end of week -1

It's been another full production day as the Week 0 of the Fringe approaches and it feels like both shows are ready to launch. Today's highlights include:

- Ella catching the Fringe press office during their lunchbreak and triggering a game of snap using our deck of card fliers.

- Idil and I delivering posters to both venues - meeting Owen at the Underbelly who is getting ready to move into a new and improved press office, and Alison at the Pleasance who was at the end of a session of meet and greet for the venue staff.

ShamWagon Poster

- timing our arrival at the Pleasance so perfectly as to get a free beer.

It's great to see so many familiar faces in both venues (in front of house and tech staff): we know our shows are in great hands this Fringe.

Today heralded the arrival of that stalwart of any show's fringe publicity, the humble flyer. Over the next month, all over the festival, family, friends and bewildered Javanese industrial sealant salesmen on a team-building holiday will have these garishly coloured pieces of cheap card, adorned with grossly distorted quotes from the Luton Bugle thrust into their disinterested hands.

Not this time you faithless hounds! In a masterstroke of underhand genius, the fabulous (in the traditional sense) production team has created probably the greatest flyers the Fringe has ever seen. People will talk of these for years to come rather than cracking weak jokes about their suitability for roach material. Apparently it's something to do with being on the drugs.

three knaves
Cunningly disguised as playing cards, these nifty notices furnish those upon whom they are bestowed with all the trenchant information, while providing a valuable source of diversion during whatever it is you mistakenly chose to go and see instead. Look out for them, they're looking out for you.

P.S. Did you get the title? Jamie is Scottish. And he'll be flyering. No-one? Fine.

Teching At The Stand

The Stand's tiny stage, viewed over the tiny screen of a tiny laptop from the tiny tech-cupboard

Well that was fun: I've never run a Stand show before, so come with me now on a super-sekret tour of the glamourous backstage world of comedy tech!

The tech cupboard is about the size of a small cupboard, and just about big enough to sit down in. Of course, your knees will hit the sound desk if you try to swivel around to get at the lighting control, so for PART ONE I had everything balanced tentatively on my lap.

You may have noticed a few seconds of excitingly dramatic silence between the house lights going off at the start and the guys coming on stage: this was due to the Technical Director plugging his laptop into the "insert" bits of the sound desk, rather than the "line" bits (end result: no sound comes out). It's dark in there, totally not my fault. But as a trained improviser myself it's all in a day's work to recover gracefully from abject failure and on we went.

PART TWO and PART THREE were slightly easier on my knees - the lighting control box is on a "cable" so I could stand outside the cupboard and actually see most of the stage. Plus, it was slightly cooler in the room heaving with sweating, laughing people than in the cupboard of throbbing electrical components.

All things considered it was a fun evening. Next stop - the larger, more luxurious cupboards of the Pleasance!

steam-powered gig kicks ass

Check out pictures of the gig at our flickr photo pool, proving there's nothing quite as entertaining as a slow motion death:

death throes

Want some high resolution pictures of the gig for print? Contact Ella at ellahickson@gmail.com or on 0778 949 8216.

Home now after Shamtastic gig. ShamWagon was in the Critic's choice of the Scotsman today ("This troupe have hit upon the secret formula. Improv wannabes should watch and learn."), which may be in part responsible for the rather sizeable audience. Thank you to all who came along.

It was our final performance at The Stand before the Fringe, our swan song, if you will. Although a swan song is what a swan sings as it is dying. So it's perhaps not an apt comparison. It was a rather decent, fun show which got better and better as it continued, unlike the concomitant sickly swan. There were many references to swans during the show. Swans and gorillas. What beastly irony.

Ghost Swan
Quick survey: Do swans sing as they die? Or do they simply let out one final moany breath which we now euphemistically refer to as some sort of heavenly aria? I should imagine you'd have to be present at a swan's deathbed/pond to find out. Or kill a swan. And without shooting it in the face, that would endanger its vocal chords. Perhaps poison it gently with laced breadcrumbs.

Tonight was our last show of our season at The Stand: be sure to join us in The Pleasance Courtyard at 11pm throughout August.

ShamWagon at The Stand

This week marks the last show of ShamWagon's six-month residency at The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh. It's also the last show before we move to a brand new stage at the Pleasance Courtyard for our Fringe run.

The show is on Tuesday 25th July and starts at 8.30pm (doors from 7.30), with tickets at a measely £4 (£3 for students.) The booking line is 0131 558 7272. Please feel free to buy out the night. The Stand Comedy Club is in York Place, a short stroll from Prince's Street: it just won't be the same without you. And that means you.

Hello and welcome to The Penny Dreadfuls' website and blog. This summer we're delighted to bring you two unique comedy shows: Aeneas Faversham, a Victorian sketch comedy show at the Smirnoff Underbelly and ShamWagon, a late-night improv show at The Pleasance Courtyard.

Throughout the next six weeks, we'll be bringing you news, reviews and general anachronistic frippery from both shows. Come back often for news of the special guests who will be joining the ShamWagon team throughout the fringe for late-night comedy, as well as special treats direct from the warm embrace of Mr Faversham himself.