Out of the shadows and back home safely

Today my wife can stop referring to herself as "the fringe widow''.

Nearly a fortnight ago, I walked out of the family home armed with a crisp Fringe Festival guide and an appetite for experience, entering the darkness of festival theatres, clubs and halls across the city.

Briefly I returned home each day, for a fresh shirt and to recount a festival joke, stumbling on the punchline, as my wife handed me a vitamin D pill and pushed me back into the shadows.

Now the nearly 70 shows are over and I've returned home, unshaven, squinting and satisfied.

But reacclimatising to a world of 9-to-5 and neckties will take time.

I'm leaving a world where body glitter, tartan pants and shoes made from a mix of moccasins and winklepicker are accepted, where dances last 10 hours and a defunct record shop is reborn with a confessional.

The confessional seemed surplus to requirements in a festival where no subject seemed taboo.

The absurdity was intoxicating when Kapiti coast comedian Cohen Holloway ended his set by running among the audience re-creating the moment an excited Japanese man invents the signature cry of Star Wars character Chewbacca.

Or when a 60-year-old Glaswegian man dressed in a tartan suit, and looking like a hungover Annie Lennox, told us the true reason for Burns Night - to commemorate the victims of deep fryer fires.

The beauty and humour was found in unexpected places at the festival, such as the verbatim play Stories to Heal Violence where actors told tales of Dunedin's's history of violence in a bid to bring change.

Festival director Josh Thomas and his team serve a better fringe each year by ensuring it is about the artists and the audience.

The community feel of the festival ensures artists' return.

To the festival team - keep doing what you do - and artists, thanks for coming, it's been great having you.

To my wife, put the kettle on - I'm coming home.


Bravo, and cries of 'Author!', Shawn. Talk about uneasy, with all these artists in town.

They are so very unpredictable, and it weren't so long ago (1660), Theatre and shows were banned.

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