FRINGE 2021 – Ange Lavoipierre: Zealot – Gluttony – 4K

Do you believe in God? What about Santa? In that case, why not a Christmas demon called Krampus or a “slutty Blue Google Maps Dot”?

Comedian and Journalist Ange Lavoipierre of The Signal fame asks these questions – the same ones she asked her mum when she was 10, just before she was converted by a group of extremist Christians.

In Zealot, Lavoipierre plots her life’s course from young wannabe witch, through to young Crusader, on past her experience of being a 12-year-old groomed by a 21-year-old Pastor’s son, sailing by a bout of serious illness in her teens, and landing right here, telling her story and questioning how easily we believe what we’re told.

This hour of comedy storytelling borders on the absurd, niche brand of character-driven laughs that make Fringe theatre great. Fleshing out her bizarre cast of characters with spot-on voices and great costume changes, Lavoipierre’s show is at it’s best when it’s at it’s craziest. It’s in these moments, often through the guise of other people, that the funniest (and somehow the most poignant) stories are told.

Hampered by tech issues, noise bleed from neighbouring venues in Gluttony (Zealot is in one of Gluttony’s new open air venues), wind blowing half the props away, and as Lavoipierre herself put it, time away from the show, this hour of comedy wasn’t at it’s snappiest. Some lines were missed or fumbled, and there were sections where it was hard to hear over the chorus of WAP occurring in a nearby show. This, at times, seemed to through Lavoipierre off her game.

Having said that, there were plenty of laughs, great characters, and an engaging story from a fantastic performer. Just sit back, pray to Krampus, and bring an extra jacket. Tarot readings encouraged.

Kryztoff rating: 4K

ADLFRINGE2021 – BasketballMan can Fly – The Garage International @ Adelaide Town Hall – 4.5K

The Fringe always brings some extremely unique talent, and ‘Basketball Man Can Fly’ certainly delivers.

The show follows the extremely affable BasketballMan (aka Rashaun Daniels), who dreamed of playing for the NBA but, in his own words ‘came up short’. Instead, he focused his energies on perfecting his handling of the basketball, and honed his skills into being able to perform jaw-dropping feats of coordination.

Genuinely hilarious and breath-takingly impressive, BasketballMan makes it seem as though he really can do whatever he wants with the basketball – and can even fly while saving the world.

Based on both the raucous laughter heard from the young audience and the number of starry-eyed kids in basketball jerseys lined up outside after the performance, he certainly delivered.

This show is truly enjoyable for young and old, but will truly delight sporty kids between the ages of approximately 6 and 12.

An absolute must-see of this year’s Fringe.

4.5K

Lost Lives – Holden Street – 3.5K

By Ben Watson

A blood-stained bed idles the stage floor as the audience awaits the hard-hitting two-hander to come, Lost Lives. The vacant mattress marks the brutal death of a young woman, Jane Kelly. On the verdict day of her murder trial, an unlikely forensic cleaning duo begin their work – an elderly lady nearing her tether and a young Muslim boy. Despite Immediate friction between the pair, as the story progresses, similarities become apparent while mutually shared hardships emerge. Both characters struggle with loneliness and finding a sense of belonging in a morbid field of work and an ever-evolving society. A clever script normalizes the abnormal (domestic violence, murder) in order to highlight the subliminal challenges experienced by all.

a close up of a book

Humour seeps through the bleak plot in the form of both intergenerational and cultural conflict. Among the contrasting factors, a seemingly cold environment evolves into a safe space for intimate, vulnerable discussions. Unexpected twists and turns await as the story unfolds.

Frontline investigators aside, this drama offers an interesting perspective from the unsung cleaners of every grisly crime-scene. A thought-provoking play, delivering a pertinent message –  of moving beyond racial, cultural and generational stereotypes, embracing everyday commonalities. Simply put – don’t judge a book by its cover. Recommended for ages 18+, violent themes.

