Last night of the Fringe

13 October, Common Room and Commoners Green
Fringe in the 'Stings
Helma van den Berg

A welcome from the seated doorman, the event wall calendar slashed with SOLD OUT above the obliging women selling last minute tickets and explaining the many ‘Commons’: Green, Little & Room.

Velvet curtain peeks to check on the laughter then “shush” at the bar: “show in progress”.

Waves of people on-the-hour as venues change over the 26 performances over three days and nights.

By 8.30 we settle into the cabaret room, brick walled, iron roofed and skylit, having followed the light trail via the back exit.

There’s a buzz for “Songs Unsung”, the table shuffle of greeting and seating, a plunge of guitar … but the stage is empty ?

Stretch begins in the centre, testing out new songs. With confident banter we are invited to comment via the yellow ‘post-its’ on the tables. “Write your own lines!”, some yell them out. We are engaged and delighted.

Onto the stage and singing from lyrics hand written on A3 sheets, a cello joins in – Cedric c.1787 – in the mistress hands of Paula Sugden (ex NZSO).

Jaws drop to this ancient sound in duet with voice and guitar, the volume cranking up as Joe Dobson hits his drumkit (thanks Anissa).

This is a class act, confident lyrics and voices, master musicians, well-rehearsed and much loved. Take it on tour people, record again, for you are fabulous and we were transported.

The ‘Stings, it as Amsterdam or San Fran, a brick walled stage in the back streets of Hastings.

As I leave, a kindly gent checks that we get to our cars safely…Cheers mate.

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