Edited By Miriam Keane

From the over 140 shows on offer, our experienced Kryztoff reviewing team have chosen the following as the shows you should keep an eye on the 2012 Adelaide Fringe.

Jane Austen Is Dead – Bakehouse

The Ballard of the Unbeatable Hearts – Higher Ground

Fleeto and Wee Andy By Paddy Cunneen – Holden Street Theatres    

Scaramouche Jones – Higher Ground

Live on Air with Poet Laureate Telia Nevile – Tuxedo Cat  

His Ghostly Heart By Ben Schiffer – Holden Street Theatres

William – Gluttony    The ¼ Pounding – Bakehouse Theatre

A Night to Dismember – Tuxedo Cat

Legacy of the Tiger Mother – Adelaide Town Hall           Spoonface Steinberg – Bakehouse Theatre

The Terrible Infants – Holden Street Theatres                 The Half – Higher Ground

The Beast – Tuxedo Cat                                  Shakespeare’s Queens: She-wolves and Serpents – Bakehouse Theatre

To be a part of Kryztoff’s Fringe ticket giveaways for 2012, subscribe to the Kryztoff blog now – details on how to are on the right.


Jane Austen is Dead

Bakehouse Theatre – Studio

27-29 Feb, 1-4 Mar

When it comes to a Girls Night In, the original, and arguably the best, films to turn to are adaptations of the works of Jane Austen. While Colin Firth emanating from a pond in a rather attractively clingy wet white shirt will undoubtedly be the first image that comes to mind for most, there are many adaptations to choose from (the BBC clearly having realised that there will always be a female viewing public for these stories, likes to revisit them at least once a decade).These are as good as “happily ever after” fairytales get – the intelligent but underappreciated female protagonist, fights her way through a series of unattractive suitors to end up with the dashing and rich hero, in many cases also managing to marry off her sisters, cousins and friends to other suitable (but not as nice as our hero you’ll appreciate) gentlemen. As Oscar Wilde said “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means”.

Unfortunately, the reality that such men aren’t going to come along and sweep us off our feet, saving us from the banality of everyday life and take us to live in a massive house, where we get to wear pretty dresses, appreciate art and put on little plays with our friends, sometimes doesn’t manage to sink in. Jane Austen is Dead is the one woman show that takes on this mentality and explores just how today’s world, and the men in it, compare to the beautiful fantasy that Austen created for us to daydream over.

The Ballad of the Unbeatable Hearts

Higher Ground – Art Base

24-29 Feb, 1-18 Mar (ex 5 & 12 Mar)

If you have not yet seen a show by writer/performer Richard Fry, then you cannot claim to be a true Fringe-goer. Fry has graced the stage of the Art Base at Higher Ground during the previous two Fringes and returns this year with his new show The Ballad of the Unbeatable Hearts.  He is a rare talent, encompassing everything that the Fringe should be about – original writing done in a unique style, performed without fanfare or expensive props but rather with feeling and honesty. He draws you in and holds you captive for the entire time he’s on stage, while also leaving you thinking about what you have just experienced for days and weeks to come.

Fry creates genuine, engaging and sympathetic characters that audiences can relate to and want to hear the story of. These characters are so well realised that you can find yourself unsure as to where the truth ends and fiction begins. Fry’s writing is also linguistically appealing, as he presents these stories entirely in prose, with a pleasing mixture of rhythm and rhyme. Not one to shy away from intense and edgy material, it is the clever balance of humour and emotion in these productions which help to make them so moving. The Ballad of the Unbeatable Hearts looks at a major problem in today’s society – youth suicide – and explores how, with support and encouragement, it could be possible to overcome feelings of isolation and hopelessness to help change the world for the better.

Fleeto and Wee Andy By Paddy Cunneen

Holden Street Theatres – The Studio

Fleeto – 25, 28 Feb, 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 18 Mar

Wee Andy – 25, 26, 29 Feb, 2, 3, 7, 9,,11, 14, 16 , 17 Mar

Last year, the Holden Street Theatre Award brought us the wonder that was Bound. They certainly hit the nail on the head with that one – it was shear brilliance. This year, the winner of the same award – which sponsors a company to come and perform in Adelaide – and subsequent headlining show at Holden Street Theatres, is actually a double bill, Fleeto and Wee Andy. Don’t mistake that for one title, these are two distinct shows. However, they are also intrinsically linked to one another.

