Feb 25

FRINGE 2017 – 80s Kid’s Disco – Royal Croquet Club – 4K

The title of this show is pretty gosh-darn self-explanatory: a disco, for kids, set to 80s music. Bam. That’s exactly what’s offered, and exactly what is delivered by Austrian DJ Peter Baecker.

Armed with hundreds of balloons (reminiscent of the iconic 80s peace ballad 99 Luftballons) and a vast array of era-appropriate wigs, costumes and other props for all attendees to go nuts with, this free-form dance show is great fun for young kids and *ahem* slightly older parents who may or may not remember the 80s in all their glory to groove along to.

My only complaint? 45 minutes is far too short. This show could easily have gone at least twice as long.

It may have been good to leave the 80s fashion behind in the Ukiyo tent, but walking away from the show was definitely disappointing. Warning – be prepared to explain what a cassette is in the car on the way home.

4K

Feb 25

FRINGE 2017 – 2nd National Maestro Impro Games – Live on 5, Adelaide Oval – 4K

A regular contributor on the Adelaide comedy and theatre circuit, On the Fly Impro’s latest offering, the 2nd National Maestro Impro Games, follows on – somewhat logically – from 2016’s inaugural Games. Self-described as the “Hunger Games” approach towards finding Australia’s best improv artiste (at least, amongst those present in the room at the time of the show), the concept is simple – more than a dozen actors enter the arena, armed with not even a script, and are required to compete in a variety of completely improvised scenes as their numbers are whittled down through audience voting until only the one true winner remains. The background and circumstances to each scene are provided by two directors, also part of the comedy troupe, and audience suggestions.

Improv is generally one of the most entertaining forms of live entertainment, and observing these very talented – and brave! – actors is often hilarious and always impressive. The only downside of the voting format is that occasionally weaker players are boosted by other players in their skits, and remain part of the competition for longer than other, stronger players, who in turn are eliminated much too early.

You may not know exactly what format your evening will take, but you can guarantee that you will laugh out loud, cringe and sit on the edge of your seat during this show.

4K

 

 

Feb 25

FRINGE 2017 – Prohibition – Gluttony – 4K

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As soon as you enter the Speakeasy in Gluttony, you’re told that you’ve gone back into time to Paddy’s in 1930s prohibition era Chicago. You’re introduced to a range of characters, each bringing their own comedic, sultry elements to the party.

With a mixture of acrobatics, magic tricks, cabaret, and stand up, Prohibition has something for everyone. The Speakeasy venue works really well for the theme of the show; it’s an intimate space that draws the audience in to the death-defying feats that will have you on the edge of your seat.

The show thrives on its audience participation. Minnie Maneater pulls a couple out of the audience and really goes for it; the Hunchback pulled a guy out of the audience and even let him fire a small crossbow during the act. The cast put a lot of faith in their audience, and it pays off in spades – the audience were whooping, cheering, and bent over double with laughter.

There were a couple of missteps in the show – an audience member that ended up on the floor during a trick (however, she promptly gave it another go), a couple of tricks accidentally revealed – but for the most part Prohibition still manages to dazzle and entertain.

If you’re looking for a great night out and a show that has a mixture of everything, give Prohibition a go. It’s funny, entertaining, and will have you on the edge of your seat.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

Feb 25

FRINGE MUSIC / WORLD MUSIC – THE STRING FAMILY AUSTRALIA TOUR – 5K

by Riccardo Barone 

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Miracle! That’s because a family performing music on a stage is able to create a secret harmonic veil of pure sensations that surround  your aura.
The youngest is twelve years old and it is surprising where she found the time to practice and play the violin in such a mature way. The elder is fourteen and his touch on the cello is still resounding in the elegant premise. Mother and father lead the quartet playing the cello and the violin.

Unusual setting for a standard string quartet which requires two violins, viola and a cello, but this one presented by the String Family results in something  absolutely amazing and characteristic. Just because the two cellos double each other quite rarely. Plus in some pieces is present a pre-recorded base which enrich the terrific performance.

The repertoire slides from the evergreens to classical, without any limit, wisely arranged by the quartet.
Nicely storytelling the beginning of their fantastic adventure, the mother, which is the leader, enchant and conquer the audience with the elegance and the refinement of her touch giving to everyone special memories to bring back home at the end of the concert.

Kryztoff Rating  5K

Feb 25

FRINGE CIRCUS – Attic – Tandanya – 5K

5e9b70ed15d956b057e955b6d684fa20By Peter Maddern

Circus, or “physical theatre” as it is known in polite circles, has increasingly become the ‘go to’ act for venue operators and producers; witness Limbo, Soap and Blanc de Blanc stuffed all together in this year’s Fringe program. But the problem circus has it that it has all become very bland; the same solo routines done in isolation or with just a nod to some show title or context. Not sure I can handle much more of that stuff!

Well, Outside the Lines’ Attic is a breath of fresh air, an oxygen jolt to send you high – a show that has thought through the genre’s mindless repetition and under-performance and delivered 50 minutes of great integration and invention.

Set in an attic of waste packing boxes, old cupboards and sheet covered furniture, the six performers set about their work with a zeal and confidence that has the kids present gasping and shrieking in delight from the opening twists and flights. But don’t let that or the time slot fool or deter you; this is something special for adults too.

While there are no laggards, the preposterously well-built Jordan Hart and the miniature Dylan Philips dominate in a show that has the legs to be around for a long time and to tour widely – I hope the ambition shown in the show’s conception extends to their programing plans.

Superior circus, delivering a shot in the arm to a genre that is otherwise risking a rapid death wallowing in its own self-indulgences – and all home grown. The best coin that can be spent on circus this Fringe!

