Adelaide Fringe Festival 2013 Reviews.

Adelaide Fringe Festival 2013 Reviews.

Glory Dazed

Holden Street Theatres. March 1 - 17

Glory Dazed is a play that makes a straightforward but overtly disturbing observation: we pay more attention to, and take better care of, returned soldiers who suffer obvious physical injuries (missing limbs etc) than we do of those who suffer psychological distress. Why is that?

The action centres on Ray, a Gulf War veteran who is clearly traumatised. His marriage to Carla has fallen apart, and when he visits a bar owned by his best friend Simon, he discovers that she is now in a relationship with Simon.  Furthermore she doesn’t make it easy for him to see his children. Things seem like they couldn’t get much worse, but of course they do.

The play is violent. Ray is violent. He is loud and aggressive, and becomes vicious as he is forced to deal with his problems. He does have a sensitive side but we rarely see it. Samuel Edward Cook plays Ray well enough, but there is something missing. Take away the abrupt loudness, the shouting and the violent handling of furniture, and there isn’t much left that convinces us that Ray is totally intimidating. And he should be, otherwise the reactions he is supposed to elicit from his wife Carla (played by Chloe Massey) and especially Simon (Adam Foster) just don’t make sense.  Director Elle While just doesn’t quite manage to get what she needs from her male actors, particularly Foster.  On the other hand Massey and Kristin Atherton, who plays Leanne the hired help in the bar, give tight and well balanced performances.

The set is quite elaborate for a Fringe production – a fully rigged out bar, a poker machine, operational doors etc. The whole thing might have worked better if there was less reliance on realism and more on the cast using their obvious skills to extract the pathos from the characters.

Kym Clayton

Like a Fishbone

By Anthony Weigh. Early Worx. Higher Ground East. February 28 – March 14.

A shabbily dressed woman with wet hair stands with her back to the audience at one side of the room, rocking backwards and forwards ever so slightly.

The room seems to be an office, maybe an architect’s office (there are shelves of plans on one side of the room). On a trestle table in the middle is a large colourful model of a small country town complete with church and school house. The model is enclosed in a large perspex display box.

Suddenly another woman bursts in through the upstage glass door.  Well dressed, an executive type; the architect. This character is the complete opposite of the woman who rocks slowly.

The architect will soon go to a town meeting to present her model of a memorial to the town’s children, who were shot to death in their schoolhouse by a lone gunman. The woman is the mother of one of the dead children.

Like a Fishboneis a complex piece of dramatic theatre. It grindingly reveals the gulf between a mother who has lost her young daughter and an architect and separated mother whose model will become the monument to the dead children of the town.

The play by Brisbane playwright, Anthony Weigh, was premiered in the UK in 2010 and seems even more relevant today with the still fresh memory of the US Sandy Hook primary school gun deaths at the end of 2012.

The premise of the script is clear. How do you memorialise the loss of innocent young lives that can never be replaced? Who gets to choose the memorial, the community or a selection panel? Where does humanity sit in the whole process?

The dialogue between the two protagonists is tight, staccato and often overlapping. The architect and the grieving mother talk at each other rather than to each other. Tension builds between them throughout the play until it can be contained no longer.

Shannon Mackowski, as the architect, sustains the drive of a powerful woman in a remarkably taut and frenetic performance.  She shows the architect’s determination that her artistic vision is delivered at all costs, even if it means debasing another woman’s core values.

Rebecca Calandro, as the intern, brings a gentle, almost innocent ambiance to the character of the young trainee architect caught in the middle. She does her best with a part that lacks meat.

Amy Victoria Brooks, as the grieving mother, brings insight to the role and a commendably restrained performance. Her portrayal is just right for this sight handicapped, ordinary small town mother speaking for the other ordinary mothers who have lost their loved ones. But there is fire just under the surface and it is suddenly released towards the end of the play. Brooks delivers totally on all levels.

Director Charles Sanders and assistant director Romina Verdiglione have kept a tight reign on both the action and the tension as it builds. In lesser hands, this production may easily have drifted into trite melodrama.

The set design by Jenn Havelberg is functional, understated, and well fitted to this temporary venue.

When the distraught small town mother cries out in anguish “What is the real value of a monument?”, we are all reminded that children always come first. Even the architect can’t respond to this compelling truth.

The external noise coming from the beer garden took something away from this excellent local production, but it’s Fringe time, and allowances have to be made.

