Adelaide Fringe Reviews
Eventful Divas. Star Theatres.
Cole’s Girls is the brainchild of performers David Gauci and Michael Lindner. It is a dragtastic bastardisation of the music and lyrics of Cole Porter, with hilarious consequences!
Think Magda Szubanski’s character Lyn Postlethwaite from Fast Forward singing the hits of Cole Porter and your pretty much on the money here.
Lysa Nads (Lindner) and Leesa Alopecia are checkout chicks who have definitely checked out! The former is in love with herself and everything sex, the latter is emotionally overwhelmed by her weight issues and love for Lisa McCune and John Woods, but together they give each other purpose and meaning. When a chance opportunity arrives to audition as hosts of the newest up-and-coming game show, McCuneatunity, the girls jump at the chance.
With support from Josh Penley, Amy Hutchison and Sarah Laing, Gauci and Lindner couldn’t go wrong. This is their third tour of the production and the laughs were a plenty. Performed in the intimate cathedral venue of Star Theatres, this show is a night of hilarity, for the whole family – except perhaps those under 12 years. A fantastic performance by all not to be missed.
The Bird in the Guilded Cage
The Bird Cage
In her debut solo show, Pieta Farrell (aka 'Madame P') presents a tale of three female pysches discovering the realities of love; the innocence and unfulfilled expectations of first love, the emptiness and loneliness of the seductress, and the freedom of realization and acceptance.
The show attempts to capture the trials and tribulations experienced as a women explores her role in life.
Tackling some challenging and worthy material, it is clearly a very personal show that features some skillful contemporary dance. She performed admirably to an audience of eight.
Too often, however, it felt overly symbolic and cliched. The metaphor was suprisingly muddy - was she discovering the gilded cage or escaping it? Was it inner sanctuary or prison, or both?
The show included amateurist moments, such as an attempt at covering a long-winded costume change with sultry shadowing behind a sheet, and was choreographically repetitive and uninspired. There are only so many ways to swing off an oversized bird cage and over the hour we saw them all. Multiple times.
The talents of her musical accompaniment in violionist Jodi Ludwig-Moore rate a mention. During the many dull moments in the show, one found the eye drawn to her presence in the background. Her accomplished added much needed depth.
In conclusion one feels for the bird in this cage, but it's song doesn't resonate.
Ross Noble – Things
If in need of proof that Ross Noble possesses one of the best reputations a comedian can ask for, then look no further than the rock star welcome he receives as he bounds on to the stage of the Thebarton Theatre. His appearance is met by wolf whistling and riotous applause from an audience pumped purely on anticipation and love for the man.
While able to fill any space on personality alone, Noble performs against the impressive backdrop of what one can imagine might be the inner comedian - a giant inflatable four-headed, winged and tentacled beast bearing his likeliness.
The best possible warning to those easily offended comes from the man himself: the show will, in all likelihood, "take a trip to wrong town". But it's a trip you definitely want to be on. One ridiculously funny anecdote tumbles into another as he pulls the audience deeper into his crazy and random world. If Noble's shows give an insight into the workings of his mind, it's a scary place!
His comedy style re-defines ad-lib as he appears to work mostly off heckles and the seat of his pants, with hilariously unpredictable results. The line between his random musings and any planned material is so brilliantly blurred you'll be at intermission before you've noticed the show has started. And apart from realising it’s half over, you won't mind because neck-deep in an unplanned rant is Noble at his side-splitting best.
The master of obscure tangents, he starts more trains of thought then he finishes but does return every now and then to tie a story off. His ability to somehow link absurdly unrelated threads from the show will have you clutching your side as you wipe the tears from your eyes. The haphazard direction of his performance might be annoying if it wasn't so damn funny.
Michael Jackson stays on heavy rotation throughout, as some of the only obviously pre-conceived material. His solo rendition of the Twilight film produced peals of laughter and huge applause. A reckless encore Q&A at the close of the show invites danger and showcases just how confident Noble is of his ability to match the best of hecklers and produce a joke from the lamest of non-starters.
Sending you away, cheeks cramped and armed with classic advice like "don't shag your Gran", Ross Noble's Things is - to quote his mid-show dialogue with an unmasked critic - simply the best value comedy around.
