RIO 40 : Fringe 2023 : 4K

An Aussie tourist, wide-eyed and somewhat gormless, arrives in Rio ready for adventure.

Rio-born internationally renowned choreographer Talita Fontainha enthusiastically introduced her team of mainly South Australian performers and invited us all to join the party.

With a backdrop of scenes of Rio, the high energy dance routines were accompanied by upbeat music and song. There was a nod to the classics : Brazilian and western along with more modern songs. The action ranged across the many aspects of the city : the dynamism, glamour, culture and zest for living of the locals but also the poverty, crime, police brutality and corruption. There was even a voodoo practitioner who delighted the audience by loudly and colourfully intruding on the proceedings from time to time.

The cast appeared to revel in performing and this added to the feel-good nature of the show. Their energy and the choreography were impressive, as were the regular rapid-fire costume changes. There were acrobatic displays which, although very skilled, were perhaps unnecessary. I felt that they interfered with the storyline and tempo of the rest of the show. The finale was, of course, Carnivale with all the glitz and glamour that conjures up.

This is a show that can be enjoyed by all ages.
Rio 40 is happening at Nexus until March 10th and then at The Lab on the 11th and 17th March

A Place That Belongs to Monsters – Fringe 2023 – 5K

The Treasury Courtyard on a balmy Adelaide evening. Hidden away from the bustle of the city with a honeysuckle-like scent wafting over us from a nearby tree and the lovely voice of Brenda Lee serenading us with “The End of the World”. In a world within a world, the stage was set for an hour of magical storytelling from Casey Jay Andrews.

This is a reimagining of the biblical story of the four horsemen of the apocalypse : famine, war, conquest and death.
Set in her hometown of Bracknell ‘A Place That Belongs To Monsters” features four strong willed females dealing with their anger and frustration at different stages of life : child, adolescent, middle aged and elderly.
The story is also filled with horses : wild and tame, on carousels and moneyboxes, painted on the sides of coaches. All riding into the apocalypse.

With her usual charm and warmth Casey takes her audience with her down convoluted paths of individual grief, loss and hope. We travel alongside her characters as they strive to find ways to change their stories, to make things come good again. Along the way we learn about lightning, super cell storms, not to rely on the protection of church bells, and even exploding churches.

As unflappable as ever, when part of the tale was impinged upon by the loud, strident and persistent wailing of sirens Casey simply smiled and told us to hold on to that sound, to save it for later when it would be a necessary part of the tale. Thus using the tension to help the tension build.

Warning us that lightning can strike the same place twice and that the electricity discharged traces a memory that resembles the roots of a tree spreading in all directions, she took the strands of the four individual stories and wove them slowly together, building to a dramatic finale where all her protagonists converge in space and time.

Beautiful writing and delivery was enhanced by the expert and subtle compositions, sound and gentle lighting. Entranced and enclosed within the membrane of the story we barely noticed the evening falling around us.

Treasury 1860 – Courtyard Until March 12th

Leather Lungs : Higher Love – Fringe 2023 – 4.5K

The stupendous voice of this outrageously original anarchic chanteuse and raconteur took us on a journey through their recent and traumatic romantic past. Which was much much more fun than that sounds. Truly, for him, laughter is the best medicine (along with lashings of love from family and friends). The vocal gymnastics were truly amazing as his voice soared to the heights and plummeted to the depths from one beautiful line to the next, from character to character.

Leather Lungs aka Jason Chasland wields his extraordinary and powerful voice (a 4 octave vocal range) and huge heart to take the audience on a wild emotional ride. The songs range from the soft and gentle to the dramatically fierce as he traverses this territory. Any tension is ultimately broken by the likes of the hilarious rendition of Old MacDonald (is there any sound this human cannot convincingly recreate, or improve upon?), self-deprecating humour and/or facial gymnastics. With innuendo and classical drag tropes he has his audience laughing throughout.

Regaling us with stories of his recent emergence from a toxic relationship and attempts at dating again, his appreciation of the support of his audience came across as heartfelt, reciprocal, and genuine.

Adorned in a flamboyant costume (made by his mum) Jason embodied the spirit of “the show must go on!”.

Hurry or miss out. Leather Lungs Adelaide season is set to finish on Sunday March 5th. Appearing at The Lark, Gluttony, Rymill Park.

