On Sunday 19th April @Parrotscope (three friends – Will Barker, Ben James and Gareth Jones ) hosted what was billed as ‘Cardiff’s tallest comedy gig’ at a secret location; later revealed on Twitter to be Cardiff’s Radisson Blu Hotel. However, whilst a small audience were present, they weren’t the only audience as the evening’s gig was being live streamed on Periscope – the new app which, according to its developers, ‘lets you explore the world through the eyes of somebody else.’
Of course, live streaming is nothing new. NT Live and the RSC make regular broadcasts to cinemas around the world, giving audiences the chance to experience live theatre, but Periscope is so simple – content can be streamed using a mobile device and shared live with a potential audience of millions. Plus it is a deeply personal experience where anyone can contribute and watch (and the app gives viewers the ability to interact with other audience members through its comments feature.) So, I found myself on the sofa, cuppa in hand, whilst not in Wales and watching local Stand Up from Cardiff – and for free.
Ben James hosted the evening, successfully warming up the audience and giving the event a sense of occasion. However, I hope in future events to see Ben given his own set as, having seen him perform previously, I know that he is more than capable of holding an audience for a lot longer than his MC duties allowed. First act Russ Creemer gave a solid set which included gags about bags for life and the oddities of married life. Whilst the picture quality during his set was excellent, unfortunately it was quite difficult to hear all of his set.
Thankfully, by the time of the second and final act, Leroy Brito, someone in the comments box had kindly pointed all online viewers to the second stream, which had previously been showing behind the scenes footage – another bonus of Periscope – and that had far superior sound quality, although it unfortunately had the camera focussed on the audience rather than the stage. Brito’s set was full of quick-fire gags in his highly personal set, the subjects of which ranged from growing up to what might happen if Idris Elba played Bond.
It seems highly likely that @Parrotscope will host another event in the not-too-distant future. Feedback has certainly been positive and it would be interesting to see what would translate to both a live and internet audience. Perhaps next time performers might be persuaded to acknowledge the online audience more and play directly into the camera. How might the comments box be used to inform a person’s live performance? It seems that the possibilities are endless with such a young platform as Periscope – and the imaginations of it’s users.
Just a word to @Parrotscope, though, when you do host your next event – don’t worry about inviting me to the gig, I think I’ll watch from home.