Tripod versus the Dragon
Triumphant strains herald Tripod’s entry to the stage of the Royalty Theatre for the start of their latest show, Tripod versus the Dragon. Centred on an afternoon session of Dungeons and Dragons (an old-school fantasy role-playing game still infamously popular in the world of nerd), Scod, Yon and Gatesy take us on a mythical adventure encompassing underground dungeons, oddball magicians, orc battles and unconventional love.
On this tour the Tripod boys gain a fourth leg in the form of special guest and jazz vocalist Elana Stone, who plays Dungeon Master and sometimes-dragon love interest within the game. While displaying noticeably awkward acting at times, she wowed the crowd with strong and hauntingly beautiful vocals during several solo numbers.
While the theme of the show will appeal to and be understood by the fantasy geeks and World of Warcraft devotees amongst us, one could not help but wonder how well it translates to the general public. Given that the audience was a mixed bag of age and gender, the comedy trio run the risk of losing at least some of the crowd with the nerdy in-jokes. Having said that, there was consistent belly laughter and clapping from the audience on this night, suggesting that most got the references.
With a strong storyline that was strictly adhered to throughout, this latest offering feels more like musical theatre than comedy skit, which may or may not take your fancy. The inclusion of Stone and the more structured format leaves you with the impression that Tripod desire to shrug off the mantle of “comedy lads” and be taken more seriously as performers.
While there’s a chance old fans maybe be left a little wanting, this show is tightly performed and as always, Tripod deliver more musical comedy brilliance than you can fire a magic missile at.
Star Theatres. DamShel Productions. Written and directed by Shelley Wall.
What do you do when your first lesbian lover won't leave her husband?
Carla (Helen Stuart), who has never been with a woman, meets with Jackie (Naomi Parszos) after chatting online. They keep their affair secret because both have husbands.
After a year, Carla has gained enough confidence in her sexuality to want to leave her marriage. But Jackie won't leave Jed (Brett Heath) – and she won't tell Carla why.
It's rare for every actor in a show to give high-calibre performances. When Carla first meets Jackie, Stuart's anxiety is so authentic it's annoying. Parszos gives Jackie a tough front, unwilling to share her secrets with Carla, so neither of them will get hurt. Behind Jackie's bravado is a toughness that comes from day-to-day survival when you're trapped in domestic violence.
Jed, thanks to Heath's intimidating performance, is the character you'll leave the theatre hating. From his first appearance, he stamps his mark as the wanna-be alpha male. While he may be able to hurt women, Brett (Steve Maresca) shows in an unexpected display of anger that in the world of real men, Jed is a wimp.
Domestic violence is a topic that could leave audiences melancholy. Instead, writer and director, Shelley Wall's amazing script lets her actors take the heavy material and make it entertaining as well as powerful.
Every element of production and performance flows together so effortlessly, this play is technically perfect.
Daniel G. Taylor
Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco.
Urban Myth Theatre of Youth. Director: Corey McMahon. Holden St Theatres.
Baby Boomers will love Urban Myth's flamboyant revival of Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros.
For those of you who weren't in university in the 1960s, sitting on the lawns, smoking weed, and discussing Ionesco, here's the story. A French town is overrun with rhinoceroses. Not African rhinoceroses. Nor Asian. But people who give up their humanity and become animals to stick with the herd.
Patrick Zoerner gives a mature performance as Jean. We meet Jean as a proud free thinker. As he transforms into a rhinoceros, Zoerner convinces us he's losing control. He becomes irritable and paranoid. (Not to mention stamping, snorting, and charging.)
Berenger (Poppy Mee) emerges as the unexpected hero – or is it so unexpected? Berenger's initial failure to conform to society's dress and etiquette standards foreshadows his decision to stay human.
Singling out the two actors above isn't meant to detract from the ensemble. The script is a perfect choice for young actors. It allows them to overact; the more absurd, the better.
All the actors bring high energy and playfulness to a play with a serious and relevant political message.
Daniel G. Taylor
Words They Make With Their Mouths.
Bambina Borracha Productions. Director: Jessica Tuckwell. Writer/performer: Tim Spencer. Iris Cinema (Media Resource Centre).
Talented newcomer Tim Spencer marks his 5m x 2m territory with an ambitious project: 16 characters, one performer, in a show about last Saturday night.
A group of idiosyncratic Gen-Y friends party at Sydney nightspots. Gay. Straight. Bi-curious. At the end of the night everything's changed and nothing's changed, as each character chases love.
Spencer's script snapshots the purposelessness and detachment that marks many people in his generation.