Well worth a trip to Higher Ground East to see the battle royal between Mackowski and Brooks, with Calandro adding simple touches of humanity through her role as the intern.

Fine Fringe fare.

Martin Christmas

Angry Young Man

Holden Street Theatres. March 1 – 17. 

This show is a total joy.  From the moment you walk into the theatre and see the cast of four young men identically attired in silver grey suits (and tan shoes) sitting rakishly in a huddle on chairs silently greeting the audience, until the final bows when they ask you to spread the word if you enjoyed the show – and that’s what I am doing now! Go and see it! Angry Young Man is a complete and perfectly enjoyable theatre experience.

The plot is straightforward enough: an immigrant surgeon makes his way (illegally it seems) to the UK and tries to find work. He enters into a friendship but allows himself to be seduced by his friend’s girlfriend. He falls into bad company, is involved in an accidental death of a minor mobster in a nightclub, and runs away into the countryside to hide, fearing gaol and deportation, but everything turns out well enough in the end.

And it is a comedy.

And it is played out on a bare stage furnished with only four chairs.

And the four actors are just superb. Their stagecraft is exemplary:  gesture, timing, voice, versatility, mime.  They have it all, and they are wonderfully assisted by Ben Woolf’s expert direction and an uncredited classy lighting design (and execution).  The standout cast member was Iddon Jones, whose female impersonation roles were so very funny, and serious. The guy has presence. The cast was rounded out with excellent performances by Gabeen Kahn and Paul Shelford, and highly amusing representations of statues and dogs by Andy Peart.

The structure of the play is engaging.  Every actor plays a number of roles, and they also take turns in playing the central character of the immigrant surgeon.  The action moves swiftly from one setting to another and a sense of pace and urgency is created by inventive use of the four chairs (which represent everything from a nightclub bar to an omnibus) and by Woolf’s tight choreographed and synchronised movement of the cast.

This show is highly recommended. It is funny, but it is also sad at times, and there is also a message in there as well.  But above all, this is fabulous theatrical entertainment.  It doesn’t come much better.

Kym Clayton

Death by Soprano

The Prometheum. 24, 25 Feb and 9 Mar.

Scottish poet Robert Burns is credited with saying “Opera is where a guy gets stabbed in the back, and instead of dying, he sings,” and Death by Soprano is a quirky show that explores that very point. 

With the aid of a flip chart, a miscellany of props and costumes and a talented pianist, soprano Isabel Hertaeg sings us through an A to Z of the ways that soprano heroines (or villains) meet their various ends in the world of opera: death by Avalanche; death by (poisoned) bread; death by Consumption; and the list goes on.

It is a curious show, but it doesn’t know what it wants to be: is it a recital, or is it a musical comedy that is taking the mickey out of opera? Whatever it is, it desperately needs some expert direction, and if it has already had it, then it needs some more. Amy Abler’s piano accompaniment is secure, and dramatic at times – especially towards the end of the program when Wagner gets an airing – and Hertaeg’s voice is pleasing for the most part, but the patter that is needed to hold the whole concept together just doesn’t quite cut it. Hertaeg seems insecure with it at times, and the flip chart is often an encumbrance. For example, her rendition of the touching aria ‘Tu, Tu Piccolo Iddio’ from Madame Butterfly, which is sung by Cio Cio San to her child just before she commits ritual suicide, was positively spoiled by reaching mid phrase to flip the flip chart!  If it was intended to be funny, then it failed. If it was intended to distract, then it succeeded. It just didn’t fit, and there were many other examples.

However, there is a certain sincerity in what Hertaeg does. She clearly enjoys doing what she does, and her voice easily managed many of the quite difficult arias. Interestingly I initially thought that she was at her best in the middle register, but towards the end of the program when she opened her throat fully and sang arias from Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Wagner’s Die Walküre, it was quite evident that Hertaeg has an impressive range and considerable power.

The show ends fabulously. Hertaeg reaches for her final prop, which is a mattress, sings the final aria from Puccini’s Tosca in which the heroine Tosca commits suicide by hurling herself from the castle wall, and then collapses onto the mattress. The applause is protracted and we discover that Hertaeg is …..dead!!

This show is a bit of nonsense.  Lovers of opera will probably not enjoy it.

Kym Clayton

The Book of Loco

Alirio Zavarce and Sasha Zahra. Loose Canon Art Services. Tandanya. Feb 21 – Mar 10.

