Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2019 – Dickie Beau – Unplugged -4.5*


Dickie Beau : Unplugged : photos by Claudio Raschella

‘Unplugged’ begins with an upbeat vaudevillian cabaret performance in which Dickie Beau channels the actor Kenneth Williams via brilliant lip-sync and physical performance. But the tone of the show soon shifts into something much more meditative and philosophical.

Through his masterful use of the ancient art form of mime he takes us back to our early human roots: to the beginning of human vocal interaction and its consequences. Dickie animates audio recordings of the philosopher Terence McKenna and of past festival director Peter Sellers to take us on this journey through history and time, illustrating how word and image are inextricably linked, how they can bring us closer together but also how they can drive us apart.

At times poignant and sad, at other times laugh out loud hilarious, this is an astonishing piece of theatre exhibiting great skill, inventiveness, and daring. He presents much, much more than a simple cabaret act. His timing and vocal dexterity are often mind-blowing.

The audience are kindly dealt with throughout and made to feel part of the stories he tells. We are treated to interludes of song and dance with the opportunity to sing-along/sync-along. He leads us by the hand into the lives of others, invoking Greek myth to introduce the modern day narcissist Dimitri and also ‘Echo’ : an unknown middle aged woman who, via a lost-and-found-again recording made for her lover, is brought to life before us. We listen to her voice and are amused, surprised, and maybe a bit embarrassed to be listening to something that was not intended for our ears.

Self-described Shape-Shifter/Shirt-Lifter Actor/Artist, Dickie Beau is best known for his work in alternative drag and lip-sync which he has turned into a ground-breaking artform of his own. He is also an accomplished actor of stage, tv, and film.
This is the Australian premiere of ‘Unplugged’. The final performance is tonight, 9:15pm 20th June in the Dunstan Playhouse.
4.5K

My life in Songs – Dami Im

Dunstan Playhouse – June 14th 6:30pm — 4.5 Stars

Wow what a voice  !  If you have never heard of Dami Im you probably dont know that she won The X Factor in New York in 2013 and came second in The Eurovision song contest in 2016. That she is managed by none other than Danni Minogue. And even if you were aware of these milestones in her career you probably woudnt have realised this “shy” Korean born immigrant to Australia arrived on these shores as a 9 year old classical piano prodigy entering the Conservatorium of Music  at the ripe old age of 11. That she completed her degree and ventured into a Masters in Jazz  vocals scoring her first paid gig in a Chinese restaurant playing piano then eventually as a singer.   But if you had been at this world premiere performance of “My Life In Song” you would have discovered all this and much, much more.

Dami is engaging upbeat warm and very very talented !  This night there was a full house and even Julia Z dropped in to join us.  We were treated to a selection of songs carefully chosen to represent  an event or stage in Dami’s  life and career interspersed with stories and anecdotes giving the audience an insight into the real Dami Im.  And nothing gets more real than when Dami belts out her special brand of power pop, torch songs and original offerings.  I have never heard anyone come anywhere near her amazing rendition of Purple Rain. Every song though was a highlight.  As a performer, musician and singer she is flawless !

Dami is a rare talent indeed.  We were treated to versions of her hits including Sound of Silence, Super Love and the sad and moving Crying Underwater and even some flourishes of classical piano to thoroughly entertain her appreciative audience.   Supported by her four piece backing band of Joey, Michael, Steve and Bobby, Dami pumped out a delightful version of Summertime  and even the quirky K Pop hit Gangman Style with panache, rounding off 90+ minutes of entertainment with a rousing finale of Fight For Your Love. A great performance that deserved the accolades.

Review by Gary Clarke
for Kryztoff RAW                                                 4.5stars

FRINGE 2019 – In Transience – 4K

by Riccardo Barone

“Enjoy some peaceful and gentle piano music”.