A woman – in her 50s - next to me in the front row spent the 40-minute performance tapping text messages on her iPhone. It distracted the audience, and Spencer. An actor should only have to focus on his performance and not consider whether it's less disruptive to stop the show than to keep performing. He chose the latter, and, despite the distraction, gave an engaging performance that shows he enjoys bringing his characters to life. Words lets people over 30 see what it's like to be young now.
Daniel G. Taylor
Once On This Island Jr. by Lyn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
Star Theatres. The Young Australian Broadway Chorus.
This new musical, book and lyrics by Lyn Ahrens and Music by Stephen Flaherty, is based on the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy.
The story revolves around a young girl and how her destiny is resolved by her adopted peasant parents, her love a rich young man and the gods who watch over her.
Directed by Robert Coates, this is an amazing production with everyone on stage being totally committed and performing wonderfully.
With the large cast, a set is not used. Instead, the chorus moves around in such a way that the scene is set by the bodies on the stage. This is particularly effective, with the trees and the wall of the hotel.
Saskia Marguccio as Ti Mourne the heroine is marvellous and shows her emotions well, whilst singing beautifully.
Kristen Mihalos, as Asaka, Mother of the Earth, sings with a gorgeously earthy tone in her voice, Rebecca Bresich is bright and bubbly as Agwe, God of Water and Chloe Savannah is excellent as Erzulie, Goddess of Love.
Murray Hanson is perfectly arrogant and threatening as Papa Ge, Demon of Death, Siobhan Barnes and Joshua Mulcahy do very well as the adoptive parents Mama Euralie and Tonton Julian and Rebecca Horrigan is vivacious as the young Ti Mourne.
The music, under MD Andrew Kroenert, is very upbeat and has a calypso flavour, which melds very well with the fantastic and colourful costumes provided by Jennifer Mc Kenzie and crew.
The choreography by Jaqui Green was fabulous, as were the entire chorus who remain in character and animated throughout. This is a wonderful evening’s entertainment in anyone’s book.
Dances of India
Presented by the VasantaMala Indian Dance Troupe, based in Tokyo, Dances of India offers a glimpse into the world of classical and contemporary Indian folk dance. The quartet of Japanese dancers entertained in the North Adelaide Community Centre with a set of routines dominated by the jingling of bells and stomping of feet.
The show was performed to a soundtrack of haunting sitar strains, wailing vocals and high-energy Hindi film scores, though the dance itself was not what one might have expected. With distinctive splayed hand gestures, yogic postures and beautiful sari costumes, the origins were easy to pick, but the routines seemed to be heavily flavoured with choreography reminiscent of martial arts and the highly stylised Kyomai (Kyoto Style) Japanese dance form.
Led by choreographer, artistic director and primary dancer Shakti, the intensity of concentration and obvious pleasure exhibited by the dancers throughout their performances is to be commended. The routines could be lengthy and repetitive, but were skilfully executed and enjoyed by a small but appreciative audience. While lacking the allure of belly dancing or vibrancy of contemporary Bollywood, the beauty of this little known dance style combined with the dedication of those who practice it will no doubt keep its traditions alive.
True West by Sam Shepard
AC Arts (TAFE SA) - Main Theatre
Flying Penguin's return production of True West is a triumph - an emotional roller coaster that has the audience laughing, crying and cringing in fear and disbelief. Renato Musolino and Nicholas Garsden are both outstanding in their roles. The understanding and depth of their characterisations suspends all disbelief and the direction of the dialogue and action is picture perfect in every scene.
Austin and Lee are brothers, reunited in the family home after a long time break when their mother moves to Alaska. Austin is successful, a screen writer and gentle character, his brother Lee, is a full blown carbon copy of their alcoholic waste of space father. Lee resents his brother’s success, but when circumstances cause the tides to turn, innermost feelings and buried emotions are revealed. In the smaller roles of Saul (played by Geoff Revell) and Mom (played by Chrissie Page) the action is neat and effective, but the real beauty of this piece emerges in the tension and emotion between Musolino and Garsden.
The script in the hands of lesser performers could easily have been long and boring. But under skillful direction from David Mealor this show is gold, and it is clear why critics and audiences alike raved about its 2009 season.
The production is actually physically draining to watch, purely due to the subject matter being so confrontational. Yet as soon as you leave the theatre there is an overwhelming sense of relief. The themes may be a little close to home for some, and with such a talented cast beware! It could be emotionally stressful to watch.