Why are we sitting in what is either a lecture theatre or an airport waiting room? Why are we surrounded on three sides by boxes stacked from floor to ceiling? Why is a pre-recorded voice droning on, “In case of emergency . . . be vigilant”? And why is there a man in a dark suit roaming around the seats looking anxious?

The Book of Loco, currently having its world premiere season at the 2013 Adelaide Fringe, is an alarming, insightful, multi-layered piece of political theatre that Augusto Boal, the Brazilian playwright and director of political protest theatre, would be well pleased with.

The remarkable Venezuelan born, now Adelaide based, Alirio Zavarce (writer and performer) has devised a dynamic theatrical journey for an unsuspecting audience. A very personal journey through airport security, terrorism, the ever shifting world of political and social points of view, cultural differences, and the terror of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Zavarce, in a cross between lecture and improvised performance and a stunning montage of pre-recorded sound, large and small visual projections on the cardboard boxes, a multitude of throw away combs, hand props, and a broad expanse storyline, leads the audience on a journey that is very personal (for him), very confronting (for us), and very smooth in its transition between private realities and public realities (for the actor, for the character, and for the audience).

And the boxes? Used with theatrical brilliance, the 1800 boxes of the ‘box set’ not only create the walls of the performance space but serve as visual projection surfaces, as containers, and as metaphors. After one spectacular, truly mind blowing theatrical device, a second wall of boxes is revealed, and the real performance venue wall beyond this, adding up to a complex and evocative presentation of the constant shifting of realities for everyone living at the start of the 21st century.

“I am not mad! I am an actor! How much is a fresh plate of dog shit worth? In an emergency, what would you do? Welcome home”. All seem innocuous words on the page but in the hands of the agile and always in-the-moment Zavarce, they become chilling statements or codes for things we do not want to face, or want to face but are afraid to. Zavarce’s vulnerability gives us courage to look into the darkness of our own lives.

Sasha Zahra and the production team, on the performance side, have done a smooth job in bringing together the disparate elements of the storyline and I suspect keeping Zavarce from going too far over the top during the shared developmental journey.

If I were to criticise the production, it would be to ask the question: When has a production made its point? The Book of Loco has one, two, or three false endings too many in my opinion. This drags out the final scene unnecessarily. Some editing of material through this seventy-five minute production would also benefit this show.

That aside, The Book of Loco must be one of the finest theatrical events of this year’s Fringe.

Martin Christmas

Altar Ego

Unseen Theatre Company in association with Crass Clown Productions. The Bakehouse Theatre. Feb 23 – Mar 2.

Creationists say that proof of God is the perfection of His plan.  Some plan. The best procreation strategy for men is to get their seed into as many women as possible. The strategy for women is to find a partner to give protection and sustenance for the duration of raising a family (The Moral Animal, Robert Wright, Vintage Books, 1994). What chaos has this plan caused?  While both strategies may have been satisfied by communal living in ancient societies and in those more recently destroyed by the white European diaspora since Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the Judeo-Christian ethos has favoured the female strategy. So feminism is really a response to men’s repression of women in reprisal for having won this little war long ago.

Wow! Where did that little burst of pseudo-scientific pop philosophy come from? I went to see this Fringe show, the Australian premiere of American James Lyons’ Altar Ego, and well, it got me thinking. Lyons takes the lid off every dirty subverted sexual fantasy of the suburban married man.

And yes, even while I was laughing at his insights into this perpetual human drama, I was also faintly fearful and embarrassed when he metaphorically challenges, “C’mon, you don’t think of this stuff too?  BS!”

James performed this little beauty with another, his rather recently acquired wife, Melanie (nee Munt) of Adelaide. What do they think about this stuff? I wish my wife had been able to see this play with me. Or maybe not, maybe better she was in Melbourne. Why don’t I go to Sydney myself and… stop that!

All monologue and part stand-up, Jimmy (apparently he’s James when he’s a writer but Jimmy when he’s an actor) and Melanie open with your wedding waltz complete with relaxation visuals.  Yes, I walked on water, too, on that day. But James is really concerned about what happens later, when the desire isn’t so ardent. We hear it from both sides - husband and wife – and I love the way James employs shelving to tie some of the narratives of the eight characters together. We also get the marketing story on marriage and a nasty vignette of self-loathing.

The Lyons of Los Angeles work beautifully together and have equally excellent skills in naturalism. They talk to you like your best friend baring their soul over a soy decaf at the local al fresco.  Melanie sparkles – even her eyes sparkle – conveying mischievous charm or resigned entrapment in the game of love. Jimmy plays the guy who could lead you badly astray, to the confused, with the same high quality watchability.

