The Fringe throws up lots of challenges. For the punters it’s trying to fathom the depth and breadth of a huge and confusing program with the times and places and artists and ideas and unusual venues and ticket prices. For the artists there is the challenge of doing it yourself -putting your money where your mouth (or heart) is and going for it: and a part of that is the brave and sometimes impossible act of balancing administration with art.

Earlier this year during the Mardi Gras, the ColourBlind Festival presented a series of works at Sidetrack Theatre. The works were a collage of ideas on sexual identity and was the starting point for Gavin Roach’s adventures into his one man show “Confessions of a Grindr Addict.”

Grindr is something I don’t know much about, for the reasons that I am not a gay male, nor do I own an iPhone. But if you are both a gay male and the owner of an iPhone – perhaps you know about it. From what I can gather it’s a blend between dating room chat site, facebook and a GPS. people can find out who is near them and who is on Grindr and ready to chat or hook up. It’s a more sophisticated and less chancey version of “beats” and does allow for a certain amount of screening in the chat function. So it’s a dating aid, essentially and from what I’ve seen (courtesy of friends) it seems quite flesh-focused and spontaneous and immediate… it’s been labeled a gay sex revolution and you read more about it here.

When I walk into the New Theatre on a Sunday night, I pretty much expect to be the only hetero woman in the audience – and that’s close to true – but there is an allure about “the confessional” which attracts all genders and orientation. Furthermore this is secret men’s business – and NOTHING is more fascinating than how men think about sex, and intimacy – and I am anticipating both.

I have been a fan of Gavin Roach since I met him in 2007 – he trained as an actor in Bathurst and upon realising the uniqueness of his own humour and his limited range “I can only really play myself” he leapt into the role of director. We’ve worked together on several projects – Spankers and 428 – but I have never seen him perform. Gavin is one of those people who should have his own TV shows. He’s brilliant at re-telling a story, having opinions, making stinging observations – if you imagine Graham Norton, but cuter and Aussie and a bit drier – well you’re close, but still so far away… add a bit of all the women from The View you’re getting closer. But really, if you ever want a truth bomb to be dropped on you whilst you are hyperventilating from laughter by someone who looks like they could be leading a kids camp – well Gavin’s really your only option. He should have his own show. He’s one in a million.

BUT… there is the odd occasion when someone who is hilarious in real life (cafes and pubs and on public transport) IS NOT hilarious on stage. Luckily this is not the case with Gavin. (Phew).

Confessions of a Grindr Addict starts with Felix on the phone quelling a torrent of relationship/life questions from a fairly demanding mother. Within a few moments Felix has bounced back into his own life and is very nervously preparing for his date… no it’s not a hook up – a proper date… an across the dinner table date. Over a bottle and a bit Felix tells us some stories from his encounters from the good the bad and the VERY WEIRD men he’s met with/chatted with on Grindr. There are colourful descriptions, momentary miming – it’s a gushing waterfall of metaphor and explicit description – not in a grimey way – but in a funny, candid way. I listened as the audience of adult men around me laughed knowingly, whispered to each other, nodding and sighing.

Gavin Roach knows this world. And his audience knows this world. And to see the two connect is truly what theatre is all about.

It could very easily just be a show of sex stories. Sure – who hasn’t got a few they could tell of misadventures. And lucky for us, the content is kept in our imagination – there is nothing nude, or cheap about the show. At the heart of this confession is a search for affection, but more than that – a search for intimate connection that goes beyond sex. In a final confession we hear the heart, not just the hormones speak – and without preaching, and without dissolving into being corny, we find a deeper layer – a sincere confession: a wish for love.

The effectiveness of simple storytelling is astounding, and I’m sure that Confessions of a Grindr Addict is sure to be a runaway, international success.