How to bribe your way to Fringe success

  • 6 August 2008
How to bribe your way to Fringe success

The List payola blog

Every year, thousands of performer flock to the Edinburgh Fringe in order to showcase their talent and kickstart a career in the performing arts. Unfortunately, there's so may other blighters doing the same that it's hard to make yourself heard above the din. There a limited number of column inches, so it's quite a competition to get your show mentioned in there.

There are a few options.

Be good

You can have a show that is so blindingly good that word of mouth will become an unstoppable force and see every audience member leave their seat an evangelist - who will in turn try and convince everyone they meet to go and see your show.

Hire a pushy PR person

Believe it or not, people make a living out of pestering journalists, call it a proper job and still sleep at night. Some of them are polite, knowledgeable, helpful and genuinely passionate about the acts they are working with. Others are a grown up equivalent of the playground bully. Others are like stalkers who want to be your fake friend.


Technically an outlawed practise since the 1960s, this can take many discreet forms in the modern age and is the subject of this page. We get sent stuff quite a lot throughout the year to 'encourage' us to cover certain events - fairly mundane stuff like free tickets, alcohol, CDs, DVDs. During the Festival, the standard of gifts gets better. A lot better. See below for a selection.

The crucial thing to remember about Payola though is that it's cheap, easy and that it works.

So if you are performer in Edinburgh at the moment and looking for some coverage, or for us to send our critics to review your show - send us something interesting - and we'll write about you. Yes, we really are that shallow.

Pickled Onions

Not just any old Tesco pickled onions. These appear to be home-made to boot and have kept us going on the late-night production shifts at the List office. Extra marks for the home-made flowery lid.


You're a man, and you want to become a woman? The Islamic Republic of Iran can help. Sex change, botox, pickle and jam; 'Plastic' examines the traffic between the two sexes in the world capital of cosmetic surgery.

Pleasance Courtyard, 6-24 Aug £9.50 (£8.00) Times vary, usually two performances a day.


It's been a long time since i've seen a tin of these, i can tell you. Out of captivity, they can usually spotted garnishing a gammon steak in many hotels in seaside towns specialising in bus parties. Best served with weak milky tea, it's a heady combo and a classic of British cuisine.

The Cheese and Pineapple Club
A riotously intimate soiree of stand-up, parlour games and party pieces plus a top star guest every day. Join Grainne Maguire and Sarah Campbell for the friendliest show on the fringe! 'Inspired and extremely funny' (Inside Comedy).

Underbelly, 6-24 Aug, 17.15, £10.50 (£9.50)

Jaffa Cakes

It pains me to confess that not only were the Jaffa Cakes we were very kindly sent eaten before we had a chance to photograph them for this page, we've also no idea who set them as the box ended up in the bin. Perhaps an empty box of Jaffa Cakes is just too sad a sight. If it was your show, please accept out apologies and send us on your details so we can plug your show here. And more Jaffa Cakes.

Curly Wurly

Same story with the Curly Wurly i'm afraid. It was small enough to be consumed by an unnamed individual in one frenzied sitting before the arrival was even made office-wide knowledge. We're not proud of this behaviour. Please feel free to send it again or claim ownership of this fine, fine gift and we'll plug your show in the space below.

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