Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Music: Striggio and Tallis: Music in 40 Parts

I Fagiolini

Conducted by Robert Hollingworth
Perth Concert Hall
February 27, 2012

In a way I’m glad that Robert Hollingworth and his I Fagiolini chose Senfl’s silly little Glaut zu Speyer, complete with clockwork arm movements, as the encore after their astounding performance of polyphonic masterpieces from the sixteenth century, anchored by two pieces for 40 parts, Allesandro Striggio’s Missa ‘Ecco si beato giorno’ and Thomas Tallis’s famous Spem in alium.
Perhaps Hollingworth deliberately tempers his approach to music of such transcendent beauty by keeping things fairly light-hearted around the edges. If he hadn’t, I would have been a danger on the roads, such is its power to take you up and away.
Apart from praising all the musicians who contributed to this wonderful evening, Hollingworth and the eight perfect voices in I Fagiolini, Joseph Nolan and the admirable St George’s Cathedral Consort Choir, Paul Wright and his fine instrumentalists (many of whom I assume were from UWA’s School of Music) and the sublime cornetto player Gawain Glenton, I freely confess I’m not capable of seriously analysing this music or the technical quality of this performance.
So let’s be a little frivolous about it too. Despite its beauty, and the high religious tone of its subject matter, there is something very playful and wide-eyed about this music. These guys were the Brian Wilsons of their day, stumbling on the Renaissance version of stereo and, like the Beach Boys’ genius, going for it for all they were worth. I’ve no doubt the music was an uplifting spiritual experience and a vital copasetic to its first listeners (anything that could take your mind of smallpox and poisoners would have to be), but it was also designed to stimulate their dull sublunary senses in the right here and now, even as it opened a window to the hereafter. The pulse of the sound, its sweeping panorama, the erogenous, logical pleasure of forty voices singing forty different parts coming back together for the Amen.
It’s an orgy in the ears, and the Good Vibrations of its era. If God was Walt Disney, and Heaven was in Anaheim, this would be the music playing in Fantasylandl.

Here's Robert Hollingworth to explain it properly:
And you can link here to Big Bill Yeoman's take in The West.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Theatre: Driving Into Walls

By Suzie Miller
Barking Gecko Theatre Company
Directed and designed by John Sheedy
Featuring Harrison Elliott, Michael Smith, Rikki Bremner, Thalia Livingstone and Matthew Tupper
The Studio Underground, State Theatre Centre
February 25 – March 3
pic: Jon Green
Last year, I called another show about alienated youth in Western Australia, Reg Cribb’s The Damned, memorable and unlovely, and that’s also an apt description of John Sheedy and Suzie Miller’s collaboration on Driving into Walls.
Cribb’s essentially fictional story drew on a number of real-life stories from around Australia, while Driving into Walls is the result of interviews and workshop exercises with 500 young people from around the state. It tells their private stories, about the perils and pitfalls of 21st century life for young people, in their own words.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Theatre: Atishoo

Directed by Rachel Riggs
Performed by Anne Marie Biagioni and Adam Bennett
Subiaco Arts Centre Studio
Until March 3

The great “Muse of Fire” speech that begins Shakespeare’s Henry V – on our minds because of Propeller’s mighty production at The Maj – is an exhortation to the imagination of its audience: “Think, when we talk of horses/That you see them printing their proud hoofs in the receiving earth.”
That extension of the imagination is the great promise of the theatre, perhaps the primary reason it continues to beguile us in the face of film and other media far better able to represent reality. It’s more than simply the “willing suspension of disbelief”; it’s the positive benefit of the work our minds do to imagine a world complete from the poor scraps put before us on the stage.
That power, and the benefit it brings, was never clearer to me than at a moment in DNA’s wonderful little Atishoo. A tiny girl near me was watching the show’s performer, Anne Marie Biagioni, and puppeteer, Adam Bennett, waving sheets on the floor and above an outsize tissue box while they swayed back and forth. She turned to her mum and asked, “Is that the sea?” There was a few seconds’ silence, and then she exclaimed, triumphantly, “It IS the sea!” What marvels had happened to her in those few seconds when she, maybe for the first time in her life, realised that something could be something else, if you imagined it. I later found out she was all of two and a half years old.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Theatre: Henry V