At the centre of these two plays is a crime, and the gangland culture that surrounds and facilitates this crime. The protagonist of one show is the perpetrator of this. That of the other is the victim. The audience is given the opportunity by writer Paddy Cunneen, to view this situation from both sides; to appreciate that there is always more to a story than what can be learnt from one person’s point of view. It is based on Greek tragedy The Iliad and presented in verse. Though the scheduling of the performances doesn’t easily allow for audiences to see both shows in the one visit (though possibly you could attend a matinee of one and a late session of the other on a Saturday, with food at some local pub and maybe another HST show in between), Holden Street is such a lovely venue to visit it’s not a big ask to return another evening. Of course they are also both high quality standalone productions.

Live on Air with Poet Laureate Telia Nevile

Tuxedo Cat – Blue Room

24-28 Feb, 1-3 Mar

Telia Nevile was introduced to Adelaide Fringe audiences last year through her ode to school days past, For Whom the Bell Tolls. This was a sweet show which demonstrated Telia’s talent with prose and revealed why she’d been nominated for a Golden Gibbo at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. She wound her way through the story, rhymes abounding and a cheeky grin on her face as the audience laughed knowingly at her apt descriptions of boring lessons and less than friendly schoolmates. This year, Telia has taken over the airwaves with her own radio show to present Live on Air With Poet Laureate Telia Nevile. Promising new classics such as “The Weather Report of My Soul” and “Because I’m Deep (I’m Deep in Thought)”, this will no doubt continue Telia’s run of success. Take your inner nerd (and maybe some like-minded friends) out to the Tuxedo cat for an evening of intelligent and witty entertainment.

Scaramouche Jones

Higher Ground – Main Theatre

24-29 Feb (ex 27 Feb) 1-4 Mar

If you missed Scaramouche Jones when it was here during the 2010 Fringe, shame on you. It was the pick of the whole festival that year and those who did see it couldn’t stop talking about it and have definitely not forgotten its wonder. Luckily, you have been granted a reprieve, as this magnificent production is making a very welcome return this year. Scaramouche Jones is a 100 year old clown who, on the eve of the new millennium, takes you on a journey through his past. It is both hilarious and heartbreaking, with equal parts comedy and tragedy. Performer Justin Butcher wrote the show himself and has a stage presence that holds the audience captivated throughout. It’s only on for the first couple of weeks of the Fringe, so get down early as chances are you’ll want to tell all your friends about it and probably go again yourself.

His Ghostly Heart By Ben Schiffer

Holden Street Theatres – The Manse

22-29 Feb (ex 27 Feb), 1-18 Mar (ex 5 Mar)

If you’ve not been to a play in The Manse at Holden Street, then there’s a level of intimacy to theatre that you are yet to experience. His Ghostly Heart sounds like the perfect production for this tiny space. Set entirely in the dark, the audience finds that it has been allowed to eavesdrop on the private conversation of a young couple, following an amorous encounter. Everybody has emotional baggage and it’s in these most vulnerable moments that it inevitably comes out. From the writer of TV’s ‘Skins’, the Australian premier of this short piece will no doubt be confronting and captivating.


Gluttony – Carry On Theatre

5-18 March

The Fringe has a great history of including many kids’ shows that appeal to older audiences as well, and are thus great entertainment for a whole cross-section of festival-goers. This year, one of these shows is The Flannigan Collective’s William; the story of a boy who finds adventure in a book-shop. While this is a relatively new company, established in 2011, those involved have much experience in the industry and previous shows have garnered high praise. Having run at several festivals and toured throughout the UK, Adelaide audiences are now able to experience this snippet of magical creativity.

A Night to Dismember

Tuxedo Cat – Green Room

8-18 March (ex 14 Mar)

While better known for his work as part of the Lounge Room Confabulators, Wil Greenway is stepping out solo, in his début piece A Night to Dismember. Some of the most beautiful theatre is that which walks the fine line between comedy and drama – stories of anguish which also manage to make you smile. A play which offers up emotional torment, in the same sentence as killer sharks and asteroids, fits this bill. If the popularity and critical success of his collaborative work is any indication, this might just be one of the secret treasures of the Fringe.

The ¼ Pounding

Bakehouse Theatre – Main Stage

12-18 March

Expectations have a way of very rarely being met. In today’s world, the idea of where you should be at a particular chronological point in your life can vary quite significantly to the reality you find yourself in. There is a new phenomenon sweeping the world – the quarter life crisis. It’s the realisation that, at 25, you still have no idea where your life is heading. An Australian premiere, following success across the Tasman, The ¼ Pounding will speak to many people – whether through the mirroring of current predicaments, the wisdom of previous experience or the apprehension of those yet to reach this point.