The Pianist and Composer Rich Batsford enriches the audience’s tranquillity with kind and simple chords softened by genuine melodies. Everything is In Transience, temporary, life’s unstoppable cycle, here and now, the present; and we want a nice present, free from any kind of pressure, free from the  “What’s gonna happen tomorrow” unanswered question, getting lost into a waterfall looking at the quiet soft clouds.

The concert is structured in three parts: an introduction, a group of four pieces and a finale which gives a really different color to the entire concert with its jazzy and involving resonance, sounding really like an Arrivederci, see you soon.

Rich Batsford is a clear ambassador of minimalism, a music language started by E. Satie at the beginning of the ‘900 and continued by composers like P. Glass, S. Reich, J. Adams, L. Einaudi, M. Nyman.

Kriztoff rating: 4k

FRINGE 2019 – Sound Bath – Plant Song – 5K

by Riccardo Barone

Sacred Resonance are an electronic music duo consisting of Darren Curtis and Bradley Pitt, often collaborating with the Visual Artist Jessica Curtis.

Their extremely interesting research project presented for the Fringe 2019 has been inspired by two books: The secret life of plants by P. Tompkins and The hidden geometry of flowers by K. Critchlow.

The Sacred through the Symmetry,  the research of a form of communication between plants and human beings through the unexplored possibilities of sound, Science and Art find their marriage here, where the Duo demonstrates how beans’seeds could sprout through frequencies stimulation.

The Diamond Gallery in Port Adelaide is surrounded by Jessica Curtis’s works (all based on the geometry of flowers) hanged on the walls while in the middle of the room you can see several pots with beans sprouts and headphones in between diffusing frequencies from 7000 to 20000 Hz needed to stimulate the growth.  Some specific plants around the room are wired connected to speakers in order to produce sounds when touched.

This meditation-concert allows you to lay down on yoga mats for a deeper and more comfortable experience of an hour of hypnotizing live electronic music.

Kriztoff rating: 5k

FRINGE 2019 – Septem – Bakehouse Theatre – 3K

By Julia Cudsi

‘Experimental’ theatre is one of the stalwarts of the Adelaide Fringe, and Eclipse Productions’ ‘Septem’ fits nicely within this category.

Advertised as running in ‘real time’ (which I did find somewhat confusing, given that by definition theatre is portrayed in ‘real time’), ‘Septem’ focusses on seven strangers who are locked into a room together for a reality TV show and must select, within thirty minutes, one person to take a poison pill.  Introductions, justifications and explanations start to run down the clock before decisions can be made.

The characters are fairly stereotypical and two dimensional (such as a “nice girl,” a flamboyant gay writer, a somewhat deranged young woman, an angry white man,  a sweet nerd with a physical disability) and the “twist” at the end is not as shocking as you might expect. However, the acting is solid and the concept, although not completely unique, is sufficiently unusual and topical in a world obsessed with reality television to make an impact that carries through well after the show is over.

In the context of an arts festival which originated from the celebration of up and coming local talent, ‘Septem’ is a very intriguing and thought provoking way to spend 45 minutes of your life.

3K

MICK HARVEY – Intoxicated Man

RCC Fringe  ELDER HALL – 14th March 8pm

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and text

Review By Gary Clarke                                                                                                          3 STARS

The mood was high as the virtually sell out crowd streamed into the illustrious surrounds of The Elder Hall.   Despite being kept waiting in a huge line up outside until almost half an hour after the scheduled start the audience was buzzing in expectation.  As a mix of Mick Harvey fans and Serge Gainsbourg buffs we were ready for a treat.  Having iconic Australian  music legend Mick Harvey with an enormously talented troupe of fine musicians and singers in tow was enticing enough.   Having them perform “Intoxicated Man”, the most recent contribution to Mick’s wonderful series of works centred around  Gainsbourg and his music had me considering what superlatives I might pen in my pending review of the show here.

