Day 2: Four Characters in search of a hoover

The first night of To Kill a Machine has happened and everyone can take a deep breath. 1 show down and 21 to go.

21 to go. Yes, 21 to go.

As the company approached the first night there were so many unknowns. A good producer makes sure there aren’t any unknowns but it’s the nature of Edinburgh and not a damn thing I can do about it.

15 minutes of get-in time and 15 minutes of get-out time which is also the get-out of the previous company and the get-in of the next one. We had no idea what the previous set was going to be like so no way of knowing at what point the space would be cleared. We did know we had a complex set to put in place, re-focusing of LX to manage and a large number of props to place. So Maisie, James and the boys had rehearsed it and knew they could do it in 4.5 minutes. Then we heard the previous set used sand on the stage.

All I could do was wait nervously near the stage door and hope it was all going to plan – then I saw an actress running around looking for a hoover. Five minutes later and another actress bursts through a door looking for a hoover.

But at 8.50 the doors opened and the audience were allowed in – our set was in place, actors ready to go.

It was a good audience too. Almost capacity which made me very happy. The Torch Theatre Co team were amongst them including Gareth Bale who is Edinburgh with Grav and Jamie Rees with Oh Hello. It felt great to have the support of another Welsh company on our first night and I was looking forward to hearing what Gareth thinks of this new version – having been involved in the pilot.

The audience reaction was great – a few samples below.

@Poshcoch  Blown away by Kill a Machine – Zoo venue – a must see! #edfringe

@Jamrees Outstanding performance of To Kill A Machine tonight. Another top Welsh made production @edfringe – loving #Edinburgh

@BaleGJ Thought #tokillamachine was brilliant last night. A direct, powerful piece about a great man who was treated awfully. Congrats. GO!

@darkmantheatre People of Edinburgh, go watch ‘To Kill a Machine’ @ZOOvenues Terrific script, great direction by @AngharadLee and some really superb acting

We also have out first audience review on

To Kill a Machine provides a genuinely new exploration of a story that we think we know well, from so many adaptations. This well woven story pulls together the strands placed throughout the play to create a rich and profound ending. Gwydion Rhys’ performance of Alan Turing was deeply moving, and the whole cast were flawless in their roles, and made for a powerful piece of theatre.

Thomas Meyer

In a conversation in the bar Gareth said to me that it thought the new version of the play was a perfectly distilled piece of theatre – a description I love.

Positive reviews are vital in Edinburgh for any company as you try to help audience fight their way through over 3,000 shows so it’s good to get started with some as a new company, new play, new production.

I have a feeling, much of this diary-of-a-small-scale-theatre-producer-in-Edinburgh will be spent talking about me trying to market the play, to shout louder than all the people shouting, to find innovative and more interesting ways to get noticed like £1 off tickets if you come to the box office with a completed broadsheet crossword for that day. I’m quite pleased with that one – and really wish I could take credit for it but it was the inspiring idea of @hannahd  who is one of our most supportive computer science friends.

As we start this Edinburgh journey I also wanted to take some time to thank all the amazing people who helped to get us here. Thanks/Diolchiadau

So 1 show down and 21 to go.

To Kill a Machine is at Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 31st August at ZOO Aviary Venue 124.  Every night except Tuesday.

Book tickets here

This blog is by producer Sandra Bendelow @sandrabendelow