At THE MIC – Mike Delamont

Live! At the Fringe!

The bad review.

When you’re at a festival, you know at some point that the reviewers will come. It’s often early and in my experience it’s always on your worst show. I can’t tell you the amount of performers who have walked off stage on opening night and thought … I hope nobody from the papers was there.

We check online several times a day just waiting. Waiting for the word. A bad review can really hurt you, A good review can go either way, and a great review can fill your entire theatre.

I have waited with bated breath for reviews many times over the years. Sometimes they have been 5 stars and you just relax, and other years it’s 1 star. Sometimes it’s lots of stars, with a bad review. Sometimes it’s the opposite.

As a performer we have a strange relationship with reviews. I have seen shows that got 5 star reviews and sold out houses in one town and then in the next they totally bomb. In Victoria it’s always fun to see what the papers will say. If the main arts critic in town likes the show people post it everywhere and if he hates it they always say, “Well what does he know? He’s just a sports writer!”

The last time I was at a festival in Vancouver the theatre critic liked my show, but then went on to give away the last 10 minutes of it. Can anyone say spoilers? My first year doing a show in Edmonton the reviewer gave away 16 of my punchlines. SIXTEEN! That’s a quarter of the show! So strange.

This time of year can be tough on theatre critics. It’s Fringe season. That means a lot of shows in a very little amount of time. Some of the shows are polished and amazing, and some of them are just damn awful.

One show two years ago became infamous because a man received – and evacuated – three mayonnaise enemas live on stage in Winnipeg. I don’t know how many people saw that show, but it has become a folk legend.

The worst review I ever got was from this very magazine! They said the writing was terrible and even shamed our audience for laughing. I’ve gotten better over the years. Now they even pay me for my terrible writing!

Victoria’s Fringe Festival is one of the most popular on the circuit. Hundreds of artists will invade downtown Victoria for 10 days of shows in everything from beautiful theatres to ugly old churches. This is the first year I’ve gotten into the Fringe since 2008, so even I will be there.

If you have never done the Fringe, come out. See shows! Take the risk. You might see a show that you hate, or you might see a show that will change your life!

When I was younger I saw Chris Gibbs do Antoine Feval at the Fringe and thought – I could never do a funny one man show! The Fringe changed my life … See a show. Who knows what it might do for you!

• God Is A Scottish Drag Queen II

Downtown Activity Centre

Aug. 28 – Sept. 6

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Ballet Victoria is honouring Rosemarie Liscum, the president of the board of directors who was instrumental in the building the dance company. Liscum died earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Ballet Victoria)
Rosemarie Liscum remembered as dedicated, instrumental builder of Victoria Ballet

The president of the ballet company’s board of directors died at the age of 59

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

A writer studying in England drew from her roots growing up in Sooke for a story that’s been short-listed for a prestigious international prize.
Former Sooke resident up for prestigious writing award

Cara Marks earns nomination for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Three Legged Dog Productions performed Jesus Christ Superstar in 2019. Tim Penney photo
Non-profit plans musical renaissance in the Comox Valley

Three Legged Dog Productions is preparing for a summer residency at Filberg Park

Most Read