An entourage of six men in black  took up their positions on stage with Mick Harvey at the mike. He briefly mumbled a few barely coherent words and they launched into a number.  The bass notes seemed heavy and the mid-range was swamped.   At first I thought maybe it was just a teething problem as it must be a nightmare trying to mix in such an unusual venue not designed for highly amplified rock/pop,  perhaps?   I had only seen/heard classical and acoustic music in Elder Hall previously.   Initially I had moved up to the balcony to get front centre and the best view.  Maybe that was the problem?   After about six or seven songs I moved downstairs. It was a lot better but still strangely muddy and there was a persistent loud buzzing from the Bass amp.  This continued throughout the entire performance despite a tech desperately trying to fix it much to the chagrin of Harvey.

I quizzed my companion who had seen The Tiger Lillies perform there a few nights earlier and she said even though they were similarly amplified it was crisp and clear.    I ducked out in to the foyer and chatted with a couple there who confirmed my experience.   Several other folks later concurred .

I really was not enjoying the experience.   I have highly tuned hearing devices (my bionic ears) that bring my hearing to the equivalent of 20/20 vision.   I even tried removing the devices.  It was marginally better but the muddiness and lack of coherence remained.  Damn, what a pity!   I knew quite a few of the songs and the renditions musically and creatively seemed great. “Hearing” Harvey and his troupe performing his English translations of Gainsbourg songs live should have been a delight!  It was just that it was like they were playing inside a huge invisible fluffy pillow.    Most of the audience clearly still enjoyed themselves and were enthusiastically applauding and at times singing along.   I guess they were determined to get their $59 worth!

As I said, the performances seemed to be going well in themselves apart for some minor communication pips.  The six men in black were joined by six women also predominantly in black and the musical interplay was tight and professional  They were punching out some great Gainsbourg classics and some creatively reworked numbers.  I racked my brains trying to figure how to write this review but I couldn’t find an excuse for the audiological inconsistencies.  I wanted to be generous because I could tell that the performances were actually very good.   In the end I can only give it three stars.   I would love to see the whole thing again under better conditions.   Fortunately this review was for a one off performance at Adelaide Fringe 2019 so it will not affect the ticket sales.   As for me I am going home to listen to my recordings of Harvey doing Gainsbourg and my old Serge Gainsbourg CDs and downloads.

Review By GARY CLARKE    for Kryztoff RAW                                             3  STARS 

 

 

 

 

DELIA OLEM and EAGLEHEART

DELIA OLEM and EAGLEHEART 

Nexus Arts – 6pm Sun March10th

review by Gary Clarke – 5 Stars

Delia Olem is a multi talented performer equally at home in theatre, cabaret, music, as a singer, lyricist,writer and Cellist. On this night she also introduced us to an Appalachian dulcimer crafted by her father. The premise of the show centres mainly around the translated verse of mid 19th century Persian poet, activist and revolutionary Tahirih. A woman who defied convention to spark a fire of change for the equality and dignity of all.

The Persian King was so smitten he even offered to marry her if she would give up her quest. To her credit she stood her ground despite the consequences. Such a perfect icon to represent the aspirations of all women and indeed a saner more truly equitable world in the wake of the recent celebration of International Women’s Day.

Delia is joined on stage by Eagleheart Birdsong masterfully playing Cello and Double Bass together with some beautiful heartfelt singing. This show was designed as a vehicle to launch their latest album and was a sold out, one show only performance which Delia described as the birth of a new collaboration. With more albums to come.

Nexus as a venue is perfect for performance especially music and the human voice. The sound system, mixing and acoustics were top notch despite some very minor anomalies that were handled with grace, aplomb and good humour by our hosts.

The atmosphere was warm and friendly and the audience were so obviously primed to enjoy this performance. Delia’s father, mother, her 3 children and the graphic artist who painted the backdrop to the stage which features on the cover of the new album were joined by many loyal fans to welcome this talented duo to the stage.

