Comedy Fringe Debut: Juliette Burton
Comedian's debut solo show is at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013
This article is from 2013.
What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut?
‘Go for it!’ After two years of performing as part of a comedy duo, I was offered the chance to perform my debut solo show at the Gilded Balloon this year. At the time, I wasn't sure whether to or not but it was definitely the right decision.
What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice?
Expectations are dangerous things to have: if you haven't any then you can't be disappointed! Honestly, all the advice I've had so far has been useful: even those bits that I decided not to take on board. It’s useful because it helps me find my own choices amidst others telling me what to do.
Imagine this is September: looking back at August, what would constitute a successful Fringe?
Success is very difficult to define: I’d love to get great reviews, a manager or agent interest, to improve my performance with every show and it would be a dream come true to have broadcast interest. But I want to look back and feel like I did all I could to make the most of all the opportunities. Most of all I want to enjoy it! There's been so much hard work recently. I just want to enjoy performing now!
In krugerrands, how much do you expect to lose during the Fringe?
Expectations again … According to my research, ‘the krugerrand or the South African gold coin's worth is dependent on the gold prices that are fluctuating daily.’ So my expected losses in krugerrands will fluctuate daily. That sounds about right actually! Who knows what will happen financially. I worked hard to plan a budget, raise funds and be careful with every penny raised. I'm putting everything I can, financially and emotionally, into the show. I'm eating very meagrely at the moment and my social life is on hold until autumn!
Back in the old days, there used to be a thing called ‘the festival shag’. Is this ancient tradition likely to play any part in your thinking during August?
Ha! Well, I live in Edinburgh now. That may or may not be down to what I would call a 'festival fling' I had a couple of years ago …
Back in the old days, comedians would drink alcohol solidly for a whole month and still manage to get out and do their show every day: how much are you likely to imbibe per day?
I am on at 1.15pm in the afternoon: it'd be a little early for me to drink beforehand but it is the perfect finish time to start drinking and not stop from 2.30pm onwards! Last year, performing as one half of Mace and Burton, we were doing two shows a day. I'd be up at 7am, performing at 1.15pm, drinking from 3pm, drinking Red Bull from 5pm, performing again at 7.30pm and then drinking again from 9pm. It was intense. This year, my pre-Fringe alcohol intake has increased significantly with the stress of handling a solo show alone. So I need to keep careful track of how much alcohol I consume during the Fringe, but not so carefully I can't relax and enjoy Fringe social hours!
What qualities do you expect from a Fringe venue?
Again, expectations! Having performed at the Fringe as part of a duo before, I know venues can vary dramatically. So I need to focus less on what I expect and focus more on what I can do to make the most of my venue. I want to fill mine with warmth, energy and laughter. I have heard the venue this year can get fairly humid, so the warmth might be taken care of for me! I have looked into the cost of a dehumidifier, just in case.
Will you read your reviews before your run is over and if so, how do you think they will affect you as a comedian and as a human being?
Yes, I will. It is really hard, with any review, to take what is useful and leave the rest but that is my aim. Performing the day after a ‘bad’ review is hard. But hard experiences are the ones that give us the biggest opportunities for emotional growth. Reading reviews might help me be more aware of my strengths and my weakness as a comedy performer and a more grounded human being.
Next year, will you consider returning as a double act?
Last year and the year before I performed at the Fringe as one half of a double act – Mace and Burton – and I still am in that double act for other projects. So I would love to continue to build on what we began together. But I'd also love to build upon whatever I do begin this year. Whatever happens I'd love to return and keep the momentum going.
Do you undertake any superstitious rituals before going on stage?
Yes! A big, emphatic YES! ‘Power lipstick’, two Kirby grips in my hair and a sugarfree Red Bull five to ten minutes before performing.
If you were about to perform at the Fringe for your tenth year, where would you expect your career to be at that point?
Expectations again! I would love to be handled by management or an agent, I'd love to have been working on comedy acting and writing for TV for a few years with management and/or agent, I'd love to have a strong following and my biggest dream would be to be making a real living from writing and performing. I’d never expect to make money from the Fringe though, no matter how successful I might become!
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, 3¬–26 Aug (not 13), 1.15pm, £8–£9 (£7–£8). Previews 31 Jul–2 Aug, £5.