Altar Ego had its world premiere at the Beverly Hills Playhouse only in 2010, but I have no doubt it will be hugely popular around the world for decades to come after contemporary American references are expunged to ensure its longevity.

Not to be missed.  Bravo!

David GrybowskiI

Quirky Berserky (The Turkey from Turkey)

Peter Combe. The Vagabond – Garden of Unearthly Delights. 24 Feb 2013

The steamy Vagabond, nestled at the eastern end of the Garden of Unearthly Delights, plays host to Peter Combe's kids-oriented Quirky Berserky (The Turkey from Turkey).

This fringe show features new songs and old favourites, including Newspaper Mama and Spaghetti Bolognaise, which are performed by Combe with a mix of live keyboards from Phil Cunneen and pre-recorded backing tracks. 

Combe is a very parent-friendly performer who has long perfected the art of entertaining children without the need for fantastical, non-human creatures whose illegible babbling is educationally counter-productive.

The show provided great sing-a-longs that are fun, catchy and enjoyable for both carers and kids alike. Combe continues to prove his worth as a preeminent children’s entertainer.

Accompanied by an enthusiastic and brightly dressed dance troupe from theatre bugs, he successfully kept the audience of young fans dancing in the aisle and on their seats. Quirky Berserky is a fun and friendly show for all ages.

Nicole Russo

RadioHead Redux

Dan Willis. Tuxedo Cat.

Dan Willis is a busy man. In addition to contributing to both Best of the Fringe: Early Show and Best Of British, he is gracing the Tuxedo Cat with his mid-afternoon solo effort, RadioHead Redux, just for kicks.

Regularly performing to hundreds, Willis appeared completely unfazed at the 10 or so people seated in the comfy, if slightly derelict, lounge bar stage. His unpretentious entry, with personal hellos and handshakes, immediately set the mood for a casual and cozy show.

As the title suggests, Willis regales us with his take on the iconic music of the 80s and 90s, wrapping his selections with hilarious tales that explain their significance to him. From Adam and the Ants, Michael Jackson and Rolf Harris to Bruce Willis’s brief and mildly successful recording career (what the?!), Willis prevails with anecdotes and random facts that only a self-confessed music geek would know.

While this wasn’t a constant laugh-a-second show, it was one of the most enjoyable I’ve been to. The hardest element of a 10-person audience is creating an atmosphere that everyone can feed off, yet this was no barrier for Willis. He bounced on stage and used the intimacy of the gig as an opportunity to get up close and personal with his audience.

If you’re looking to be entertained and informed this is the show for you. To any Dan Willis groupies out there, book now for a handshake from the man himself.

Nicole Russo

Am My Own Wife

By Doug Wright. Cate Mayer. The Bakehouse Theatre. 21 Feb – Mar 2, 2013

Unlike many Fringe offerings dreamed up over the last year by the performer, this diamond in the rough has a solid pedigree.  Playwright Doug Wright won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for this show, and amongst a swag of other gongs and nominations, I Am My Own Wife took the Tony for Best Play.

This is a smartly produced show directed and performed by professionals. American writer Doug Wright is researching a new work and takes us into a dusty old home cum museum where we meet its custodian, Frauline Charlotte von Mahlsdorf.  Charlotte is no ordinary woman - in fact she is not a woman at all.

Doug, with the help of his loud-mouthed American pal and a plethora of other characters reveal the sweet old transvestite to be a rather dodgy character who survived the Nazis and the Communists by running various clandestine enterprises from the aforementioned mansion in East Berlin.  The ambiguity surrounding Charlotte will keep you guessing for hours after the show.

Actor Charles Mayer does this all by himself onstage, deftly and swiftly changing persona, sometimes in quite startling and surprising ways.  He is a master of instantaneous facial and vocal disguise.  Mayer was helped to look sharp by fellow Guildford School-trained Craig Behenna’s crisp and inventive direction.  Joanna Czutkowna (costume design) gave Charlotte a great froc and somebody unmentioned in the program designed a most suitable set.

This is a hit of the fringe – highly recommended.  Bravo!

David Grybowski

Sensorial

The Alley – Norwood. 22 Feb – Mar 15, 2013

On a raised platform and in front of a large video screen, internationally acclaimed South Australian violinist Niki Vasilakis stands tall above the audience and plays her own composition for solo violin, comprising eight interconnected miniatures, that lasts for almost thirty minutes.