Delia was delightful, both as a raconteur/comedian and as a singer/musician, entertaining us with tales and observations of life and love. Eagleheart was the ideal accompaniment. Her voice a perfect match with Delia’s while she skillfully stroked her Cello into a beautiful soundscape with Delia’s rapturous voice taking flight. The music and song expressed such emotional complexity one’s heart could do nought but also take wing. At one stage Delia coaxed her dad to join her to sing the male role in a Persian ballad. His voice was lovely and the combination of the 3 voices weaved beautifully through the song.

Eagleheart switched to Double Bass and things got “sassy” Delia reached down into her soul and belted out songs in French, Spanish, English and even Tahitian!

The audience were co-opted into participating in a brilliant Tahitian folk song about breadfruit. This was a lesson in dancing Tahitian style using our hand gestures to tell the story. And all 150 of us joined in as one, waving our arms in harmony and singing. Then we did it all in Spanish! The warmth and love in the room was palpable.

As the night closed in all good things must end and a highlight for me was the penultimate song , “Separation”, a poignant moving tale of loss as Tahirih’s life is about to end. It was deeply emotionally moving and it sent shivers down my spine.

Delia and Eagleheart closed the set with “Wondrous Vision” which we are told speaks to the relationship between the two performers in their music. It was rythmic, poetic, uplifting and inspirational. And I wasn’t alone. The audience were enraptured, delivering a rousing standing ovation.

And as Delia informed us “we have witnessed the birth of it” the birth of something special. Delia Olem and Eagleheart is a revelation and the future augurs well for their precociously talented progeny.

Review by

GARY CLARKE Kryztoff RAW – 5 stars

FRINGE 2019 – Benchmarks – The Breakout at the Mill – 3.5K

Alexander Ewers

Benchmarks is a thought-provoking theatre piece that whilst imperfect in delivery, excels in its ability to create collisions of the unlikely.

Ivan, veteran of homelessness, faces a disruptive crisis with the unexpected advent of teenage truant, Luke. Their disparate trajectories intersect in the darkest hour of the night; an hour when animal suspicion vies with the primal need for companionship; the hour in which reality and fantasy break their bounds and being to blur. Amidst the terrifying blackness, a graffiti scrawled park bench stands as a solitary concrete idea adrift in the unknown. It is to this bench that the two protagonists cling, and around it that their conflict frets and rages.

Benchmarks is ostensibly about homelessness. John Hincks portrays the character Ivan convincingly. Ivan stirs that insidious blend of pity and fascinated indifference to which benumbed state of limbo the homeless are often consigned by the passer-by. The character feels believable. The evinced response feels authentic. Luke too (played by Chris Phillip) brings a realism to his role, the tangency of hubris and misplaced passion that typify teenage angst. From a production perspective, the show’s simplicity of set design and production achieves a sense of the empty void in which the dialogues and conflicts of the plot unfold. It is a story that shines strongly in moments of powerful oratory and theatrical performance. Benchmarks does however, tread a little closely at times to the edge of credibility. Some scenes lack heart or seem disjointed. In particular, some of Luke’s interactions with Ivan feel contrived, perhaps attributable in part to shallow script-writing content and perhaps in part to the manner of spoken delivery. Whilst Luke felt most convincing during his monologue sections, Ivan conversely felt less nuanced and developed during his solo tirades. Rather, his strongest scenes were those of shared dialogues, during which he owned not just his character but the entire stage atmosphere. Such dissatisfactions, although not entirely stalling the momentum of the performance, did make for instances of distraction from the singularity of audience investment in the themes being woven.

Said themes range far more widely than simply an expose on homelessness. Benchmarks is about a meeting of opposites, and yet one that is less about negation than about perspective challenging. Hope encounters not hopelessness, but cynicism. Physical power does not overcome, but is met with mental subjugation. Youth encounters the agility rather than the infirmity of age. This paradigm shift is transmitted to the audience experience, most notably with regard to the inanimate centrepiece of the show, the eponymous bench. The bench is no ordinary pew. It is at once a home, a kingdom, a bed, a refuge, a judicial dais. It is the context for critical analysis of societal norms, of sources of meaning, of life purpose. It is both materially real and a morphing construct on which is hung the fabric of the show.