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Edward Hall
Designed by Michael Pavelka
His Majesty’s Theatre
Until February 25
I’ll keep this brief. This is the best Henry V I’m ever likely to see; Propeller give the story of the Hero King of Agincourt an adrenal, turbo-charged energy that would be nigh-on impossible to improve on. In return, nothing in Shakespeare or elsewhere is better suited to the company’s rambunctious, open style; I’d love to see them do Macbeth or, especially, Julius Caesar, but if I had to choose, this is the play for them.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Theatre: Raoul

Designed, directed and performed by James Thiérrée
Regal Theatre
Until February 26
 He was lithe, charming, physically articulate, delectably funny and achingly sad-eyed. His wordless imagination knew no limits. He remains the performer nonpareil of our times. He was Charlie Chaplin.
James Thiérrée, whose Raoul is here for PIAF until February 26, is Chaplin’s grandson, and he’s inherited – perhaps it’s fairer to say has – many of pop’s skills and qualities.
Thiérrée has consummate skills as an acrobat, a dancer and an aerialist – his flying, on different apparatus, is joyfully beautiful to behold. He moves in slow motion as well as I’ve ever seen, his mime is rapid, loose-limbed and accurate. The sight gags are marvellously concocted, the out-sized animal puppets (designed and made by Thiérrée’s mother, Victoria) ingenious, the production elements tasteful and spectacularly executed.    
I enjoyed it all, and I greatly admired his skill, but at one hour 40 minutes, Raoul is too long for its frame, maybe half an hour too long. Thiérrée got a spontaneous standing ovation at the end, and I don’t begrudge him the accolade. For all its undoubted qualities, though, Raoul couldn’t quite get me to my feet.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian 

Theatre: Pollyanna

Weeping Spoon Productions
Directed by Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd and Tim Watts
Designed by Poppy Van Oorde-Grainger and Alissa Jane Claessens
Created by the cast and crew
The Treasury 
16 - 19 February, 2012

Tim Watts and crew
I don’t normally take instructions from the producers before reviewing a show, but in the case of Pollyanna, the latest project of the Tim Watts/ Arielle Gray (Alvin Sputnik) clan, it seemed the only appropriate thing to do.
So, with their permission, I can tell you that lovely Pollyanna Smith never makes it to her sixteenth birthday party. Dead. Murdered. The police come to the door with the terrible news. Then, to the horror of all and sundry, they arrest the son of Mayor Arthur Dobson and haul him away for questioning.
I went with them, because I’m a cop too. 

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Theatre: The Winter's Tale

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Edward Hall
Designed by Michael Pavelka
His Majesty’s Theatre
Until February 25

It’s a bonus, this late tale of William Shakespeare, here in a gorgeous looking, beautifully spoken and often riotously staged production by the English company, Propeller.
The bonus is perhaps also the reason The Winter’s Tale doesn’t rank higher among Shakespeare’s plays, despite containing some of his finest writing and most vivid characters: it’s really two short plays yoked together, worlds apart in style and substance. The good news is that Propeller revels in their differences, and does both more than justice.

Theatre: Persians

by Aeschylus, translated by Aaron Poochigian
Happy Dagger and Little y theatre companies
Directed by Andrew Hale
Performed by Christie Sistrunk, Austin Castiglione, Maitland Schnaars, Leon Osborn, Helen Angell, Lynsey Trench, Megan Moir, Ellen O’Connor and Laura Hopwood
Designed by Sarah Affleck
Lighting designed by Joe Lui
Music by Adam Burges, performed by The Men from Another Place
15 - 19 February, 2012

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of The Persians, the tragedy of the rout of the navy and army of Xerxes the Great by the Greeks at Salamis. The oldest surviving play, it gives us the first insight into the consciousness of mankind as expressed by theatre. Told by an exact contemporary (Aeschylus fought at both Salamis and, some years earlier, the epochal battle of Marathon) it is also the first surviving example of drama’s unique ability to frame events and personalities. It may also be the first surviving example of propaganda.
There’s no denying, too, that as the eyes of the world turn anxiously to the most recent inheritors of Xerxes’ domain – and, ironically and for different reasons, to his Greek enemies – the chroniclers and dramatisers of ancient empires and the conduct of their affairs hold a distant mirror to us and our times.
Persians, a new translation by the American scholar and poet Aaron Poochigian, does a fine job maintaining the gravitas of Greek tragedy with just enough contemporary rhythm and idiom to allow the ancient work to work for a modern audience.