Legacy of the Tiger Mother

Adelaide Town Hall – Spence Room

4-10 March

There are not a lot of English language plays with a central Asian character in modern theatre, and even fewer musicals. Angela Chan and Michael Manley have contributed to filling this void with the original piece Legacy of the Tiger Mother. This production centres on the place of music, tradition and progress in the lives of three generations of Chinese-American women – the matriarch Lily who has immigrated to America, her daughter Mei and granddaughter Kim.  Following recent seasons in New York and Las Vegas, the Adelaide Fringe production has its own original case, which includes local girl Yen Yen Stender as Mei.

Spoonface Steinberg

Bakehouse Theatre – Studio

27-29 Feb, 1-17 Mar (ex 4 Mar)

Writer Lee Hall is best known for having penned successful film Billy Eliott, however he has also written several plays. Spoonface Steinberg was originally performed on radio and was so well received that it was adapted for the stage, where it received further rave reviews. It is a challenging piece for both performer and audience alike, with the sole character being an eight year old girl with autism who is also dying of cancer. In the role will be Boo Dwyer, who was previously seen in Dye Young/Stay Pretty during the 2010 Fringe. If you can handle the heavy material, this should be a rewarding experience.

The Terrible Infants

Holden Street Theatres – The Arch

21-29 Feb (ex 24 & 27 Feb), 1 Mar

Les Enfants Terribles Theatre Company are an innovative ensemble based in the United Kingdom. They’ve made a name for themselves by producing high quality, original works, which incorporate a wide variety of performance styles – puppetry, acting, live music, physical theatre– to tell surreal, magical stories in an innovative and engaging manner. Having toured throughout the UK, as well as internationally, they have finally come to Adelaide to perform The Terrible Infants. This is a piece for which they have garnered critical acclaim, won several awards and about which word of mouth is invariably positive. It celebrates the darker side of storytelling, promoting itself as “Roald Dahl meets Tim Burton” and so may be unsuitable for some youngsters, but is the perfect Fringe show for those adults who can still appreciate, and are searching for, the gloomy yet beautiful side of existence.

The Half

Higher Ground –  Main Theatre

3 Mar, 6-18 Mar (ex 12 Mar)

Guy Masterson is a man of many talents. Each year he brings to Adelaide a selection of the finest theatre the UK has to offer. In addition to his role as producer, he also directs and acts in several of these plays. His previous solo shows, Shylock, Under Milk Wood, and Animal Farm have been crowd favourites, with the latter two having return seasons due to popular demand. When Guy takes to the stage, you are drawn into the action. He artfully develops characters which are accessible and candid, but also subtle. This year he performs The Half, a portrait of an actor who has everything resting on his new show and, as the clock ticks down to opening night, a great deal of apprehension about whether it iss going to work out. From award winning writer Richard Dormer and director David Calvitto, this trio of talented men are sure to put on a good show.

The Beast

Tuxedo Cat – Blue Room

5-17 Mar (ex 7 & 14 Mar)

Stuart Bowden is one half of The Lounge Room Confabulators, who have the honour of being one of the acts who have sold out the entire run of their show well prior to the Fringe even opening. For those who have missed out on a ticket to this, there is still the opportunity to see Bowden’s solo show, The Beast. Last year, Bowden was nominated for both best performer and best theatre production during the festival for his début, The World Holds Everyone Apart, Apart From Us. Bowden creates whimsical, moving theatre, incorporating charming live music into his shows which explore themes such as loneliness and hope. The Beast tells the story of (unsurprisingly) a beast, which lives in a cave and goes by the name of Winslow, and the world that he inhabits. After the success of his first show, it will be interesting to see if the second reaches the same heights.

Shakespeare’s Queens: She-wolves and Serpents

Bakehouse Theatre – Main Stage

27-29 Feb, 1-17 Mar (ex 11 Mar)

When it comes to theatre, as both an actor and an audience member, Shakespeare is a double edged sword. A bad production of a Shakespearean play can be disappointing on a completely separate level to any other theatre failing. And yet, there is always a desire to explore these texts, to find new meaning in the words, to see how they remain relevant in the modern world and to create new theatrical works based on them. Straylight Australia ventured into this area last year with Shakespeare’s Mothers: Mad Bad and Dangerous to Know. The spotlight of their offering this year is more specifically regal, in Shakespeare’s Queens: She-Wolves and Serpents. Their previous work included scenes from a wide variety of the Bard’s plays, with an interesting mix of well- and lesser-known characters represented. Hopefully this will be another high quality, stimulating and innovative exploration of these classic works.

1 ping

  1. […] Theatre at Kryztoff’s Theatre Pick Previews […]

Leave a Reply