ADELAIDE FESTIVAL CENTRE – CONCRETE IMPERMANENCE – 3K

by Riccardo Barone

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What happens if the scenography gets involved and starts to dance and to move in a piece of contemporary dance?

The sculptural objects were made of crimped paper which were able to be squeezed in and out and turn into different figures and shapes, constantly changing the scenario and the environment. Occasionally worn  by the dancers as an ornament or as a blanket, this moving sculptures needed to be manually moved on the stage by the actor Stephen Sheehan, which was sometimes joining the dance in as well, or by the dancers themselves.

The choreography is straightforward, there is no time for any graceful movement, as the sounds in the background appropriately suggest, which often resulted in a static, basic leitmotiv, root and central meaning of the entire performance’s philosophy.

The entire performance has been designed for people with non-hearing disability too, as far as a screen on the top of the stage displayed waveforms and other abstract figures synchronised with the tempo, rhythm and dynamics of the sound score.

Kryzstoff rating: 3K

Sense and Sensibility – The State Theatre Company – The Dunstan Playhouse – 4K

By Tom Eckert

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Sense and Sensibility takes the classic Austen text and ironically puts a retro spin on it. In a continued effort to bring classic texts to a modern audience in an entertaining and accessible way the State Theatre Company are successful.

The text itself is treated with a sensitivity, humanism and humour that makes the characters relatable and modern despite the archaic text. Credit where credit is due to director and actors for translating both language and social convention of the original setting.

Both Marianne and Eleanor are played with a sensitivity that inspires sympathy and pride in equal measure as they are confronted with the challenges of their lives. Their gravitas is provided a suitable foil by the whimsy of a host of uncharacteristically well-developed smaller characters. The supporting cast are chameleon, playing parts ranging from high strung matriarchs to pointer hounds, all with a high energy humour and frivolity that only deepens the contrast with the Dashwood’s plight.

Strangely enough some of the most compelling and evocative effects are achieved outside of characterization. The lighting is used not only in the standard environmental sense but also in a host of novel ways to create seemingly concrete structure that complements the pared down set. Every opportunity is taken to inspire laughter, with not a scene change or seemingly innocuous line of dialogue not being taken advantage of. Staging and set work provide endless delights with props used as sight gags that take full advantage of the text. Whilst for the most part it is a suitable accoutrement to the main drama, these comic asides at times seem to overshadow the unfolding narrative as the show progresses.

The sugar candy colour palette, 70s musical interludes and deadpan delivery of absurdity all act to express the original intended aesthetic of the text with an irony that makes it translatable to a modern audience not subject to the typical stuffiness associated with productions of Austen’s work. Soft, sweet and easy to eat with just a hint of pathos – this is Wes Anderson meets classic British literature.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

THEATRE – After Dinner – State Theatre – Dunstan Playhouse – 3.5K

By Peter Maddern

Andrew Bovell’s first play takes us back thirty years to what seems like a snapshot from another world – friends going out together to pubs on a Friday night to catch-up, wind down and see what’s possible, all unarmed by the modern menaces of mobile phones and their internet dating services.

Set in some Melbourne dive in a plain and otherwise vacated dining room, a distance so it seems from the stage where the band will play after dinner, we meet our three thirtyish girlfriends and at a different table two similarly aged mates.

On the left table, a tightly wound bundle of fear of the unknown Dympie (Jude Henshall), is joined first by the gregarious Paula (Ellen Steele) and then Monika (Elena Carapetis) still mourning from the shock loss of her husband to a stroke.  On the right, the repressed Gordon (Rory Walker), in his own shock for his wife walking out on him, meets up with the perennial playboy Stephen (Nathan Page.)

As the play develops the tragedies of all their lives get revealed in a rich pathos of love gone wrong and sharp wit and farce.

It’s hard to separate the five players but Jude Henshall’s Dympie and Rory Hancock’s Gordon are perhaps the best with brilliant moments interspersed from Elena Carapetis.

There is nothing easy about directing this type of comedy but Corey McMahon does an excellent job, allowing the stories of all his characters to develop before mashing the inter-relationships up brilliantly in the second half. Of course, Boivell’s lyrical writing style helps set the audience up for a farce squarely but not too personally directed at ourselves.

Not exactly thinking person’s theatre but a sure winner as night out.

Kryztoff Rating        3.5K

FRINGE 2018 – THE PLEASURE PROJECT – 4K

by Riccardo Barone

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Can the clitoris save humanity?

