Can you have too much of a good thing when it comes to the Adelaide Fringe?
For me, the answer is yes.
Having been involved in every Fringe since 1988, (except 1992 while overseas), I have realised that the zest isn’t there to dive in and dedicate a month to frantically dashing about reviewing in a continuation of my decades-old role.
It’s not that I’m physically exhausted. According to Stanford psychiatry professor Anna Lembke, the likely cause is “too much of a good thing”.
In her fascinating book, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence, she explains how we start getting less and less “reward” from things that normally stimulate us (pure Fringe entertainment), if we have too much.
There’s a video, below, that explains more of this, but for this critic and performer, it makes perfect sense.
Back in the years up to 2007, when the Fringe was bi-annual, there was much pent up anticipation and energy.
Today, it feels more like a colourful meat grinder (vegan meat substitute, I should note); churning out it’s usual fare to keep the well-oiled economic machinery ticking over.
So, to reclaim love and passion for the Fringe, I am sitting this one out and will return in 2025, ready to go.
Apologies to the artists who love getting our reviews and using them in their marketing; this pause is for the greater good, to make sure this completely voluntary effort can sustain itself with the passion that has driven it for 30+ years.
– Steve Davis