It does beg the question however - If such a focused, placid, reserved person could be driven to consider murdering his own family when faced with utmost adversity, what would I do? What are you capable of?
Sammy J and Randy: Ricketts Lane
The Garden of Unearthly Delights - Umbrella Revolution.
Sammy J is back in Adelaide with his show, Sammy J and Randy: Ricketts Lane, playing in the Umbrella Revolution at the Garden of Unearthly Delights. Fresh off the back of touring his production of Sammy J in the Forrest of Dreams, the duo are back to present their new show. Whilst this production is not as "big budget" as the Forrest of Dreams, the laughs are equally rich and humor equally crass! Sammy and Randy are flat mates, the former a tax lawyer, the latter an unemployed bum - who has recently been implicated in a case of tax fraud. It is worth pointing out at this time that only one in this duo is human! Randy, is actually a purple puppet - operated by puppeteer Heath McIvor. The production incorporates a good mix of song and dance and some basic setting, which is functional and hides the puppeteer, but some scene changes take excessively long. The venue, which is a tent that doubles for other productions, is not nearly as sound proof as one would like, which does mean background noise from surrounding garden events can be heard at times. But this is only a minimal distraction. This show is a light and enjoyable evening of puppet theatre which can be enjoyed by everyone. A wonderful night’s entertainment.
In Remembrance (of) A Small Death by Anna Barnes
The production In remembrance (of) A small death presented by Five Point One is actually two shows which are unrelated in topic but linked by genre, with a small interval between. In the cosy surrounds of La Boheme this new work was confrontational and thought-provoking. One character tells of a delay at the tube station which caused her to recollect a rape experience. This story seems to reference the conception of a bastard child, and subsequent abortion. Simultaneously three others gossip on a park bench about several small deaths, each serious in nature but all clearly having little to no impact in the desensitized minds of the populace. The disjointed text initially feels like a rambling nonsensical babble, but as more and more parts of the stories are revealed the garble begins to form an image of a society which either doesn't understand or doesn't seek to understand the impact of "a small death". There is no doubt that most of the audience will find it difficult to truly understand the playwrights subtext, but the themed message was clear. Some annoying upstaging with magazine props was frustrating but otherwise the short piece delivered on its objective. The standout performer here was Ashton Malcolm. Even when she was not speaking, her focus remained strong and constant.
The second piece introduces the theme of memory, and the way we all recount various events in our lives. The story is centered around Siobhan, at three different stages in her life. Childhood, adolescence and as an adult. Again the dialogue is disjointed and shared amongst the three players. As the story progresses Siobhan shares memories of travel, visiting home, and the depressing and emotional topic of childhood abuse by her father. The acting is impassioned, and each of the players gives a wonderful performance in this piece. Their directive is never in doubt and the timing and characterisation is always spot on. Special mention to Lydia Nicholson for her childhood character, this age is especially difficult to act without being patronising. Nicholson's American character, whilst being cliché and over the top was also very true and honest. All of the woman had opportunities to standout in their various roles and took them. There did seem to be a few first night nerves, and some lines dropped, but otherwise this is a nicely polished performance and enjoyable production from Five Point One.
The Baby Boomer Tribute Show
Irish Albert and the Elderly Brothers. Quality Hotel, Parkside.
This sparkling cabaret show has a little bit of everything. Slanted to celebrate the Baby Boomer era, it also has lots of wonderfully recognisable characters as well.
Led by the irrepressible Irish Albert, supported by John Kings on keyboard and newcomer to the act Katie Veldt, the action is fast, furious and very funny.
There are quite a few quite irreverent comedy songs about topical things such as the water situation, Osama Bin Ladin, growing up and how things aren’t what they used to be.
Lots of impersonations that are particularly clever including Ozzie Osbourne, The Queen, Sonny and Cher, Cher on her own, Billy Conley and Prince Charles also makes an appearance.
Irish Albert is very talented and easily makes the audience relax and enjoy themselves. He also plays guitar and slips easily from one character to the next with great aplomb.
Katie Veldt has a great voice and sings as Liza Minnelli, Cher and Tina Turner as well as several other characters. Veldt enjoys herself immensely and interacts well with the audience, although her style of singing doesn’t really change from one character to the next.
John Kings opens the show with some nice background music and singing and is the master of ceremonies. He keeps the pace fast and often joins in with the comedy being Sonny for Cher and a marvellous Phantom of the Opera.
