The Fortescue Pub in Mutley Plain, Plymouth is holding Edinburgh previews this month, the first one was Tuesday 9th, and they will run for the next three Tuesdays (16th, 23rd and 30th June). Tickets last night were just £3 a head for these “works in progress” so there were very few spare seats (just the usual invisible people in the front row!). The “space” is a long, narrow room in the pub basement (my vegan Earth Cafe has taken place there the last couple of months so I’m becoming quite at home!) with no phone signal at all so nobody needs to put theirs on “silent” during the acts, if you want to ring anyone you have to go upstairs to the main pub!
Tonight’s previews were to be made up of Tom and Luke doing about half hour each (they will be sharing their Edinburgh “hour” at the Southsider with their show Small Town Heroes). The lads have a couple of things in common, both coming from small South West towns and both having recently become dads to baby daughters, and then local lady Suzy Bennett with her show Gumption.
After a quick introduction by Frankie Dore (the Funny Fort organiser) Tom came on for his half of the hour. Mixing new material (about his new daughter) with old, “allotment wars!” Tom delivered a solid set which doesn’t need much else adding to it at this stage and there’s still a couple of months to go.
Next up, Luke, who can banter with the punters like no-one else. Again, older material, mixed with more recent stuff and some new lines around his upbringing which were delivered with his usual upfront, barefaced openness. I thoroughly enjoyed his set!
Into a short break, then it was Suzy’s turn. Self deprecation, warmth, dating, men, a million subjects delivered in a lovely local accent, and with Suzy’s friends making up several of the audience, plenty of support coming from the room too.
With next week’s tickets already bought, we made our way home. All you Janners, please come along to the next few weeks’ shows. These good value previews are how the performers craft and hone their work for their Fringe audiences, and they need preview audience reaction to decide which parts of their sets make it through to the final performance.
Luke, Suzy, Tom.