Edinburgh is imminent. Holy smokes.
We’ve gone from ‘it’s a year away guys, stacks of time’, to ‘don’t worry chaps, still got six months to pull this together’, to ‘bloody hell, it’s in a couple of days.’
This year, Mixed Doubles have decided to stray from our usual pure sketch format, and pop a narrative in there. The premise is a fictional fundraiser, where the four of us are raising money to build a new village pavilion.
Lines have been dramatically tweaked minutes before performances. Party poppers have failed to go off at pivotal moments. And at the eleventh hour, a golden onesie has been bought. After months of rehearsals, mini-sets, e-mails and logistics, we’ve got a wodge of paper that says ‘Edinburgh script’ on the front. Yikes.
Mixed Doubles has had a bit of a wild ride. We formed back in 2012 for a ‘one-off’ show at the Henley Fringe. We had such a blast that we thought we’d keep going and see where things went. The following summer, we found ourselves up in Edinburgh at Just the Tonic Caves. The feeling in camp was unanimous. The Fringe is seriously good fun. And battered Crunchies are life-changing. We knew we had to return. It’s taken a couple of years, but it’s finally happening. Golly I hope the punters like it.
Preview season is a funny old fish. I was telling my mum how nervous I was for our first preview back in June. ‘We’re not ready mum, we barely know our lines, and we haven’t got a beginning or an ending.’ I likened it to a teacher giving a lesson that she had only half planned, and asking loads of people to watch her do it.
If that wasn’t enough vulnerability, I’ve decided to give myself the absolute willies and try out a solo character act. She’s sort of the love child of Just William and Strange But True. As luck would have it, I’m going to be giving her an outing at the Funny Women regional finals. Gulp. No pals up there to celebrate/commiserate with if it’s a hit/total clanger. Just yours truly. Why on earth would anyone want to do that? I think it must be because when it goes well, there’s just no better feeling. It’s extraordinary. Even a freshly battered Crunchie can’t top it.
We daydream about a BBC commissioner chancing upon us, and, cigar in-hand, telling us that we’re going to be the next Big Train. It’s a tantalising place, the Fringe. Whatever way it goes, I have a feeling that August is going to be quite the giggle.