I hardly saw thee… [by James Wenley]
Last night the Auckland Fringe Festival closing night was partied away in exuberant style to a live Swing band, after the awards had been handed out, in the stunning Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent in Aotea Square. The Spiegeltent was a ‘loan’, of sorts, from the Mumma Auckland Arts Festival. Whereas the prestigious Arts Festival (one week left!) provides for amazing local and international work on the larger stages, Auckland Fringe, over the last 2+ weeks, seems to have taken over every possible remaining venue (and non-venue) and delivered work that was intimate, thrilling and bafflingly unexpected. Auckland: We’ve got talent.
Tim Balme, representing South Pacific Studios in handing out the Fringe performance awards, had the quote of the night – “Without Fringe there would be no edge, and with no edge, things would get soft in the middle”. Well, it seemed profound at the time. Mark Burlace from Mamma Festival said that the two festivals have “united this city”. Fringe Festivals the world over are one of the main training grounds for performing talent. Having so much other work on at the same time can be both a blessing and a curse, and you’ll quickly learn how to swim, and hopefully not sink (or at least move to the shallow end of the Parnell Baths!).