Link here  to the complete review in The West Australian 

Theatre: …miskien

Written by Tara Louise Notcutt, Albert Pretorius and Gideon Lombard
Directed by Tara Louise Notcutt
Performed by Albert Pretorius and Gideon Lombard
15 - 19 February 19

Gideon Lombard
A little way into this powerful drama of dead-end lives and male bonding in modern South Africa, I realised that I had never heard Afrikaans spoken in conversation. There is much about ordinary lives in that great country, our neighbour but for 8000 kms of ocean, that are hidden from us by the enormous events that have swirled around it.
We know Mandela, but do we know Layton (Gideon Lombard) and Cormac (Albert Pretorius) the two Capetown 25-year-old office workers whose workaday world and relationship is the story of the play? As it turns out, we know them very well, because they are our lives as well.
Hilarious and awfully sad, …miskien is one of the highlights of the Fringe.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Concert: Faustian Pact

Silver Alert and Micki Pellerano
The Festival Gardens
February 14, 2012

Hey! What's Lenny doing here?
A technical hitch delayed the start of Faustian Pact, leading the Breath of Fresh Air that is new PIAF artistic director Jonathan Holloway to bound down the line reassuring us that all would be well and that “twenty years from now we’ll look back on this and laugh”. Well. It’s only the next morning, and I’ve already got the giggles.
Not since the infamous Motorhead gig at the White Sands back in the '80s that had the crowd’s jeans flapping* has such a noise been directed at a paying audience in Perth.
When it was over, there was embarrassed silence, punctuated only by that strange yelping sound made, I assume in approbation, by people who know members of the cast.
An unforgettable evening.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian.

*On the unimpeachable authority of  the immortal Johnny Leopard, who flapped a few jeans himself.

Theatre: Virgie

Written and performed by Renee Newman-Storen
Directed by Mark Storen and Emily Mclean
Blue Room Theatre
Until February 10

Renee Newman-Storen had little to go on when she brought Virgie Vivienne to the stage; an uncertain birth date sometime in the 1870’s, scraps of reviews and stories (including one in this newspaper’s edition of 24 September, 1898), an interview, decades later, with an old lady who remembers, when she was a girl, being taught drama by her in Adelaide. Virgie dies, destitute, in that city in 1940.
From these bits and pieces Newman-Storen imagines a courageous, resilient and ingenious woman and the tough lives she and those she came across lived. 

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian.

Theatre: The Year of Magical Wanking

Neil Watkins
Metcalfe Theatre
8 – 11 February, 2012
The Irish actor and playwright Neil Watkins’ Fringe Festival tour de force has subject matter I suspect would violently discombobulate the mature, worldly, open-minded folk who are packing the Spiegeltent for ostensibly risqué shows like Meow Meow and the Wau Waus.
So why is this a candidate for best show at this year’s enormous Perth Fringe? Because, simply, it’s a beautifully written, directed and performed work in the great tradition of Irish theatre and literature.

Link here to my review in The West Australian, and here to my wrap of Fringe World 2012 

Theatre: Super Night Shot

Gob Squad
Featuring Mat Hand, Erik Pold, Sarah Thom and Simon Will
Sound design and mix by Jeff McGrory and Sebastian Bark
 STC Studio Underground
10 - 13 February, 2012

Gob Squad have a manifesto, and Super Night Shot makes its point very effectively: they claim they are waging war on anonymity, that each of us is not just one more face in the crowd, “easy to replace and easy to forget in a town that doesn’t really need us”. Their mission is to make anonymous people randomly encountered into stars.
And that’s the secret of this unique little show. Really nothing extraordinary happens, nothing (at least not this night) profound gets said, yet there’s an energy, a style and, somehow, a point to it all. In a month when the people of Perth have taken to the streets in the pursuit of art in massive, potentially history-making numbers, it’s great to have the Gob Squad here to catch us at it.  