Benchmarks is a show that, even if imperfect, stimulates thought. What makes for homelessness? Why do the homeless remain homeless? What do the homeless think? At curtain call, one is left with a novel desire: to collide worlds with a homeless citizen and sit a while on their bench. To ask them about the graffiti in their lives. To ask the meaning of the marks on their bench.

Kryztoff Rating 3.5K

FRINGE 2019: Neel Kolhatkar – Live – 3.5K

By Anthony Nguyen

With over 1.2 million followers across social media, Sydney-based Neel Kolhatkar is experienced in the Australia comedy circuit having made a name for himself through his popular Youtube channel and years of comedy shows. After a big year highlighting his comedic talent on TV, Kolhatkar returns to Adelaide and steps back on stage with his live stand-up comedy show for the 2019 Adelaide Fringe.

Kolhatkar is a brash comedian and his humour stems from his experience being a short man from an Indian cultural background. He effortlessly delivers his confrontational and uncensored comedy style with quips spanning topics over his experiences as an Indian man, his past relationships, and changing gender roles in Australian society and culture. Not for the faint-hearted or easily offended, Kolhatkar’s cynical persona and tongue-in-cheek humour will often push the boundary of what you can consider comedy.

Though some jokes pushed a bit too far and did not always land with the audience, Kolhatkar works off the individual interactions with audience members very well and cleverly plays off the crowd’s response. By adopting a desensitized mind, Neel’s crude comedy will open you up areas of comedy that will leave you uncomfortably laughing at the shock of it.

Situated at the Rhino RoomNeel Kolhatkar runs his comedy show as a part of 2019 Adelaide Fringe every night until the 16th of March. On the off-chance you do miss his show this year, you can always easily see more of his hilarious videos on his Youtube comedy channel.

Kryztoff Rating: 3.5K

FRINGE 2019 – “A Total Cop Out” – The Adelaide Room at the Duke of Brunswick Hotel – 3K

By Julia Cudsi

Improv shows have long been a staple of the Adelaide Fringe. Generally inexpensive, they provide an excellent night out for audience members who want to have a few drinks and laugh at side-splittingly funny people making hilarious things up on the spot. As long as improv artists do not stray too far from the winning formula of a loose concept + audience participation + adult themes and swear words + crazy accents, generally nothing can go wrong.

And very little did go wrong with Tenuous Link’s debut performance of “A Total Cop Out”. Requiring the audience to supply a crime (in our case, body snatching), an expert (somewhat dubiously, a Sherlock Holmes-ian sound expert) and a location (an excellently selected “dirty youth hostel”), this formed the premise of an hour-long show involving a dastardly criminal hellbent on stealing cadavers and selling them to medical students to work on in hospitals (credibility was strained somewhat when a murder was committed in a hospital, only for the fresh corpse presumably to be sold back to … the same hospital?!). Along for the ride were some hearing dogs who met a very sad fate, =a sound engineer with significant familial and self-esteem issues, a detective on her fourth day and various other misfits including a series of Fitbit-style murder weapons including an exercise shovel and exercise knife.

I have seen the cast of Tenuous Link on many previous occasions and in many different iterations, and am almost always impressed at their quick wit and ability to draw together a coherent storyline. “A Total Cop Out” was certainly an entertaining way to while away an hour. Having said that, at times the performance came off as a little amateur and, well, improvised. Given the genre, this is not necessarily a criticism – but if you are expecting a show that is absolutely polished and well rehearsed I would suggest that you attend some scripted theatre.

If you are looking for some adventure and a great way to spend an evening laughing (and groaning) at jokes, you might as well do so at “A Total Cop Out”.

3K