Save the date 2021 Festival 21-31 October

Jenny and I were booked in to watch The Brave, a show I'd heard a lot about. I heard that I'd be moved, that it was emotional, that I may in fact cry. I pulled out a tissue each for Jenny and I as the lights dimmed. Along from us sat cast member Jonny's supporters, family who'd travelled from The South.

As Jonny opened with the delivery of his ‘Dear Dad’ letter from a quiet spot on stage, I heard zips unlocking their teeth and the stifled rustle for something to dab the eyes with. Two seats over, I couldn't imagine the feeling of pride erupting inside that a parent would undoubtedly experience at that moment.

The Brave took me on a journey of self-worth and discovery through the excruciatingly honest tales told. The heroism on stage defined in a perpetual lump that sat in my throat, peeping out from the balcony of my tonsils. The tears that began to blanket my eyes were caught from their fall with the onset of humour. The lump was stilled but the net had been cast and a profound lingering of emotion lay heavy and deep.

This show was something to be proud of, not only for the cast and crew, but for Aotearoa as a whole. Role modelling of behaviour in its most purest form. And to experience the post-show forum, with the audience expressing gratitude to a humbled cast and crew was a little extra slice of rich chocolate cake on top of a damn fine meal. The sentiment that lingered was that every high school student in New Zealand should experience The Brave and I whole-heartedly concur, as I wanted to thank each member with a hug for their courage and strength.

I left Baycourt Theatre to the rattle of the flagpole in the wild spring winds, echoing each emotion in my mind that resonated in my heart. The imprint etched deep like a tattoo, with the parting knowledge that everybody has their story, their journey… and you cannot take that from them.

Breathe… damp tissue discarded, thoughts collected, a sneaky wee whiskey and I was off to the Crystal Palace for Nine Mile Stone. Surprise, surprise, I’d spotted my old high school drama teacher who was spouting on about the excellence of The Brave, the stellar performance of Knee Deep and highly anticipating a great set from the band. It has only been day 2 and I’m not the only one that’s been enthralled.

Nine Mile Stone was the perfect wee note to finish my night on. I even text Jenny to ditch her friends and come back. Obligingly, she pulled up beside me with a beer and a smile. It was our friendship anniversary, we’d met at the last Arts Festival in the same venue and this band was ideal for marking our event.

I closed my eyes for a bit, just to soak in the sound. There were hints of Boy & Bear with a Celtic undertone and at times, the feeling of a quaint rock lullaby. I just wanted to cruise down the South Island roads on a summer’s day in an old convertible, road tripping… blasting their music into the wind. The crowd felt the same, as people reciprocated their appreciation by dancing before the band.

A highlight was the young backup singer. Her voice sauntered through the air like a wisp of smoke furling in the crack of light of a darkened room. It crept into my head and just as I thought that impression stood still, the notes she picked up were smooth highs and lows like green lines on a heart monitor; smokey, bluesy and unbelievably good.

To my left, my drama teacher tapped his fingers in the air and to my right Jenny was immersed deep in a head nod while I was quietly singing along. Another night carved into my memory bank with absolute admiration.

Outfit of choice: Black pencil skirt, accidentally purchased Turret Knuefermann top and Piper Lane blazer both from Sisters & Co, bright Jessica Simpson pumps from DSW and a black Asos clutch.

Love ‘I Got To Hang Out With The Cast Of The Brave And Knee Deep’ NJ

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