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Theatre: Beautiful Burnout

by Bryony Lavery
Frantic Assembly and the National Theatre of Scotland
Directed and choreographed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett
Featuring the music of Underworld
With Blythe Duff, Kevin Guthrie, Eddie Kay, Vicki Manderson, Stuart Martin, Taqi Nazeer and Ewan Stewart  
ABC East Perth Studios
10 - 25 February, 2012

Eddie Kay, Taqi Nazeer, Vicki Manderson and Kevin Guthrie
We stood on the pavement outside the ABC’s East Perth Studios wiping our eyes and gasping for breath. The cause of this disruption to our emotional equilibrium was the mighty Beautiful Burnout, the collaboration between the National Theatre of Scotland and Frantic Assembly, the company of directors Scott Graham and Steven Hogget that anchors this year’s PIAF theatre programme.
I only hope that the rest of Jonathan Holloway’s first festival has other shows as good as this. It will have none better.
If sport is devilishly hard to fictionalise on film – perhaps boxing and baseball are the only games to produce a body of satisfying cinema – you’d be forgiven for believing it was impossible to bring to the live stage. It’s the miracle of Beautiful Burnout that the muscularity, discipline and beauty of training and sparring, and, eventually, the peril and violence of the prize fight, come to life with an intensity and authenticity of unparalleled effectiveness. 

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

Theatre: The White Divers of Broome

by Hilary Bell
Directed by Kate Cherry

Featuring Caitlin Beresford-Ord, Adriane Daff, Kylie Farmer, Michelle Fornasier, Stuart Halusz, Sean Hawkins, Yutaka Izumihara, Miyuki Lotz, Kenneth Moraleda, Jo Morris, Greg McNeill, Tom O’Sullivan and Ian Toyne  
Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre
February 1 - 16, 2012

For the second consecutive year, Kate Cherry’s Black Swan State Theatre Company begins its season, and makes its contribution to the Perth Festival, with a sprawling tale of one of the skeletons in the closet of Australian history.
This is a good thing. For all its faults, at least last year’s Boundary Street shed some light on the strained relationship between Australian civilians and US servicemen during World War II.
Hilary Bell’s The White Divers of Broome does the same for the strange, exotic boom that drove the Kimberley town of Broome from its foundation in 1883 well into the 20th century.
It’s a cracking story and powerful, instructive history. But whether it makes for great theatre is another question.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Theatre: Fringe World

Thanks to the nice folks at Artrage, Turnstiles got to take the Perth Fringe head on – twenty-nine shows between January 30 and February 16! I was never going to make them all but, aided by a vow of alcohol abstinence for the month, I managed a commendable twenty-two (plus a few PIAF shows). Some of my loyal handbags took up the slack when I faltered, and I'll shamelessly claim their insights as my own.So here follows  micro-reviews of those shows for your interest and information, along with links to full reviews in the West Australian and from other sources.
Let's start with three strong productions, two local, one South African, that closed out the fringe: the terrific and touching ...miskien (link here to my review in The West)  and the fresh and interesting Persians (link here  to my review in The West)  I also had a whale of a time at Pollyannathe latest outing by the crew that brought the world Alvin Sputnik link here  to my review of that one in The West. 
There is much to be said for deep conviction, and the British playwright Richard Fry, whose The Ballad of the Unbeatable Hearts is a fantasy on the wasted potential of young gay suicides, has it in spades. It's inspiring, if sometimes a little uncomfortable, to be exposed to such passionate commitment, especially when the piece (all in verse) spins off into increasingly wild speculation of a golden future age of love and kindness led by these same, lost kids, had they lived. I can't say it always worked for me, but you have to admire the attempt, and Fry's intense, heart-felt performance.  

