Richard Herring ended one of his Edinburgh Fringe performances this week with a hollow laugh. His show, Talking Cock 2: The Second Coming, had been well received by the 150-strong audience, but large numbers of seats were empty.
"Tell your friends. As you can see, there's plenty of room," the comedian said, adding: "You can have a row to yourself."
Herring is not the only act at Edinburgh labouring to fill venues in a year that has been dubbed one of the worst openings in recent times. Established comedians and critically-acclaimed plays have struggled to sell out, while many looking to make their name are playing to as few as four people in venues that can hold 20 times that.