3.5K

DIRT – Holden Street – 4K

By Peter Maddern

When a 20 something Australian journalist (Wil King) follows up his similarly aged Russian tour guide (Patrick Livesey) after a museum visit a cat and mouse drama unfurls. At one level, can these lads confess and consummate lives as gays, on the other, what is the real story of homosexual repression in Chechnya that needs to be told?

King’s almost naive innocence in a world where the rules are very different to those at home is very becoming against Livesey’s battle scarred wariness in his homeland. The threat of state sanction in Russia more or less mirrors the risk of getting it wrong and being outed that still pervades gay relationships in Australia.

The creation of various personas to get what each wants adds to the tension, underlining the confusion and fraught nature of moving hooking up to some of relationship no matter the setting.

Both actors do a great job, being comfortable in their roles, no doubt helped by they being real life partners. The spare stage, bar the couch, is cleverly and convincingly used as the chase scurries across the space. Not completely convinced the ending is the best possible but no doubt playwright Angus Cameron agonised over that more than enough.

Another excellent headline act at Holden Street.

Kryztoff Rating    4K

FRINGE 2021 – Attenborough and his Animals – Hillside Theatre at Gluttony – 3K

By Belle Dunning

As you recline on a grassy hillside in Rymill Park, Clownfish Theatre cleverly bring to life a cast of animals from David Attenborough’s most iconic films with nothing but their two bodies. Making use of one of Gluttony’s new outdoor stages, ‘Attenborough and his Animals’ is a fun, light-hearted exploration of theatrical comedy. 

Jess Clough-MacRae is incredibly skilful in her imitation of a motley assortment of wildlife, capturing your imagination with cleverly choreographed body movements, hilarious facial expressions and mind-blowingly good sound effects (a particular highlight being a fight to the death between a crab and an eel), while Jonathan Tilley has meticulously perfected the signature lilt of Attenborough’s voice.

The two are dynamic in their interactions with one another and the audience, blending moments of absolute hilarity with the heart-warming vibe you expect from a wholesome nature doco. 

Perfect for die-hard Attenborough fans, but a fun night out for the whole family, Attenborough and his Animals is showing in Gluttony until Sunday 7 March. 

Kryztoff Rating 3K

ADLFRINGE2021 – Shake It – Gluttony – 3.5K

Nothing screams Friday night like a variety burlesque show deep in the heart of Gluttony, and this show  certainly delivers.

‘Shake It’ is a combination of the most raucous, wild and titillating acts of the 2021 Fringe. Not for the faint of heart, there is nonetheless something for everyone (over the age of 18 at least) – including seductive striptease, amazing hula hoop acts, and a very creatively used popcorn machine, and much, much more.

The act of the night almost certainly was the whip-cracking dominatrix, borrowed for the show from the delightful Rouge. 

If you’re looking for an entertaining, fun and adult way to spend an evening, ‘Shake It’ is a great option.

3.5K

 

ADLFRINGE2021 – COLLISION – Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute – 3.5K

By Ben Watson

Collision | Adelaide FringeFollowing a very gloomy 2020 for performance-based creatives, Collision is a pleasant reminder of what talent remains prevalent within the Australian arts sector. The show bustles and weaves through a myriad of hip-hop moves, circus skills and cheap gags. With their six-person team, several wonderfully fast and engaging scenes unfold. The choreography is particularly satisfying, a countless sea of eye-catching moves landed with exceptional timing.

Among sections of group dancing, each of the Brisbane-based crew is given the spotlight, successfully keeping the audience interested whilst aptly segmenting the show. Highlights include a brilliant hula hoop display closely followed by a contortionist act that reminded me of 1973 film, The Exorcist. Although some scenes were drawn out a touch, Collision can be fairly summarised as high energy, rocket-fuelled fun.

The soundscape was loud (sometimes painfully so), but overall evoked plenty of excitement to accompany the wowing spectacles amidst.

Certainly a versatile, promising bunch with an enormous collective skillset. A viewing for all ages (not The Exorcist, that movie is most definitely R18+).

3.5K

ADLFRINGE2021 – 1000 Doors: Door within A Door – Garden of Unearthly Delights – 3K

Following on from the huge success of House of Mirrors, 1000 Doors: Door within a Door is an entertaining art installation where the devil is in the detail.