I spent an enthralling hour at (or, more correctly, in) Proximity at the Blue Room, seeing (that's not exactly correct either) four of the twelve performances that make up this one-on-one experience. The pieces I saw, Russya Connor's How Close Do You Want MeNikki Jones's Ush and Them and Fragmentation 1.2 by Hellen Russo each affected me differently and posed different questions: as an audience member, are you an onlooker or a participant, do you acquiesce or respond, do you go where you're led or find your own path? Are you a judge? Are you a voyeur? All of which set me up for Janet Carter and Flush, where I played some brilliant hands of poker, but only after it was too late. 
Another Blue Room innovation for the fringe was New Two, a series of two-hander vignettes that concludes with performances on Feb 18. The three short pieces I saw last week, an extended skit called Oh, What a Busy Day by Siobhan Crabb and Isabella Moore, an undeveloped idea by Trushna Mahisuri and Michelle Sowden and an interesting, but barely-formed, work by Madelaide Paige and Renee Stanstall, seemed more an opportunity for some young talent to strut their stuff than a concerted and curated attempt to provide a genuine entertainment.      
Frisky & Mannish
The British duo Laura Corcoran and Matthew Floyd Jones have quickly become royalty in the new genre of fringe-pop, taking their Frisky & Mannish franchise to sell-out success around the world. The season of their third show, re-titled and somewhat localised for Aussie audiences, Pop Centrelink was no exception. It's loud, fast, supersmart and tight as a fish's arse (in the best possible way), so if you want to learn how to have a career in pop and see the next monster boy band created in front of your eyes, sign up now!
The retired salt who brought us Eric's Tales of the Sea – a Submariner's Yarn tells stories of his days beneath the rolling main that are amusing, and certainly interesting, enough. Whether they constitute comedy, though, is a nice point. They're more like an after dinner speech ("Go on, Eric, tell us about the time you jumped on a shark's back, mate!") than a performance you'd pay to see, at least without the aforesaid dinner first. Still, good on him – and the two other retired submariners in the room; I wouldn't do what he did, and is doing, for quids. 
Meow Meow
Nothing I could say would discourage Fringe dwellers from packing the Spiegeltent  for Meow Meow in Feline Intimate, and I haven't the slightest inclination to burst her ever-expanding bubble. The multilingual WAAPA and Melbourne Uni law graduate and now international cabaret star gleefully subverts the genre she celebrates in a sly rather than slick performance of high sexy quality. I've got the same reservation as others of my ilk (it's a longing rather than a criticism, really); she's such a fine, emotionally intelligent singer, of her own songs and others', that one day it would be nice to see her throw away the lingerie and gagging and just do some tunes.
The busy LA comedy trio of Richard Maritzer, Patrick Hercamp and Ryan Adam Wells, trading under the name Sound & Fury, bring Doc Faustus, their spoof-pastiche of the Faust legend and the Western movie genre, to the Metcalfe for an extended fringe season. They, like it, are amiable, seasoned and smart, but the show is hardly life-changing, and not nearly funny enough to justify its self-proclaimed soullessness. Both the Western and Faust spoofs sort of work, but only sort of, and their juxtaposition brings precious little new to the table.
You can hardly bear to look at Evelyn (Summer Williams) and Polly (Ian Bolgia), the sisters whose excoriating mutual loathing and dependancy is at the core of Polly's Waffle. The characters are display homes for society's obsession with pornography and gluttony, and while the show's limited vocabulary inevitably becomes somewhat repetitive and tedious, the energy of the incendiary Williams and Bolgia never flags.
Renee Newman-Storen had little but scraps of reviews and stories to go on when she brought the life of the forgotten Australian actor Virgie Vivienne to the Blue Room. From these bits and pieces Newman-Storen imagines a courageous, resilient and ingenious woman, and the tough lives she and those she came across lived. Virgie is a revealing look into our past that, unlike some other, bigger, productions, succeeds as entertainment as well as history. Link here to the complete review in The West.
Later in the Blue Room I saw Sleepyhead, a stilted and clumsily staged crime story set in an isolated farmhouse occupied by two girls and their abusive father. For all its maladroitness – and despite one irrelevant and unnecessary monologue that did nothing but leave you revulsed – it did develop a certain harrowing momentum, largely due to effective performances by Amy Murray and, especially, Louise Cocks, as the physically and emotionally damaged sisters.   
Neil Watkins