Well rehearsed in the classical repertoire and a technician of some note, it is not all that surprising that some of her pieces appear to be derivative.  There are shades of Vaughan Williams’ Lark Ascending in the first piece, and a substantial hint of Bach’s Partitas in the second, third and fourth pieces, and they wow the audience – make no mistake about that – but the remaining pieces truly represent something from deep within her psyche. The music becomes less dense, less frenetic, more meditative and very lyrical.

The penultimate piece is the most interesting, comprising a set of themes that are satisfyingly developed and that are started and finished with dramatic pizzicato. The final piece closes the loop and returns partly to the style of the first, but something special happens. Read on!

Throughout the musical performance we see a video montage of scenes of renowned South Australian visual artist Claire Foord building an abstract painting. At the conclusion of the musical performance the real painting is dramatically revealed for all to see. The fascinating thing is that the painting is Foord’s response to her lifetime friend’s music. The whole event has been constructed around the concept of a visual artist creating an artwork that has its raison d’être in the music, and the final product is beautiful.

“See the music, hear the art.”

It was fascinating to see the painting developing and questions moved through my mind almost in sync with the tempo of the music: where was the painting going? Why did she hold the brush like that?  Will I like it?  Why such dizzyingly abstract forms?  Doesn’t it look a bit like a Kandinsky at this point? Aren’t the hues in Vasilakis’s dress very similar to the palette of the painting – is that deliberate? …and so on.

See the art and think about the music.  Hear the music and think about the art.

A very different event, and isn’t that the joy of Fringe?

Kym Clayton

Celia Pacquola Delayed

The Rhino Room - 16 Feb to 2 Mar, 2013

Celia Pacquola is probably a stranger to you.  Well, actually perhaps not too much of a stranger – she has numerous television appearances on her resume including Good News Week, Spicks and Specks, Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight, Rove and The 7pm Project, as well as a starring role as EJ in the ABC TV comedy series Laid.    

Getting back to the point; despite not counting her in your clutch of besties, sitting in on one of her shows is eerily like a long overdue catch up with that hilarious, dorky, slightly crazy best friend you’ve known forever but that you just don’t see enough of these days.

After recently returning from one of those UK stints that verges on becoming an obligatory milestone for pre-30’s Australians, she is in Adelaide performing her latest comedy show, Delayed.  Taking a windy path it covers funny moments from her time in Britain and valiant attempts at a long-distance relationship with fellow comedian, Toby Truslove.

Pacquola impressively entertains with travel stories that avoid the thinly veiled “my time in London” insights we all know and hate. In her wonderfully comfortable style, she imparts snippets of everyday hilarity with casual ease.  Even when jokes bombed, she managed to build on it until everyone was laughing along, never admitting defeat.

For those who think female comedians don’t cut the mustard, I challenge you to see this show. Pacquola will prove you wrong.

Nicole Russo

Kids Comedy Gala
The Garden of Unearthly Delights - The Vagabond - 17 Feb to 17 Mar, 2013

This popular show is a children’s version of the classic “best of the fest” variety act.  On an intensely hot afternoon in a sweatbox masquerading as a venue, we were heartily entertained by comedy from Mr Snot-Bottom's Stinky Silly Show (Mark Trenwith), trickery from Magic Brian, ab-lib musical genius from Abandoman, and acrobatics from the Pants Down Circus.

In between wiping sweat from your brow and fanning your face with your ticket stubs, you spared a thought for the performers who admirably caught and held the attention of a sub-10 years audience despite the conditions. Continuous feedback in the form of laughs, applause and helpful heckling of the cutest kind was all the evidence you needed that the target audience were enjoying themselves.

Abandoman was a standout – his solo act was impressive and funny, leaving you keen to see his full show.  The Pants Down Circus was equally awesome and definitely worth checking out.

A nice afternoon out for families, though note the lack of air-conditioning and pick a cool day.

Nicole Russo

Circolombia

The Big Top - The Garden of Unearthly Delights. 17 Feb to 9 Mar, 2013

As the title suggests this show is a form of Colombian Circus; it is acrobatics with attitude; it is circus in the ghetto. Part hip-hop, part rap, and with plenty of Latin inspiration the high-energy performance was enjoyed by the small Saturday afternoon audience.

