I love Fringe Festivals. This is my third time out to this Adelaide Fringe and as a former New Yorker and current Londoner there’s no place I rather be in February/March then drinking gin on a warm summer night after performing on The Best of the Edinburgh Fest with my two great and funny colleagues Danny O’Brien and Greg Burns. It never feels like work here. It feels like I’m in an ethereal dream and I don’t want to wake up.
What makes Fringe Festivals like Adelaide so enchanting is not the gigs and the location (Although they are stellar). It’s the unexpected moment you don’t see coming. What I like to call “Fringe Magic”. You’re going about your usual artist life and then, all of the sudden a great experience falls into your lap when you least expect it.
For instance, at our show in The Garden of Unearthly Delights I wound up chatting to a couple the audience who lived just 100 meters from me in New York City. For the ten years I lived there I bet we passed each other on the street daily. Yet it took coming to the other side of the world for us to meet. Fringe Magic. You don’t expect. You can’t plan it. It just happens to you.
A couple of weeks ago our show manager Frehd put together a late night hike up Mount Lofty. I had never been up the mountain before and to be honest, until she offered the hike, I didn’t even know it existed. It’s my habit here to head straight to the beach when I’m in South Australia; it never occurred to me to go inland.
On the night of the hike 20 Fringers met at 10:30pm to head into the darkness together. It was beautiful. From the top of the Mountain you could see the whole city lit up and on the way up and down we saw possums, spiders, and kangaroos. And the kangaroos got up close in personal. I consider myself a rather tough person. I don’t back down from much and people don’t fuck with me for the most part because I’m a broad shoulder lady with punk hair and general resting bitch face. (The bitch face is not on purpose. It’s just what I look like when I’m thinking.) At one point down the mountain our fearless leader Frehd yelled for everyone to stand to the right. I was in the back of the line and peered around my friends to see a Kangaroo standing right in the middle of the path baffled we were there. Ms. (or Mr.) Roo couldn’t go left or right around us as it was either a steep drop off or a load a brambles. So we stood there her looking at us and us looking at her.
I find kangaroos fascinating but scary. They’re cute but I’ve also been told they’re aggressive. And we never covered too fights in my high school Tae Kwon Do class so I don’t know where to begin to disarm them if one ever came after me. Would you go for the eyes? Maybe pull the tail? I didn’t want to find out. Neither did anyone else so we waited patiently for her to make the first move. Finally she hopped right past us, nearly knocking half the group over when she thought it a bit much and wanted to turn around. It was only when she had completely gone by that I realised in my fear I was clutching my buddy John Hasting (A very funny comedian with a solo show, Audacity and also on The Almighty Comedy Hour in Gluttony) for protection. I felt silly and embarrassed. What would he have done? Yes, he’s Canadian and knows more about wildlife than me but I don’t think he’s taken a Kangaroo Defence Class either. And if so, it’d be hard to fight them off with me wrapped around him like a damsel in distress. I learned two things in that moment. One: John’s my hero. Two: I’m a pussy.
On top of the mountain we sat looking over the city of Adelaide with a huge moon hanging above us. Frehd surprised up with a bottle of Champagne that we passed around as we marvelled at our surroundings. My friend Alison and I are two Bikram Yoga buffs and couldn’t resist trying to take a yoga picture in the setting as all yogis are want to do. We stumbled and giggled as we tried to rock bow-pose on a hill with heads full of bubbles. We got the shot. Because we’re legends.
Maybe I learned four things that night. One: John’s my hero. Two: I’m a pussy. Three: Yoga can happens no matter the circumstance. And four: Fringe Magic can occur in a venue or on top of a mountain. It comes down from the heavens and wraps itself around you like an old friend giveing you a hug. It’s inexplicable and the reason why Adelaide is the best place on earth to be right now.