The Year of Magical Wanking at the Metcalfe is savage, obscene and confronting, and I hereby issue every warning about content imaginable, even for consenting adults.
So why is this a candidate for best show at this year’s fringe? Because, simply, it’s a beautifully written, directed and performed work in the great tradition of Irish theatre and literature. Composed entirely in verse, and recited with unhurried grace by Neil Watkins, the formal poetry of the language both undercuts and accentuates the sordid world it describes. Watkins’ spare elegance of physical expression – though his eyes tell a thousand stories – draws your attention to words and the cadence of his telling them with remarkable clarity and definition. His oratorical skill is so complete that for long periods you forget you are listening to a poem, until a beautifully placed rhyme or beat brings you back into the rhythm of the language. Link here to my complete review in The West.
There's not many comedians can claim to have changed the world, but Josh Earl, in his own small way, has done just that. As he explains in Josh Earl vs The Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book, his agitation played some part in the re-issuing of this towering cultural icon. In sixty minutes of tender, nostalgic humour and song, the baby-faced Earl explains why the book was and is important to him, and all of us. There were dollops of recognition and remembrance among with lashings of laughter in The Spiegeltent as Earl took us through every cake in this precious, irreplaceable bible of Australian childhood and parenthood. Link here to Craig McKough's take on F & M and Josh Earl in The West.       
There’s a line in Jane Raitt’s Checkout – the Musical that aptly sums up the show. It came 60 minutes in, from Rhoda Lopez: “We’ve been here for hours – I want out!”. Never was a truer word spoken.
Incredibly, this truly mind-numbing spectacle meandered on for another 40 minutes in the Treasury Postal Hall. What, at best, might have made a skit in an undergraduate review had somehow blown out into a full-blown chamber musical (it’s about various bizarre shenanigans at a supermarket, but you really don’t need to know). At least incredulity keeps you awake.
We hurtled bitterly towards the Treasury Cabaret and our date with Odette Mercy’s Heartbreak Dance those 40 minutes late. What a shame. Mercy is an engaging host, and the songs and stories her guests told of heartbreakers, the heartless and heartbroken were as stylish as they were varied. Particular highlights were the Adele-style belter from Clare Nina Norelli and a gorgeously bent, whimsically illustrated tale of schoolyard obsession and rejection from Briony Stewart.
Next up was Dirk Darrow NCSSI, the private detective spoof by comedian and magician Tim Motley – a winner from start to finish. Motley looks like Brad Pitt playing Maxwell Smart and sounds like Lionel Hutz, and he, and we, had tons of fun with the genre and the sly sounding-board it gave him for observations about his native America, his adopted Australia and the audience members he gently victimised.
Back into the Treasury Cabaret for The Burlesque Garden. Sadly, you could see the performers’ heads – just – over the people in front of you, but at a burlesque show that rather, um, misses the point. Some overbearing, unfunny introductions by MC Lady Velvet Cabaret didn’t help matters much. Link here for the full story of my Treasury marathon.
The real half-brothers who, as the fictional half-brothers Fletcher Jones and Roger David, make up Smart Casual may not exactly be Australia’s answer to Flight of the Conchords, but they give it a red hot go. Their show, Brothers with Arms, also at the Metcalfe, was funny, polished and affecting. Great songs too.
Link here and here to Belle Taylor’s reviews of both Doc Faustus and Brothers with Arms in The West. 
  The LA-based comedy writer Brian Finkelstein's (Ellen, The Moth LA) stories of the three strikes he participated in - at a Pepsi plant, a Ralph's supermarket and, most famously, the Hollywood writer's strike of 2007/8 – are hilarious, sardonic yet surprisingly sincere. Surprising only because, like Larry David, he decidedly doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve, but it's in good working order throughout. His occasional forays into the history of U.S. strikes may go over a few heads, but back in the here and now, Three Strikes at PICA was a winner from go to whoa.  
The talented actor James Helm and director Michael McCall do their level best, but Missing, at the Blue Room, lacked both accuracy and engagement. No-one says you have to like Jack Murphy, the play's supposedly homeless anti-hero, but you've got to feel something for him. Basically, he's a boring wanker, and I was glad to be finished with him.
I was sorry to hand my copper's badge from Pollyanna in (and along with it, metaphorically, my Fringe World media pass). The whole fringe festival, often good, occasionally bad and very rarely ugly,  was an unpredictable adventure I’ve greatly enjoyed being on. It was great to see that, judging by the crowds pouring in and out of venues and enjoying the fringe watering holes (if only), I was far from alone.