Fringe in the ‘Stings / 11 October 2019 / By Bridie Freeman
It’s amazing how in one venue, a few velvet curtains, a guarded door can so neatly compartmentalise and shapeshift demographics. In the main space of Common Room, there’s a sea of grey hair in the grip of political satire, while in the garden bar out back younger folk smoke, chat, wriggle up to make room around the brazier, as Spooky Skeletons tune up to “tell some stories” – a gal on a banjo, two guys, two guitars. Dark and stormy, murderous blues, in the vein of The Dead South.
Meanwhile inside Tessa Waters (we love you, Tessa Waters) is pulling on a pair of Kmart tights and a silver sequined, foxy lady leotard for her endearing body-positive comedy show Womanz – Art in your face, stage craft, suspense (“What’s happening?”). We’ll laugh til our cheeks hurt, celebrate each other’s dance moves, learn how to transform a walk of shame into the walk of motherfucking glory, how to die of love (hand on crotch) and that happiness can be a giant pair of golden tits coming at you.
In the late-night slot, and a last-minute rush on tickets, the main stage is reclaimed by local musos for a very cool, intimate hip-hop collaboration Conversations with Drums. Anissa, Joe, Willie, Arahai and Lorenzo offer up beautiful, mesmerising versions of J Dilla’s ‘Fall in Love’, ‘All Things to All Men’ (Cinematic Orchestra and Roots Manuva), and Erykah Badu’s “it’s bigger than religion” song ‘The Healer’, amongst others.
In between there are dance performances by the Fudan Drama Troupe from Shangai where the bagpipes usually play down at the Pipe Band Hall, a six-pack of stand-up comedians from Wellington on the corner, and more body positivity with Squirt (see Thursday).
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