Ava Bogle, writer, actor, filmmaker, comedian and sex blogger based in LA, writes and perform this hilarious show interpreting six different characters who alternate on the stage. Six women from outher space on a mission: clitoris, this unknown, is the key (from the Greek κλείς – key) to unlock the pleasure, this unknown as well. Each alien shows a well defined and caricaturistic personality: the naive one, the party animal one, the yoga freak one, the femme fatale one, all of them will interact with each other on a short movie projected on the background and then appear singly on the stage.
Attempts to save the humanity from the destruction, because you-know-who will push the red button starting the nuclear world war; they will teach you how to push the right red button, trying to capture the desire of that human sitting in the first row of the Room at the Crown and the Anchor, which is quite full, with a teasing response.

Directed by Rachel Avery, the brochure is inviting you to discover not only the pleasure project presented tonight but the one between your legs too!

Kryzstoff rating: 4K

FRINGE 2018 – EMMA PASK – 3.5K

by Riccardo Barone

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The elegant Fortuna Spiegeltent is quite full of enthusiastic fans and friends that don’t dislike a little bit of Emma Pask’s talk between a song and another one, overall about her husband from Uruguay.

Songs are standards evergreen, from Quizás quizás quizás to Beatles passing through Mas que nada, interpreted by the duo.

The pianist Kevin Hunt brilliantly conquers the high state of mind of improvisation, being very present and energetically outspoken (on an electric piano). His solo is dominant, in despite of Emma’s ones who had the chance to show her brilliant improvisation knowledge unfortunately not in every song.

The evening is a little bit too laid back, and sounds like “I do have majestic fireworks for you, but I am not going to use them all tonight”.

The concert ends with a Ray Charles’s classic; probably the ticket’s price has been a little bit too demanding, whereas it expects to enjoy more songs, more solos, probably less talk and a baby grand on the stage.

Kryzstoff rating: 3.5K

 

 

 

FRINGE 2018 – MENGELE – 5K

by Riccardo Barone

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Sarcastically, cold as a perforating iced dart, she stands and listens. She listens to him, which has very much to say. To confess. A confession that has to emerge up to the surface, soon or later. A truthful truth, being denied and hidden behind “eroic gesta“, behind the fake wheel of world salvation commitment. Behind Schillings, Wagner, Heidegger, Nietzsche.

Unapologetic ideals become roots of delirious daily routine actions; the “ideal” justifies the torture, the “research” allows the carnage.

The drama is divided in three acts: Hubris, Nemesis, Catharsis. Between them some historical footages projected on the background, functioning as fragments of Mengele’s memories, like having a dive into his achievements.

Tim Marriott directs and interpretes  Mengele, with Stefanie Rossi who admirably lets everyone hold the breath in a continuous crescendo of tension resulting in a liberating finale where the nazi doctor faces his destiny.

Tim Marriott’s performance is exemplary, not just intense but impressive and impressing, difficult to forget, for playing the part of a so despicable character on the scene.

The truth is deaf, and will sing Yiddish tunes while guilty screams invoking mercy will resound around.

Considering the Nazism being a topic that has always been presented showing all its raw torturous cruelty, the show is acceptable to even the faint hearted who were cringing in their seats.

A masterpiece, presented by the English actor Guy Masterson for his Lest we forget series, a selection of four different shows based on 100 years of conflict.

 Kryzstoff rating: 5K

FRINGE THEATRE – That Daring Australian Girl – Holden Street Theatres – 4.5K

scaled_That_Daring_Australian_Girl_imageAlexander Ewers

Muriel matters. The story of Adelaide’s own born and bred feminist, suffragette and social warrior, Muriel Matters, is one which should never be consigned to history. With a message undimmed by time and more topical than ever, “That Daring Australian Girl” proves both compelling theatre and a powerfully moving ode to the life and achievements of a woman who can only be described as remarkable.

Courtesy of director/performer/producer Joanne Hartstone, “That Daring Australian Girl” is an autobiographical study in the life of Muriel Matters, a name that ought to be more widely recognized and celebrated especially in this her hometown. Charting her meteoric rise from talented elocutionist and stage performer, to demagogue at the heart of the battle for female suffrage in London, Hartstone takes us on a journey through 12 gripping chapters in this woman’s life. The stages of Melbourne’s theatres, the galleries of the Houses of Parliament, London, the torture chambers of suffragette imprisonment – all come alive under the magic of Joanne’s touch. This is by no means though, simply a factual chronology. It is Matters reincarnated. This is Hartstone’s real achievement. That Daring Australian Girl is an intensely personal journey of self-discovery and self-actualisation, in which the audience cannot help but become emotionally invested, and against which injustices past and present are thrown into stark relief.

