Went to Forest Fringe last night and it was sweeeeeeet. I got to apologise to Andy for being a twat at least 3 or 4 times, and I discovered by new favourite thing in the history of everything: Sam Halmarack and the Miserablites. (I find it’s easier to remember if you call them Sam Allardyce and the Mysterons though. Just a wee tip for you there.)
After a first half of Augusto Corrieri (nice slides, nice voice, nice delivery - a thinky thing about inside and outside and space and negative space and big grand empty theatres very unlike The Gate) and Dan Canham (excellent use of masking tape and FUCKING INCREDIBLE EXORCIST FINGERS), I felt a bit chilled out and therapised and not at all like sitting through some theatre-maker’s fucking musical side-project. Darling, I grew out of gigs yahs ago.
And then, almost inevitably, it was the greatest thing ever ever ever EVER. I can’t say too much for fear of being the cock who tells you Bruce Willis is dead from the start, but Sam
Allardyce and the Mysterons Halmarack and the Miserablites are easily one of the best bands I’ve seen since, oooh… even since before I stopped going to see bands. Which sounds flippant but I don’t mean it to be. His voice completely broke my heart at least twice.
When I left the pub afterwards I started thinking again about the community that Forest Fringe has helped to grow. It’s absolutely true that it exists and that artists presenting new work under their banner can be confident that they’ll see friendly faces looking back at them. Last night I was intellectually challenged by Augusto Corrieri, then absolutely in awe of Dan Canham and how his body moves in UNBELIEVABLE ways, but it wasn’t until Sam Halmarack that an audience turned into a bunch of mates. I guess it’s a form thing. In the original review/preview that Lyn Gardner wrote last week, it was her line about the traditional relationship between spectator and performer that made me wonder about inclusivity and cliqueyness and all that shit. Maybe the impression I had got of Forest Fringe as some sort of private members’ club for performers on the bread-line comes not from FF as an organisation, but simply because the nature of the work they are programming expects an audience to involve themselves. Of course people are going to get to know one another if they have a common goal, a shared task, a game to play. That’s why we played Blocky-Off on the first day I joined the Brownies. That’s why we had to do group venue research in fresher’s week three years ago. That’s why museums are good for first dates.
IT’S ALL SO OBVIOUS NOW.
PS: You should go to Sam Halmarack’s tumblr because it’s ace.