), take a risk, do something you can’t do at the Dog And Gimp Mask Comedy Club in Humberside on a Friday Night…but most of all, go and have a bloody good time, it is too much time and money and effort to invest, if you’re going to be sad and anxious for a month. 

And if you disagree with me, you’re wrong. Them’s the rules…

Brennan Reece: Evermore is on at Pleasance Courtyard at 18:00

Published: 18 Aug 2018

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