For 70 minutes, Joanne Hartstone holds sway, delivering a heart-on-sleeve performance encompassing orated recitations, quotes relived verbatim, and even a couple touching vocal numbers. Testament to the work and dedication of this burgeoning and increasingly acclaimed theatre practitioner, the detail and historicity of both plot and personal insights are extraordinary, contributing to the sense of authenticity. But it is the emphasis on revealing the intimacies of Matters’ hopes and fears that truly elevates this beyond the quotidian. This sensitive portrayal paints not just an idealist’s picture of firebrand heroism, but captures the human dimension, that reality of emotions and doubts and griefs that define the element of humanity behind true greatness. Yes, Muriel the heroine, Muriel the warrior, but speaking volumes more, Muriel the woman!!

That Daring Australian Girl is a show that spotlights just how far we have come as a society, but also how much further is yet to go. In an era defined by the #MeToo movement and increased attention on gender inequity, the tale of this pioneer of female emancipation is a timely reminder of both the need to continue the fight, and of the formidable force that is the empowered woman. Muriel Matters is a true feminist icon to which every person, male and female, young and old, can look for inspiration, for her legacy is universal and her life a cause for all to celebrate!

Kryztoff Rating 4.5K

Fringe 2018: Betty Grumble: Love and Anger – 4.5K, GOUD

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How to describe Betty Grumble: Love and Anger?

Here’s a few buzzwords: controversial, inspiring, confronting, hilarious, thought-provoking, sexual, opinionated, and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Betty is inspired by Valerie Solanis’ Scum Manifesto, and weaves her way through cabaret, poetry, comedy, and even art. Not for the faint-of-heart, you’ll see every inch of Betty’s body (and then some) as she uses her body to discuss feminist, queer, and political issues of our time.

With an impressive voice, a very intelligent mind, a wicked sense of humour, and stories with tonnes of heart, Betty will make you laugh, challenge you, and definitely shock you.

Beware: do not attend this show if you are averse to nudity. There’s plenty of it. You’ll even take home a “Pussy Print” to prove it (be sure to get it signed afterwards!)

Kryztoff rating: 4.5K

FRINGE 2018 – INTERACTIVE – #SelfiesAfterDark – BRKLYN – 4K

#SelfiesAfterDark is a very unique experience that one does not really expect from a show. Coming in with no expectations at all, be a little bit confused where the show is really going to take place or what the show is going to be about.

The production goes on and there was a subtle transition to when it actually started, that makes it feel like you’re part of the lives of the characters. The audience are taken to be part of the show by supposedly Steph’s friend, Alicia. Very charismatic and true to her character. There was a small walk away from the venue which was unexpected. Alicia kept making me think that she is a real person rather than a performer. Her stage was the streets, and it made it feel so surreal.

As we go along and witness Steph’s life through her Instagram stories,  it can be confusing how the concept of someone else’s Instagram story can be ‘hijacked’ with ‘stolen footages’— but if you leave that mentality behind and just allow the story unfold right before your eyes, it is highly entertaining. I’ll put an emphasis that the experience felt like being part of the story. There can be some existential issues within the performance when you look around Adelaide’s east end wondering if it was part of the show or just the city being what it is.

It’s not all walking as the audience were taken in the ‘club’ on her guest list and get to fully witness the full story and what happens next. Here you’ll watch some amazing acting from the characters which once again can truly pass as a true to life drama.

Overall, it was a  fun and unique approach to storytelling indeed. Don’t forget to bring your Instagram-ready smartphone and some earphones for the best experience!

 

Kryztoff Rating 4K

 

Fringe 2018: Shitfaced Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet – 5K, Gluttony

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One iconic play. Five actors. A shit-ton of booze.

Shitfaced Shakespeare might be exactly as it says on the tin, but that doesn’t mean its unimaginative. A fantastic mix of improvisation, constructed comedy, and theatre, this production of Romeo and Juliet is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

On this particular night, Romeo was the intoxicated actor in question. And yes, he really was drunk. He stumbled about and ad-libbed so much that he even altered the iconic ending of the play. He tried to kiss A LOT of people. He used a dildo as a dagger. All of it was absolutely, completely hilarious.

What was most impressive, though, was how the other (sober) actors in the play handled his antics. With a professionalism and improvisational ability that needs to be commended, the rest of the cast rolled with what Romeo was doing and never skipped a beat. Letting out secret giggles when they thought that the audience wasn’t looking, the cast seemed to be enjoying Romeo (or, as he called himself, “Steve, who works in agriculture”) just as much as we were.

The program stresses that every precaution is taken to ensure the health and safety of their actors is of the utmost importance, and you can see that this is a cast that have each other’s backs. That kind of camaraderie, friendship, and joy is infectious.

Grab yourself a ticket to Shitfaced Shakespeare this final Fringe weekend – and, with a different actor drunk every night – you’re likely to see a very different show than I did, although no less hilarious.

Kryztoff Rating: 5K