The Purple Rabbit Rides Again – Fringe 2023 – 4K

Take a wild ride down the rabbit hole with a fluffle of super talented performers in this upbeat high energy show.

With great music, special effects and a charismatic cast the audience were hooked and keen to be involved from the start.
Dom Chambers, the Fake Wizard, tied the show together with humour and displays of his beer-based talents. Angie Sylvia with her fiery bubble bursting burlesque was balanced out by Pipsa the fabulously unflappable Finnish foot juggler. Lulled into a false sense of security we were then confronted by Harper, the hilarious and somewhat scary psychic-sexual-psychologist (don’t worry, she’s a professional, trained at the Byron Bay Institute of Alternative Sciences). Reuben Moreland grounded us with his more classic magic skills and clever wit.

A combination of magic, comedy, circus and burlesque makes the Purple Rabbit much more than the average magic show (something I’ve always avoided after seeing endless card tricks which always left me wondering… WHY?). Okay, the card tricks were quite intriguing and the brief inclusion of a screen and a description of split attention and sleight of hand (and other body parts) by Reuben was informative for a novice such as myself.

But wait, there was more : a game show segment, dick pics, art therapy…
This international cast of talented individuals worked well together and indeed their finale involved a menage-a-five with them all performing the same card trick at the same time with different sections of the audience, with surprising results.

The Purple Rabbit Rides Again contains adult themes and it might be best to leave the little bunnies at home.
Catch them in the Vagabond, Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 19th.

The Party – Fringe 2023 – 5K

We were invited to a party – and that is it certainly what it was. The Party conjured up memories of all the parties I’ve ever been to (and some that I’ve missed out on!). All the usual suspects were there including the inevitable gatecrasher, the crazies, the show-offs, the practical jokers, and the lovelorn.

With a great set, costumes, music and lighting we were treated to fabulous song and dance routines, acrobatics and humour all woven into the storyline of a wild night. There was romance, jealousy, fights, sex and even a talking toilet. The audience were ready to party along (the usual Adelaide reserve was not evident) and were skillfully included in the fun from the very beginning.

With fast-paced high energy performances happening all around us it was often hard to know where to focus one’s attention, just as at a great party you could feel that you might be missing out on something even better through another doorway. Although the only way to look was up when the talented aerialist was swooping and diving above our heads.

The Spiegeltent in the Garden of Unearthly Delights was the ideal venue. The show spans 120 minutes with a 20 minute intermission included and there is a bar for refreshments.

The Party is classified R18+ with (lots of) adult themes including nudity and is not recommended for the prudish or fainthearted. Showing until March 19th.

Laurie Black : Dystopiano – Fringe 2023 – Cabaret – 5K

Laurie Black is back for the first time since 2019 with her digital piano and original synthrock songs. What has she been doing? : touring with Adam Ant and planning a trip to the moon of course.
Make sure to catch her at the Fringe if, like me, you are weary of the seemingly endless supply of tribute shows and are looking for something original and groundbreaking.
A classically trained pianist and talented vocalist Laurie entertains with wit and humour and passion. Angry at the world and its stupidities she uses her useless apocalypse skill of sound synthesis to air her opinions on how cool it would be to be an amoeba, and about ‘space junk’, unnecessary body parts and much much more.
With wit, humour and charm she engages her audience and even gets them involved in a sing-a-long. Her Euro-Hi-Vision frock is also a must see.

Dystopiano is happening at the Bally, Gluttony until March 12th.
You can also find Laurie as compere and performer at the Bad Luck Cabaret until March 18th.

Kryztoff Rating 4.5K

Fringe 2023 : Creme de la Creme : The Vault, Fools Paradise : 5K

Unsure about what to see at the Fringe? Creme de la Creme is a great place to start because the show features a variety of superbly talented artists who are all appearing elsewhere across the Fringe. Expect to see performances by aerialists, magicians, acrobats, and jugglers combined with lashings of hilarity.

Presented by Head First Acrobats in the Vault (think vaulted ceiling as opposed to dark & dingy crypt) at Fools Paradise, this is an interesting geodesic dome performance space (airconditioned) where all the seats appear to afford good views of the action. (Cushions recommended on the firm seats, but that said, being skinny… I take one with me everywhere I go).