Kryztoff Rating  5K

Feb 25

FRINGE 2017: Little Death Club – The Black Forest – The Royal Croquet Club – 2K

By Tom Eckert

Little death club

Little Death Club promises ” an hour of dangerously funny cabaret, sideshow and burlesque at its most inappropriate and hilarious best” and manages to hit all the marks except for that last one.

In previous iterations, Dead Man Comedy has produced shows with the same leading woman that were charactersied by their wit and idiosyncratic absurd humour. This is precisely where the current show falls short. Rather than wit and imagination the show is dominated by cheap, crude jokes and frankly gratuitous and needless nudity in the second half of the show.

The highlights that remain are; an at times humourous deadpan and technical reading of a Mills and Boon novel which still at times fell flat, and a brace of songs that are remnants of previous shows which maintained their cleverness.

If I was to stab at why it is the case that the mighty have fallen so, it would be that previously the show has been performed by a duo of the present leading lady and a partner, the latter of which is conspicuously absent in this years version. It is my thinking that having parted ways, the show lost a talent and the intellect behind some of its better work. But as I say, this is only a guess.

Having previously very much enjoyed these productions I very much hope they find their way again.

Kryztoff Rating: 2K

Feb 25

FRINGE THEATRE – Eleanor’s Story – Tandanya – 5K

1064688_135350_aBy Peter Maddern

Ingrid Garner’s grandmother, Eleanor, was still a child when World War II broke out. She and her family were on en route to Berlin from New Jersey when war was declared and this simply terrific play tells of those days.

It is an, at times, harrowing story with some resonances of the Ann Frank diaries – a young girl with normal fantasies and thoughts caught up in adult misadventures. And like Frank, Eleanor’s story captures a predicament that only gets worse and more desperate as, in this play, Berlin becomes the epicentre of the final stages of the conflict. Unlike Ann Frank, this account ends happily.

Ingrid Garner has adapted her grandmother’s award winning autobiography and delivers her version with stunning aplomb. Her work is mostly aided by images (I assume authentic) of her grandmothers’ home in the US and the blighted scenes of Berlin as well as audio of war. Together we are convincingly taken from an idyll in a spacious yard in New Jersey to cradling a young German soldier in his final moments and hiding in cramped attics as the Russians roam outside.

This is masterful theatre and as good as any you will see – not just this Fringe but any time. While some technical sound glitches affected my show, they could not detract from this compelling production. Audio and visual adornments are common place in 21st century theatre but not necessarily well used. Here they round off a gripping yarn and through the performer’s great talent and familial connection you are compelled to reflect on how lucky we are in this country today.

Kryztoff Rating   5K

Feb 25

FRINGE 2017 – Comfort Food Cabaret – Adelaide Central Market – 4K

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You’ve heard of dinner and a show, but what happens when dinner is the show? Comfort Food Cabaret is new to the Adelaide Fringe this year and it has certainly brought life to the Market Kitchen at Adelaide Central Markets.

 

The evening was full of surprises, with artist Michelle Pearson singing, cooking and storytelling with keyboard and bass guitar accompaniments. Pearson’s performance found a good balance between chatting and singing, and often used the music to emphasise points in her story. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing out loud at times, as her personality and charm shone through in her performances and interactions with her audience.

 

During the show, Pearson sets out to cook a three-course meal. So in addition to being entertained and fed, the audience is taught three new dishes they could try at home. It is perhaps a compliment that “not enough food” is my major complaint. Pearson’s dishes were rich and full of flavour, and I found myself scraping the plate with my plastic fork to enjoy every last morsel of the samples provided. With ticket prices ranging from a reasonable $38-$45 for a 75 minute show, it is not surprising that you only receive a taste of each dish, rather than an entire meal to yourself. Although, honestly I would not mind paying more in the future if it means getting a full dish to myself.

 

Comfort Food Cabaret is the perfect example of how your unique talents and passions can be combined to create something fresh and exciting. The show was thoroughly enjoyable, and this kind of innovation is what makes the Adelaide Fringe exciting. Comfort Food Cabaret is a must for foodies and music lovers alike.

Feb 24

FRINGE 2017 – NIGHT CREATURE -NOEL LOTHIAN HALL – 4.5K

Charming performance of a modern fable based on an ancient Greek myth.

This is the story of Scylla/ Cilla/ Sid, the untwinned resident of Naiad Bay, an insomniac worker in a chip shop devoid of fish.  We hear of monsters, raspberries, messages in bottles, and mysterious lighthouse keepers.  And of Sid’s eventual discovery/ losing of herself in the dark blue sea.

Featuring poetic storytelling and live musical accompaniment, and with humour, warmth and clever improvisation, the show held the audience’s attention from beginning to end.  Almost a monologue, simple props and the microphone were employed to great effect in the narration and the portrayal of the different characters.

Night Creature is presented by Joanne Hartstone and Lion House Theatre from the UK. Appearing at the Noel Lothian Hall in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens until 5th March 2017.

Kryztoff Rating 4.5K

Feb 24

FRINGE COMEDY – Merrick Watts: Man of the Hour – The Garden – 4K

His first solo show in 23 years, Merrick Watts came to the stage with great presence and energy. Immediately heckling the late-comers. The charismatic performer instantly came in to a world of his own, talking of childhood, social media and how unfathomably irritating todays generation is. Watts nailed it, not only was his timing and comical dynamic spot on, he was honest in his opinion on todays social ‘issues’ which the audience clearly appreciated.

Merrick’s performance was free-flowing and linked together perfectly; referring back to old jokes well. He even managed to introduce an emotional element to the performance which seemed truthful and reflective, which really helped the dynamic of the overall show.

A great show, Merrick is a very very funny man with great stories and an excellent stage presence.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

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