These three performers are not afraid to ‘strut their stuff’ and the result is brilliant entertainment.
Bosco Theatre – The Garden of Undearthly Delights
Occupying a late night slot in the Garden's Bosco Theatre, The Dark Party is a gothic circus sideshow offering which, providing the gory and grotesque are your style, is worth sticking around for. Featuring a series of increasingly painful party tricks, it's designed to make you squirm and will happily succeed.
The three Dirty Brothers offer a creepy personal greeting on entry before arming themselves with an ominous range of props (think staple guns, mouse traps and maggots). These are used with great effect throughout the show to elicit gasps of horror from the audience.
The tricks, executed with art house theatrics and comedy, are set to an unassuming soundtrack that heightens the thrill. Each is an exercise in self- tortuous fun that leaves you simultaneously anticipating and dreading what's to come next.
Not for the fainted-hearted (or those planning a late dinner) The Dark Party will wrap up your night with an entertaining shock-fest. Just remember to peek through your fingers every now and then.
Under Milkwood by Dylan Thomas
Guy Masterson’s Centre for International Theatre. Higher Ground Theatre, Adelaide
Acclaimed as a masterpiece, Under Milkwood tells the tale of twenty four hours in the life of a sleepy Welsh fishing town as seen through the eyes and thoughts of its inhabitants.
Directed by Tony Boncza, the action is delivered in a single monologue by Guy Masterson on a stage containing only one chair.
Wearing only a pair of pyjamas, Masterson’s skill is tremendous as he plays all sixty nine characters, showing every single one of them to us with all of their individual foibles highlighted.
Despite having performed the show ‘over a thousand times in venues all over the world’ each character retains its freshness and comes to the stage as if for the first time.
There is a wonderful soundscape of music and sound that runs along behind and intertwines with the acting beautifully. It was put together by Matt Clifford and adds a depth of realism seldom seen, helping to bring the whole story to life.
With the wonderful word pictures painted by the script, the physicality of the performance and the background sound, this is an experience not to be missed.
The Burlesque Hour – Salon of Live Ladies
The Garden of Unearthly Delights - The Spiegeltent.
Deep in the Garden of Unearthly Delights, The Burlesque Hour… Salon of Live Ladies performs a late night slot in The Spiegeltent. From reported connoisseurs of provocative entertainment, artist and writer Moira Finucane and theatre creator and director Jackie Smith, this variety show packs cabaret, burlesque, circus and striptease aplenty.
Opening the proceedings is a trio of ‘Hello Kitty’ - disguised ladies led by Japanese shock cabaret artiste Yumi Umiumar, performing a bizarre mix of song, spoken word and dancing. Needless to say, the show makes an impression from the beginning and remains heavy on wacky theatrics and extreme contemporary burlesque.
A sultry and tightly strung trapeze set from Jess Love presents entertaining but standard circus trickery, with bonus points for unique costuming. One of the better acts is a Gorilla suit striptease, in which the performer becomes more monkey-like as the suit gradually is discarded.
Finucane herself provides the zaniest performances. Espresso is a robotic coffee-making routine set to heavy electronic beats and featuring an interesting... erm... climax. Sugar anyone? The show peaks with her infamous Dairy Queen, a dubious milk drenching act that has the front rows cowering in fear.
With inexplicably frequent cigarette smoking and much balloon popping, most of the show has little obvious point and fails to inspire.
A heavily feminist affair with a hardcore soundtrack, it tries hard to shock and you get the distinct impression that many of Finucane’s performances attempt a level of social commentary. Unfortunately, it largely doesn't translate. You would be forgiven for thinking the show is a series of overblown theatrics designed to push boundaries for the sake of it and to justify a little nudity.
Positive crowd reaction suggests the show hits its mark, but it won’t satisfy all tastes.
Food for Thought. Starring Lil Tulloch, Leanne Kelly, Elli Huber. The Birdcage.
If every high school boy, straight guy, and lesbian knew what was going on down by the Torrens, the Birdcage would be packed and security would need to barricade the stage.
In this stilts-and-trapeze circus act of lesbian erotica, expect equal parts domination, food, and sensuality, as Leanne Kelly and Elli Huber indulge themselves at the expense of Lil Tulloch. From the moment Tulloch enters the stage on stilts, the others recline on trapeze, expecting to be served. Tulloch is happy to share and take only a morsel, but the other two want don't want to eat themselves while Tulloch is getting any pleasure.
