• Paul O'Donnell

"I Gave It A Shot"


So, after a predominately sleep based day, I thought it time to reflect on my very first year at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, bringing my (almost entirely imagined) Bon Jovi musical We’ve Got Each Other to the largest arts festival in the world.

I’ve been planning on going to The Fringe for the past three years, and each of those years I have said “next year definitely”. This year the time finally felt right to make the leap.

It’s been a truly scary, stressful, risky, exciting, tiring, financially broke kinda six months, but in the end I couldn’t be happier with how my month at The Fringe has turned out, prouder of my doggedness to keep pushing through with it all, and more grateful to all the people who have supported the show in any and all ways imaginable.

The Edinburgh Fringe experience is known to be a very lonely place for artists, particularly for us solo artists, but in the true spirit of #WeveGotEachOther I’ve been blown away by how many people have helped/supported/cheered me on from a far.


So, I wanted to start by saying a VERY BIG "Thank You" to;

  • All family, friends and colleagues, who travelled to see the show... muchas eva longoria x.

  • Those who donated to the shows crowdfunder in June (I will send you your rewards asap I promise).

  • Anyone who sent a tweet/Facebook post/told their friend they HAD to come see the show. Even from afar, it really helped, and has been lovely knowing that you folk were backing me the whole hog.

  • Mum and Dad for supporting in any and every way they possibly could (Mucho apprecio y amore los familia), including travelling up to personally cheer me on in week 3.

  • ‘Techie’ (real name; Connor Dickens) who has been really wonderful, and reliable and supportive all month round. If you’re looking for an excellent Stage Manager, he’s your man. As well as Mick Diver who has technically supported the show leading up to Edinburgh.

  • The wonderful team at Pleasance (Nic, Joe, Nichola and David in particular). I heard that Edinburgh venues are 'vicious beasts', but I never felt this with Pleasance, they were wonderfully encouraging and supportive throughout.

  • China Plate (and all partners/venues who have backed the shows development) for seeing potential in the show and believing in it from the start.

  • The creative team behind the show, Nick Walker and Arnim Friess - the show wouldn't be what it is without you.

  • Mobius PR for getting all dat press behind the show and passionately believing in it.

  • Sarah-Jane Watkinson for generally keeping me sane, and making me a delicious brekkie mid Fringe.

  • The Coventry Massive (Strictly Arts, Noctium, Jen Davis, Susie Sillett, Elinor Coleman) for all being so supportive to each other whilst up there… in true Cov Spirit.

  • Anyone who bought me a pint (I owe a lot of people pints).

  • Jon Bon Jovi… for not suing me… yet!

Together you have helped me:

  • Perform a show that I (still) love performing, a whopping 25 times in one month.

  • Listen to approximately 650 mins of Livin’ On A Prayer (still not bored of it) across the month.

  • Build UK and International audiences and contacts.

  • Showcase my work to over 1400 people.

  • Gain two 5 Star Reviews, six 4 Star Reviews, one 3 Star Review and one 2 Star Review (cheers Fringe Biscuit).

  • Make pals with Frank Skinner.

  • Get a kiss off Joel Dommett.

  • Get a shout out from Elaine Paige.

  • Get over 100 more followers on Twitter and over 50 likers of my artists page on Facebook.

  • Receive over 80 posts/tweets/emails from audiences saying how much they loved the show (only some are from friends).

  • Consume 27 days worth of beer.

  • Build some killer calf muscles walking around Edinburgh for a month.

  • Make a (small) profit at the Fringe (it was an urban myth until now… perhaps the Loch Ness Monster does exist??).

I don’t know just yet what the future holds for the show, or for myself, but I am glad I finally bit the bullet, thought “lets give it a shot”, and took the risk. Thank you all for helping me do just that.


I would say at this point that to any artists who are thinking ‘I should give it a shot’, that you should really think ‘Is now the perfect time?’.

It is certainly not something you should rush into, and I would recommend you build a base of a profile, experience and marketing know-how to make sure you do it right. I’m not saying this to be patronising, but as a cautionary tale having seen a load of shows this month struggling to get an audience of five (even if their shows are great).

If you’re going to throw all this money at Edinburgh, you really have to make sure that your show will sell, that you understand its risks, and that you get out of it exactly what you hope to. There’s little point (in my opinion) to go if you’re not going to thrive there.

Edinburgh Festival isn’t a magic spring board that will automatically throw you into fame and fortune; it’s a huge risk, a dangerous risk and one that might end catastrophically for you, competing against hundreds of other performances. Take the time to make sure you prepare yourself, and your show, with all the confidence to attack the festival with all your might. Even if it takes years (…it took me four).

And, I only took the risk because I had an army of Tommy’s behind me ready and waiting to shout about my work, support my work, and verify that it is ‘worth your while’. If however you feel like you are ready for it... then... "take my hand, we'll make it I swear".

And, to all of my Tommy’s, old and new...

“We’ve Got Each Other… and that’s a lot for Love!”


Your Gina


We've Got Each Other comes to Pleasance London for ONE NIGHT ONLY on Sat 6th October: Tickets Here