The smile count in Edinburgh was up 300% yesterday as the majority of companies have now passed their first show. The first show is a terrifying experience. It's the first real chance to see if your show works in the space you've chosen. Regularly in Edinburgh this space may not actually be a theatre, increasing the chances of a technical nightmare. Luckily we are in The Bedlam Theatre, which runs year-round. Unluckily, at some point in our technical rehearsal we slipped into slow motion, which meant we weren't able to run through the whole show.  

More terrifying than under-prepared technical states though is the prospect of putting a brand new show in front of an audience. An intense period of rehearsal can leave you blind to the show by the end. You start to take key decisions you have made for granted. You forget why they made them, and the effect they will have on someone who's never seen them before. All you can think of before a first show is the fact that you have spent the rehearsal period with a very wierd group of theatremakers and that there's a strong possibility that nothing you have created will make the slightest bit of sense to a normal human being.

In the event it all went pretty well. People laughed at jokes we had forgotten we were making. They commented on the set which we had forgotten we'd created. They understood the story which we had forgotten was interesting. The blind fear has been abated, we can see the show again, make some sensible tweaks and polish it up. So, despite the terror it brings the first show is an absolute blessing. No matter how many outside eyes you have had along the way, there is no substitute for a proper, unpredictable audience. The Fringe breathes a collective sigh of relief.