For someone who'd only been to family circus shows before, I found this show full of the unexpected. First, the content of the show, and also the strength of the women as they dazzle the audience on the trapeze. None of them look like bodybuilders – indeed, all three fit into the “hot chick” category - and they don't look strong enough to do what they do. This act is the undiscovered gem of Fringe.
And I managed to get through the review without once using the word “Amazon.”
Daniel G. Taylor
Sam Simmons - Fail
Bosco Theatre, The Garden of Unearthly Delights.
Sam Simmons latest comedy is a non-sensical journey through the many failures of life including some of his own. Simmons opens the show by introducing us to a new game show called Fail, which you play.... in your head?
The entire production is made to look improvised, but is actually very carefully scored to fit a soundscape of music and lighting effects as well as recorded voiceovers and image projection. Set in the intimate surrounds of the Bosco Theatre in the Garden of Unearthly Delights, the venue lends itself perfectly to this kind of production.
Due to the absurdity of Simmons comedy, the audience reaction is always varied, but there is definitely something for everyone. Although the laughs were a little hit and miss, when Simmons hit on a winner - there was no doubt, as the audience cackled and heaved with laughter.
If Simmons brand of random comedy appeals to you, prepare for a splinter in your side from chuckling so hard, as this shows fails to disappoint on the wacky stakes!
My Name is Rachel Corrie
Taken from the writings of Rachel Corrie, edited by Katharine Viner. Director: Daniel Clarke. Starring Hannah Norris. AC Arts (TAFE SA), X Space.
If you’ve seen The Laramie Project, you’ll see similarities here. Both are true stories with the script created from actual sources – in this case, Corrie’s emails and diaries. Death stalks both productions. Both prove that one person’s politics matter.
As a child, Rachel Corrie wanted to make the world a better place. In pursuit of that end, she left the safety of her hometown of Olympia, Washington, to travel. After she joined the International Solidarity Movement, she lived amongst Palestinians, sensitive to their struggle. The Israeli Defence Forces bulldozed her as she defended a Palestinian pharmacist’s home from demolition.
Hannah Norris is brilliant at capturing the evolution of Corrie as an activist. Corrie’s playful innocence at the start develops into worldly wisdom, that questions the effectiveness of her actions but won't stop her from taking action.
Director Daniel Clarke has tested the idea of the personal as political in many of his productions. He has matured with this play, going from the local impact of personal politics in his earlier works, to the global impact Corrie had and continues to have. My Name is Rachel Corrie shows that in life – and death – one’s person’s politics, and actions, matter.
Daniel G. Taylor
The Penis Principles by Matt Byrne
Matt Byrne Media. Adelaide Fringe. Maxims Wine Bar.
The latest production from Producer / Director Matt Byrne, The Penis Principles, is a fast-paced and hilariously low-brow journey into the issues plaguing modern man. The three-man cabaret comedy stars the director himself and tackles both the silly and the serious, in a night of genital fact and farcicality.
Like its female equivalents Busting Out and The Vagina Monologues, it is designed to have you both listening and laughing. It achieves this impeccably. Despite some predictable inclusions, the puns are non-stop and clever. With a mix of informative “penis pointers”, musical numbers and comedic skits, it is Byrne’s witty lyrics put to well-known tunes that has the audience clutching its collective side. Accompanying all is an amusing range of phallic props.
In the imitate setting of Maxims Wine Bar, the seating was very tight but this did not seem to affect the audience’s enthusiasm. Byrne gave a solid performance, though was at times outshone by his highly talented cast mates in Kim Clark and Rohan Watts, particularly in strength of voice. As a trio they are guaranteed to bring a smile to the most conservative of faces.
Intensely funny and well-written, this is a show for both men and women, young and old. Byrne is to be commended for delving into the more serious issues of mental and prostate health as well as hitting the easy targets. The jokes shoot from the hip but the take-home message comes from the heart - this show will get you thinking as you giggle and gasp for air.
Circus Trick Tease
The Garden of Unearthly Delights
Circus Trick Tease is an acrobatic smorgasbord of strength, balance and skill as three performers incorporate an elaborate array of circus tricks into a neat little story of three-way love.