Based on the queue to get in, clearly this is a show that people are interested in, as they should be. However, calling it a maze with endless possibilities might be a bit of a stretch, as there is a fairly linear progression through the show. Certainly the atmosphere is haunting, with eerie photos, spooky sounds and a general sense of unease .

If you are looking for an entertaining and creepy way to spend 20 minutes, and a great way to add to your Garden of Unearthly Delights experience, this is a show to take in. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a special trip to the Garden just to see this installation.

3K

ADLFRINGE2021 – ELIXIR – Wonderland Spiegeltent, Festival Hub – 4.5K

The Adelaide Fringe has a long and wonderful history of providing fabulous “adult” circus acts, so one would be forgiven for feeling that this kind of show has become a little stale. This is most emphatically not the the case for the delightful ELIXIR, presented by Head First Acrobats.

Set in a futuristic lab, the show follows three intrepid scientists using themselves as guinea pigs for a mysterious “elixir” which promises superhuman powers.

Demonstrating many of the usual aspects of physical performances, including stunning acrobatics, aerial work and feats of strength, the show is nonetheless also filled with clever adult humour, impressive tricks, and a genuinely entertaining vibe.

If you think you have seen one adult circus and you’ve seen them all, you’d be wrong on this occasion. Do yourself a favour and have a date night at ELIXIR.

4.5K

ADLFRINGE2021 – Faulty Towers The Dining Experience – Adelaide Oval Pavilion – 5K

Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience is exactly as the name implies: Based on the classic British TV series, this immersive show aims to pull you through the television screen and into the chaotic life of Basil, Sybil and Manuel as they run their tired old hotel.

As someone who has watched Fawlty Towers a million times and seen this live show before, I was interested to see how it had grown and changed over the years.

The Performance

As a fan, it’s always a concern that impressions of beloved characters could be cringe-worthy or cheesy, but this is not the case at all. The trio has perfected the quirks and mannerisms of these beloved characters. Even their voices are pretty spot-on – everything from Basil’s grumble to Sybil’s laugh seems to hit just right.

As you walk in the door, you’re immediately immersed in the chaos as you’re shown to your seats. The ensemble has an excellent way of balancing out Basil’s sour attitude with Sybil’s motherly nature and Manuel’s idiocy.  Basil might scold you for wearing a Pokemon jacket while Sybil snaps at him to relax and tells you about her upcoming golf trip. In the background, the incompetent Manuel rolls on his plate, rather than serving bread rolls.  The show is improvised with little nods to the original TV series in a way that makes you feel nostalgic without feeling like you’ve seen it all before.

The Food

As a dining experience, it’s probably worth mentioning the food. The original venue I attended years ago had enjoyable food, but nothing memorable. This time, however, the food was absolutely delicious… especially the sweet potato and ginger soup, which I am still dreaming about 24 hours later. To experience such a great show with a three-course meal of such high quality is absolutely worth the ticket price.

The Venue

The Adelaide Oval Pavilion seemed to be a major upgrade from the hotel venue I had originally attended all those years ago. Located in Adelaide, the venue is just far enough out of the city that traffic during Fringe time wasn’t an impossible nightmare to navigate.

But the one venue drawback is that it really needed better signage. In searching for the Pavilion, my partner and I formed a camaraderie with fellow event-goers as we timidly searched for the space within the walls of the Adelaide Oval. It was confusing and a little frustrating, especially since I had worn uncomfortable new shoes. This was not the artists’ fault, of course – they had apparently requested signage that Adelaide Oval did not provide, and the artists did not choose my shoes. But it is certainly worth mentioning that if you, like me, had never been to this venue before, to come a bit early so you can comfortably park and make the trek around the oval while you figure out where the hell you’re supposed to go.

Overall…

Whether or not you’re a fan of the original series, this dining experience is absolutely worth your time. Get your tickets, sit back, relax and enjoy being served by the best worst hospitality staff Adelaide has ever seen.

 

5K