Best of Fringe Variety

Adelaide Fringe. Presented by Motley & Mac. Ukiyo and Parasol Lounge – Gluttony. February 14 - March 15, 2020

With over 1200 acts performing at this year’s Fringe it can be difficult to narrow down choices. Performing arts company Motley and Mac make it easier, by presenting Fringe Variety. It is a fantastic way of experiencing several genres in the one tent. Artists are not named below as they change from show to show.

On the night I attended it was pouring with rain, but this did not stop the crowds or dampen the enthusiasm of this show’s audience.

An Evening with George Kapiniaris

Adelaide Fringe. Morphettville Racecourse, Derby Room. March 1, 2020

George Kapiniaris is an icon in Australia. An accomplished actor and comedy star, he has graced Australian TV screens in such famous shows as The Flying Doctors and Acropolis Now.  As well as this, he is well known for his stage show Wogs Out of Work and has many other stage credits. More recently Kapiniaris has been seen locally in a series of very popular RAA adverts.

The Curtain

By Daniel Keene. fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 26 February – 15 March, 2020

Daniel Keene’s writing is always intriguing, most particularly because his characters and their issues are so acutely realized. He distils day-to-day life and brings us his own unique ‘poetic realism’ that proffers subtle, perceptive, poignant and thought provoking insights.

It seems, to me, that this work is about when the everyday meets the ‘shadow.’  Where the sudden announcement of life changing intentions throws light onto what has tacitly been ignored.   

The Opposite Sex

By David Tristram. Mousetrap Theatre, Redcliffe, Qld. Directed Craig Longoria. February 28 – March 15, 2020.

This farce about marriage and contemporary relationships with a bitter–sweet twist, is set in London in the 1980’s with its focus on a secret shared by the two couples. The mayhem that ensues when the secret is revealed the couples makes for hilarious and farcical interchanges between the characters.  It was also great entertainment for the audience.

Sir Arthur Sullivan & Friends

Music: Sir Arthur Sullivan Lyrics: Sydney Grundy, F C Burnand, Julian Sturgis, Arthur Pinero, J Comyns Carr, Basil Hood and Edward German. Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria (GSOV). Director: Robert Ray. Musical Director: Geoffrey Urquhart. The Knowe, Sassafras, Victoria. February 29, March 1, 7 & 8, 2020

Gilbert and Sullivan's collaboration in the 1800's produced masterpiece's including HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado that have stood the test of time. Surprisingly though, Sullivan's lesser known non Savoy operettas written with other lyricists contain musical treasures of equal beauty and wit. This two hour soiree contains rarely performed songs and arias, carefully selected by the director Robert Ray and musical director and piano accompanist Geoffrey Urquhart.    

The 60 Four

Adelaide Fringe. Top of the Ark at Arkaba Hotel and other venues. March 1 – 15, 2020

The 120+ minute tribute show presented by Adelaide’s 60’s tribute quartet, The 60 Four is a feast for the eyes and ears, and was enthusiastically embraced by a diverse age range of toe tapping, clapping music lovers. This show was loved by the ‘baby boomers’, but it is really a show for anyone who loves a beautifully presented, musically well-crafted and visually exciting tribute to some of music history’s greats.

The Pirates of Penzance in Concert

By Gilbert and Sullivan. Directed by Michael Nunn. Presented by Lynch & Patterson. Princess Theatre, 21 - 22 February, 2020

This operatic morality tale has been entertaining audiences since 1879. While a lot has changed since the Victorian era, this musical masterpiece still delights modern crowds with its lovable characters, wit and wordplay. Stage Whispers was treated to front-row seats for the latest incarnation of the Pirate King and his swashbuckling comrades. Popular singer Nathan Kneen was charming in the coveted role, without resorting to the egotistical, hammy focus-pulling some other performers have brought to the part.

H.M.S. Pinafore.

By Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert. Hayes Theatre Company. Directed by Kate Gaul. The Q, Queanbeyan. February 25–29. 2020

Peppered with Gilbert and Sullivan’s characteristically clever, rapidly enunciated songs, H.M.S. Pinafore is a musical with which G&S pursued a serious social purpose in the guise of comedy: to display the self-serving vacuity of the British class system as it existed at the time.


Blithe Spirit

By Noël Coward. Ipswich Little Theatre. Director: Kate Mallory. Incinerator Theatre, Ipswich. 27 Feb – 14 Mar 2020

In 2004 Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph said Noël Coward had written three ‘comic masterpieces’ Hay Fever, Private Lives and Blithe Spirit. The latter was created in 1941, ran five years in the West End, and was the longest-running play in London until overtaken by The Mousetrap. It was Coward taking a swipe at the fashionable pastime of Ouija boards, séances and mediums, and it still hasn’t lost its currency today.

Unsung Hero: Les Darcy – The Musical

By Chris John & Jim Paterson. Adelaide Fringe. Bamboozled Productions. The Pocket @ Stirling Fringe – Coventry Library Lawns, Stirling. February 23, 2020

Les Darcy (1895-1917) was once upon a time a revered Australian icon; now, sadly, he is largely forgotten, hence the title of Unsung Hero for this truly delightful musical version of the life of Les Darcy. On a bare stage in the small Pocket tent, three performers – Chris John, Jim Paterson, and a wonderful female singer known simply as Alex, narrate the story of Les Darcy’s brief and tragic life interspersed with new original songs and music with a distinctive Irish flair.

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