Strong Man Shannon McGorgan demonstrates his strength by lifting 4 audience members at once, but the really impressive tricks are always saved till last. With his girl side-kick and love interest, Malia Walsh, ever needy of her strong man’s love, and muted import Fahad Ahadi (handstand extraordinaire), always handy to prove that three is a crowd, this innovative circus performance proves that the theatrics of the circus are not dead!
This production has toured many of Australia’s largest festivals and continues to wow audiences at the 2010 Adelaide Fringe. The performers do not fail to impress, incorporating tricks such as balancing in headstand on top of each other. Walsh is positively effervescent when she smiles, but beware when it does not go her way, as the wailing cries of a scorned woman will have you fleeing from your seats!
Ekatã: Music Voice Dance
Lion Arts Centre
A long black stage with 4-piece band at one end is dimly lit as 10 dancers wrapped in colourful Indian saris sidle on. The music, nothing more than a haunting vocal hum and ringing bell. The 10 dancers gently twist and roll their arms and bodies in syncopation to the haunting sounds - this is
A lone timber reeded flute creates a whistful pan pipe melody as the dancers twirl and twist with colourful flowing scarfs held high like veil dancers of the middle east.
When the music really kicks in, the sounds of bass guitar, tamborine and knee drum raise up the beat and belly dance begins.
A sole guitarist strumming sounds of Spain entices Flamenco dancers to the stage, a clapping beat crates a joyous rythm.
This is what you can expect from Ekata!
A mix of higher energy and more upbeat dance numbers may have aided in breaking the slow feel of the sets, but the fusion of cultures created a relaxing enjoyable afternoon of music and dance culture which makes for a lovely hour’s entertainment, sitting back sipping a glass of wine and soaking up the sights and sounds.
Kransky Sisters – Three Bags Full
From the stage of the Arts Theatre, the Kransky Sisters bring another blast of their unique and eccentric musical comedy to Adelaide with Three Bags Full. Mourne (Annie Lee), Eve (Christine Johnston) and newest half-sibling Dawn (Carolyn Johns) set the scene with a slideshow of holiday happy snaps before retelling a hilarious and disaster-filled journey to Europe.
Musical numbers provide a soundtrack to the tales of travel misadventure, with fittingly understated renditions of popular tunes such as ACDC’s Long Way to the Top and Devo’s Whip It invoking rousing laughter and applause. The trio can produce amazingly complete sounds from a mix of traditional instruments and household implements. These popular interludes have become a trademark of their shows and give all three a chance to showcase their impressive musical talent.
As the show progresses, a sprinkling of childhood anecdotes provides a second theme and these disturbingly funny, poignant life moments are revealed with a mock seriousness that will have you clutching your side. While movement between the storylines can seem disjointed at times, they succeed in keeping the audience. All three play to the various oddities of their characters superbly and never lose authenticity. An element of audience participation went hilariously well and proved a highlight.
As well as giving your smile a workout, Three Bags Full will leave you feeling that you know this endearingly dysfunctional trio a little better. Without doubt, both will hold them in good stead for enticing you back for the next installment!
A Belly Dance Collective
The Garage International @ NACC
Presented by the Divine Elements Belly Dance Company, A Belly Dance Collective was aimed at showcasing the depth and breadth of this centuries-old dance form. Originating in the Middle East, it has diversified in modern times to encompass African, Indian, Spanish and American influences.
Seven local artists performed a total of 12 routines in a mix of solo and en troupe, each grounded in different style. In a dramatic opening, the show began with a cabaret dance featuring the spectacular golden capes known as Wings of Isis. The routines that followed encompassed classical Egyptian, American Tribal Style (ATS), Baladi and Fusion.
Audience favourites included a high-energy Saiidi set by Sarafina, an impressive display of strength and balance by Soraya in the Sword dance and a Tribal piece featuring the Zills, or Finger Cymbals. The show was rounded out by two captivating performances; an intense and mesmerising Dark Fusion routine by Rania and a brilliant solo Veil dance by Melanie Skeklios.
In the roomy surrounds of the North Adelaide Community Centre, cabaret seating would have provided a clearer view for all, though this was only really a problem during routines featuring floor work.
From start to finish the audience were treated to an entertaining and educational mix of colour, sound and style. An art form that requires a spectrum of emotion and technique, the skill and experience in this company was hard to miss. The choreography was polished and costuming a visual feast. Moments of improvisation were smooth and synchronised. The audience was left in no doubt as to why the art of Belly dance continues to dazzle and delight.