All the performances on Saturday night were top class, very professional with
brilliant timing, coordination and stage presence. It would be difficult for me to pick my favourite act but Imogen (Rise of the Olive) with her wine and candles and Olivia Porter (Party Ghost) with her darkly bizarre juggling act were standouts. Paul Dabek (London Calling) is a very funny magician and improviser. Faye and Ant (Love, Life, Laundry) have fun turning circus stereotypes on their head with their clever genderbending acrobatics. There was wonderful hoopwork from both Chelsea Angel and Annie. Shaunah Johnson is a fabulous aerialist who thrilled the audience with her work on the silks. Apologies to anyone I’ve missed : you were all great.

The M.C tied all the acts together seamlessly with wit and humour and also treated us to a very funny/very gross demonstration of the Head First Acrobats RAT test technique.
The lighting and music complemented the acts.
All in all this was a fun and entertaining experience.

Kryztoff Rating 5K

NANNA-STASIA – Eleanor Stankiewicz – Rhino Room – 4K

By Peter Maddern

The venue may suggest this is a comedy act but in truth Eleanor Stankiewicz’s Nanna- Stasia is so much more and accordingly deserves a bigger stage – and audience.

The Nanna Stasis in question is Eleanor’s grandmother and this is a tale of trying to get to know a life story from someone who is not very willing to part with it. Through fantasy, arising from a Disney film about someone of a similar background and through research of what exactly life was like in Lithuania, her nanna’s homeland, Eleanor beautifully and poignantly draws out the pieces of that story and brings them together as best she can.

Aided by a pianist and her well drilled musical theatre training, Stankiewicz moves seamlessly from song to sadness, and comedy to cabaret. This is an admirable take about losing the stories of elders who are passing on and having the courage and often the compassion to seek them out before it’s too late. In the current Eastern European turmoil it is also a timely reminder of a nasty world that is no longer that far away – both geographically and in time.

In truth, this work deserves better production values on a stage with more gravitas. What it can certainly do without is the use of a microphone; Eleanor Stankiewicz has more than enough talent and projection to get her excellent show across and most probably deliver a bigger punch without the any of the amplification.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

THE 60 FOUR – Norwood Concert Hall – 3.5K

By Peter Maddern

Drama actor, Ben Francis’ creation – The 60 Four – is certainly a massive thing, with nine band members joining Adelaide’s own fab four on stage. The Norwood Concert Hall is an ideal venue to belt out the tunes that their audience of aging boomers clearly relished. The harmonies uplift, the choruses get you moving, the arrangements are tight and add depth to what were very likely first recorded on just four tracks.

While the title may suggest this is just a Beatles tribute night, the gang start off with The Four Seasons but in sets of two or three make their way through the likes of the Bee Gees, Van Morrison and Simon Garfunkel and that is just before interval.

Ben certainly deserves credit for bringing such a big undertaking to the stage and more for taking the show around various city and state-wide venues.

Kryztoff Rating   3.5K


By Peter Maddern

Henry Naylor’s works are somewhat of an annual treat at our Fringe and he and the Holden Street team must be congratulated on being willing to take on Fortress Australia when the decision to come was made. Still, given the subject matter of this work, Australian border control is somewhat of a trifling obstacle.

In more recent times, Henry has taken on a performing role as well and this year it is his own one man show. Twenty years ago, Henry goes to Afghanistan to find out what is going on in the new American inspired conflict there in the wake of 9/11 and to report ‘the truth’. In this delightful mix of humour, honesty and horror, we learn a lot about what journalists in war zones see, what they let us see and what remains seen only by the combatants themselves.

Sanitising imagery for western sensibilities has no doubt contributed to the obsession of many with some of today’s esoteric interests; with the real world biffo in Ukraine playing itself out now in the internet age perhaps we have an opportunity to better balance our priorities and Afghanistan in not Funny is one, albeit coincidental way, to start reshaping those perspectives.

Lecture and laments aside, Afghanistan is masterful story telling delivered by one who knows is subject matter intensely as both writer and witness. It is as consistently engrossing a piece as I have seen from Henry Naylor’s pen over the past 15 years.

A true highlight in troublesome times and a truncated Fringe.

Kryztoff Rating:  5K