Individually the performers were outstanding to watch. Their energy, physical fitness and technical ability were up there with some of the best I have ever seen. The ensemble work, however, lacked clarity in its direction and several numbers would have benefited from a cut and polish; particularly the group hip-hop dance sequences which had synchronicity issues. That’s not to say that the production was not wonderfully enjoyable; it just had a slightly disjointed feel which, in the heat of the very warm Big Top (upwards of 40 degrees), lost the audience’s focus with long dance numbers that didn’t complement the overall production.

Vocally this production was on an entirely different level. All of the performers are accomplished singers, and it was easy to forget that the soundscape was being sung live. Although it was predominantly not in English, the soundtrack which accompanied the acrobatics and dancing had the heart pumping and feet thumping in time. The skills of the acrobats to flip, spin and fly whilst continuing to sing only highlighted their fitness; the six packs and pecks on the taller lads made for some great eye-candy for the ladies too!

Overall this 75 minute show had a good hour of action-packed acrobatics and edge-of-your-seat performance – check it out if you are in the garden and looking for a Latin inspired boost to your afternoon.


Paul Rodda

Kate Middleton Show Queen

By Katie Reddin-Clancy. La Boheme. 19 - 24 Feb 2013.

I was enticed to attend by the blurb – an opportunity to find out what it’s like to be Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. Writer and performer Katie Reddin-Clancy does this in such an oblique way, I didn’t get it until the next morning. She instead gave us a fair description of what it’s like to be an actor and looking for love; and incidentally, one of her gigs is to imitate Kate at public events when the Duchess is otherwise indisposed.

However, Katie is a fair resemblance of the Duchess so it’s easy to imagine what Kate might have been like on her days off before she met her prince; it brings her considerably down-to-earth. This deceit wouldn’t have worked nearly as well if Katie wasn’t such a doppelganger of the Duchess.

Katie is a stand-up comic and this is her first solo theatrical performance.  She exudes a vivacious and attractive personality, and couches it in a number of amusing female roles individualised by costumes, mannerisms and terrific vocalisations. I didn’t always get the drift of the purpose of the characters - or even the narrative arc of the evening - but they were amusing nonetheless.

The session ends with a bit of stand up and some expositional material, but my experience at the Fringe is that things aren’t always as they seem, so I didn’t believe a word of it.  An amusing evening of smoke and mirrors.

David Grybowski

Michelle & the Gentleman’s Club

Fox Creek Winery – McLaren Vale. 23 Feb 2013

For Michelle Pearson, Michelle & the Gentleman’s Club marks her first foray into her own solo show, and what better place to stage that show than amongst the beautiful vines of the McLaren Vale at Fox Creek Winery.

The transformation of the Fox Creek cellar door into an outdoor concert and performance space was a huge success. A bit of dry grass didn't deter punters from sprawling out on picnic rugs and scattering around their fold out chairs to enjoy the concert.

Pearson covered numbers by various artists including ‘Proud Mary’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival, ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’ made famous by Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone's ‘Lilac Wine’ (appropriate given half the audience were tippling a glass of Fox Creek) and Dusty Springfield’s ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’. By far the most outstanding number was the famous Sarah McLachlan song ‘Angel’, during which Pearson and the orchestra were absolutely as one.

Michelle interspersed her songs with a little bit of personal banter, and explained that the show is a collection of songs that are special to her; songs that have resonated with her through the years. Clearly the audience liked them too - it didn’t take long for some to jump to their feet and start dancing!

Vocally Pearson was absolutely spot-on. It would have been nice to see her really cut loose a few times, particularly early in the first act where it sometimes felt like her rehearsed perfection was holding her back. She really hit her straps in the second act though; when Pearson lets her personality really warm up and shine through she is infectious. A highlight of the second act was ‘On My Own’ from Les Misérables in which Pearson excelled.

Although Pearson and her backup singers took to the stage warmed up, the sound tech took a little longer to get the balances right.  However once everything was locked in, the surrounding vines were juicing themselves to Pearson’s sweet sounds.

The whole concert was a wonderful experience, and coupled with the fantastically priced Fox Creek Wines and food made for a beautiful night out. Hopefully Fox Creek has a few more events amongst the vines like this one; I see great potential for many more great nights under the stars!

Paul Rodda

Leo

The Garden of Unearthly Delights - Feb 15 to Mar 16, 2013.

Check out our review of the Melbourne season.

The Dead Ones

The Chapel, Migration Museum - Feb 20 to Mar 3, 2013

Check out our review of the Melbourne season

Water Child

Nexus Cabaret - March 14 - 17, 2013.

Read our interview with Emma Wood.

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