Cox and Box & The Telephone (Double Bill).
No Tenors Allowed. State Opera Studio
Originally a Victorian farce by J Maddison Morton, Cox and Box was adapted into an operetta by F C Bumand and Arthur Sullivan (of G&S fame).
As an operetta the work is a wonderful and amusing tale. It is also a short but challenging work for young artists out to show off their talents.
Directed by Richard Trevaskis, this cast do exactly that and the result is a bright, energetic and captivating performance.
Blake Parham as Mr Box is marvellous; he really enjoys the humour of the piece, is lively with the physical comedy and has great facial expressions.
Ian Andrew as Mr Cox is an excellent contrast to Mr Box, being a less jovial character but just as determined to assert himself.
Andrew Crispe as Bouncer is splendid as the deceitful and rascally landlord.
All three sang superbly, with noticeably good diction and timing.
The Telephone is a little musical sketch by Gian Carlo Menotti, showing how one can let technology get in the way of what is important.
Directed by Graham Self, this is a sparkling and fast moving piece.
Kate Wyatt as Lucy is effervescent and chic, and clearly delighted with her part. Blake Parham as Ben is a pleasure to watch as he gets more and more frustrated and discouraged.
Again the singing was first-rate as was the music provided by the chamber ensemble of piano and string quartet under the Musical Direction of Steven Tanoto.
Designed by Cassandra Backler, the box set is literally just that, being constructed entirely of cardboard boxes. Although this set worked quite well, its appearance did seem a little out of kilter with the elegance of the furniture, the costumes and the entertainment provided.
Overall this is an interesting and upbeat show and very enjoyable to watch.
Mada Vs Vegas - The Dueling Magicians
Starring Adam Mada, Richard Vegas, Julia Madotti. The Bakehouse Theatre.
Any magician who can do a French drop can put on the kind of show that's about bigger, more startling, more astonishing tricks - but it takes a class act to do something more interesting.
In Mada vs Vegas, the story is Adam Mada and Richard Vegas were once partners but are now arch-rivals or arch-nemesises (it depends which you ask). With first-class gentlemanly showmanship, they fight it out with diverse illusions - locked-box mind reading, razor blades, Magician's Russian Roulette - to see who will come out on top.
Vaudevillian Julia Madotti - first on stage, and filling the transitions, with her unexpected cascade of surprises - establish we've been transported to the early 20th Century: magic's Golden Age. All the other elements of the show from the duel concept itself, to the costumes, the way Mada and Vegas speak, the powerfully dramatic score, and the black and white film clips of Houdini and his contemporaries support the illusion that when you stepped into the theatre, you stepped into the past.
This is great magic and great theatre. You'll see astonishing, well-performed illusions, but you'll also enjoy a tip of the hat to the age that birthed modern magic.
Daniel G. Taylor
Dave Callan (The Symbol For Women)
Dave Callan has created a new show for the 2010 Adelaide fringe, in which he has taken the surveyed responses of 100 woman on a quest to better understand what makes them tick. Using his usual dry wit and Irish humor Dave took us through the results and responses of his interviewees. The varied responses were often hilarious and Callan's commentary on them equally so, if not lacking in frequency only a bit. The 100 questions started out strong, but, by the end, audiences may have been looking for some relief from the format.
While Callan’s Delivery was funny, it was more an observation of others peoples comedic responses to his survey than a standup show, which was disappointing given his usual standard. As expected, 100 questions wasn’t nearly enough to delve even remotely into the female psyche, however it was fun and interesting hearing just what some woman think.
Claire Hooper - A Few Small Things You Should Know About the Future
Ambassadors Hotel - Balcony Restaurant
Solar powered iPods, internet face transplants, recycled toilet paper and pooper scoopers - just a few of the topics likely to be covered in the 2010 fringe offering from Claire Hooper. Lots of this set made a lot of sense, but didn't get so many laughs. Her play by play storytelling of the recent events in her life was interesting, sometimes exciting, but unfortunately didn't have the audience rolling in the aisles, clutching at their sides.
Hooper’s laid back style was enjoyable to watch at times, and the well-loved comic kept the audience interested in her random, rampant narrative, later revving up the crowd with a rap inspired song, which she sung, and danced, at great pains to her own dignity. For Hooper fans, this production might feel a little short of her full capabilities, but overall it was an enjoyable evening of anecdotes and tales.