By Elizabeth Bean

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A problem with living in Nelson is that there’s always too many cultural events on at any one time. But my real beef is with the Fringe Festival which put on 13 workshops and 35 shows over nine days. What is a girl to do when there is only 24 hours in a day, and competing for time there’s children, paid work, husband-care, volunteer stuff and the garden?

Fortunately, just before the Festival finished, I got myself sorted on Saturday and went to ‘Tales You Lose’ by That’s Enough Drama – a solo act by Gerard Harris, a Jewish British performer, who resides in Canada. His craft is comedy and story-telling.

I have a penchant for chatty people, and Harris is one of the chattiest performers I have seen for ages.

He was happy to talk to the audience for an hour about life, death, personal vignettes, the universe, as well as nothing at all.

The evening was funny in a ‘ha ha’ sort of way, rather than a side-splitting, or scholarly style. The humour ranged from the amusing ’knock-knock’ variety to personal anecdotes via political satire. I found the use of the f-word a bit tiresome, but Harris is not alone in this habit. Maybe I am getting old and prudish.

Harris indulged in self-deprecation, philosophical rumination, and some of his stories needed more practice. But that is why I go to Fringe shows – for something a bit different and developmental.

The nature of Fringe shows is that the theatre is experimental in style. If Harris was to repeat this performance, he could iron out the glitches, pauses and lost places. But then maybe it would lose its Fringe grunge.

This was my first time attending a show at Refinery ArtSpace, and what a great venue it is for this type of performance. The house was full (120 theatre-goers) and the atmosphere intimate. In my case, very intimate as we were seated about two metres from Harris. The audience had more younger members than the usual theatre going set in Nelson, and we all seemed to enjoy ourselves.

Something a bit different, at somewhere new, made for an entertaining Saturday night – and very good value at $12 a ticket.

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