Fringe 2018: Garry Starr Performs Everything – 5K – The Producers

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By Amy.

I can’t say I was expecting much of Garry’s show when I walked into the Warehouse at the Producers, but I can say that categorically it is the funniest show I’ve seen at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe.

Garry Starr decides that theatre is dying, and its his job to save it. Performing everything from cirque, to Shakespeare, to slapstick, Starr proves himself to be a master of every craft. Performing every bit of theatre with bravado, intelligence, and a little bit of low-brow humour. Starr is clearly a talented and dedicated man; every aspect of theatre, song, and physical comedy is attempted with nothing less than the utmost energy and enthusiasm.

Starr cleverly worked audience participation into the mix; hot tip – it doesn’t matter if you sit at the front or not, you’ll likely still be called on to participate, and honestly if you go along with it, you’ll have so much fun. All of the above creates a genuinely, hilariously great show. Starr says that this was his first solo outing, but you wouldn’t believe it – this is comedy at its best.

What more is there to say? This show is fantastic. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry with laughter, you’ll walk away wanting to save theatre again and again with Garry Starr.

Kryztoff rating: 5K

FRINGE 2018: Beer V Wine Degustation Dinner – 5K

By Anthony Nguyen

It is without questioscaled__1160445_DxOn that South Australian culture is celebrated at its heart through their world-famous wines brewed in various local wineries across the region. The 2018 Adelaide Fringe highlights the extensive beer and wine culture with a fun evening in the Barossa Valley with the Beer V Wine Degustation Dinner.

Hosted by the charismatic Denham D’Silva of Barossa Valley Brewing and Huon Fechner of Teusner Wines, the evening started off with a short tour of the brewing facilities at the Barossa Valley Brewery before sitting down for the degustation dinner. Attendees are treated to a generous five-course meal incorporating different European cuisines and each course accompanied with a different beer and wine selected by the hosts themselves.

D’Silva and Fechner did well in engaging with every person during the evening, and their playful personalities fostered a warm and enjoyable atmosphere which highlighted the ongoing friendly competition between brewers and winemakers.

The Beer V Wine Degustation Dinner provides a very different Fringe experience to the theatricalities that are normally expected. Showcasing the illustrious food and wine culture that the Barossa Valley has to offer, Barossa Valley Brewing are hosting the degustation dinner for one more night on the 3rd of March 2018. As a visitor to Adelaide or even as a South Australian local, it is worth spending a fun evening celebrating the beers and wines that are widely-recognised around the world as part of the 2018 Adelaide Fringe.

Kryztoff Rating: 5K

MOJITO ! – THE HEMINGWAY CABARET

Mojito! is an entertaining fast-paced cabaret set in Cuba in 1959 on the eve of the Cuban Revolution. Songs from Spain, Cuba and Latin American countries are brought to life by an excellent 7 piece band consisting of trumpet, trombone, drums, congas, piano, bass and classical guitar.  The fabulous vocals are mainly provided by Nancy Ruth, Cynthia Madrid and Diana Scalza, with each of them having their own unique style. 

The action takes place in a bar called La Bodeguita Del Mar and the audience are welcomed by the somewhat dodgy owner Pepe (Christian Cifuentes). A fun storyline of rivalry ties the show together; rivalry between Spain & Cuba, between two of the women for the attentions of Pepe, and between members of the cast over a prize promised by patron Ernest Hemingway (Andrew Le Roy).

With touches of jazz and lots of flamenco, humour, a hint of politics, and mojitos available from the bar, the cabaret flowed smoothly. Alain Volodze playing flamenco guitar was sensational. The audience were encouraged to join in on choruses and to clap along with the rhythm and most were carried away by the vibrant and irresistible Latin music and dance. The one enthusiastic heckler was soon subdued by the pointed wit of Hemingway.

The Arkaba was the venue for the show during its Adelaide Fringe run. The troupe are now travelling to the Sutherland Entertainment Centre in Sydney. Hopefully they will return to us for more shows next year.
4.5K

FRINGE 2018 – Oriental Flair – Eastern Harps Meet Western Strings – Garage International – 4K

So, this show will be on a Saturday when the Adelaide Town Hall itself is not open. Don’t panic as you just need to know that the Garage International is located at the rear of the town hall itself, which can be accessed from Pirie Street.  The performance was held in a smaller venue which can mostly be beneficial in hearing the slightest sound.

There are things that many people enjoy equally— music and culture. Oriental Flair is a collaboration of cultural music. A talented ensemble will take you to a euphoric experience of classic compositions. It was enchanting to listen to the beautiful instruments of the east that jive smoothly with the western strings we’re familiar of.  Listening to classic Chinese music emphasized the eastern instruments, the Guzheng and Erhu. There was a good balance of the western and eastern style, even their positioning on the stage was probably thought of that way too.

The show went on for a good duration of about an hour, leaving you satisfied but at the same time wanting for a little bit more. That’s for you to decide. Altogether, this show is a must see (mostly hear). The ensemble are very talented and the music very soothing. The direction and arrangement effectively delivered the ‘east meets west’ concept. The next and only show left is going to be on the 3rd of March, so don’t miss out. A must-see (hear).

 

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

 

 

 

LORD OF THE STRINGS – The Clubroom @ GC

Lord Of The Strings – Mathew Fagan

GC (German Club) The Clubroom      Feb 23rd – 7:30pm

Review By GARY CLARKE     4.5K

Tucked away in the back of the GC behind the busy dining room/bar is an intimate venue named The Clubroom.   This night featured acclaimed guitarist Mathew Fagan a.k.a Lord Of The Strings.  The title was gifted to Mathew by none other than Billy Connolly with whom Mathew toured 53 gigs as a musical accompanist in 1999.  Did that make him a guitarist playing second fiddle to a banjo player? …

Not really.  Mathew was lauded by Billy as ” The best guest guitarist he has ever had”  !  As the evening progressed Mathew proceeded to demonstrate just why he deserved such an accolade.  Initially Our Lord presented  as something akin to an exotic Eastern Prince resplendent in brightly coloured, highly distinctive dress.  After a brief intro he put aside his costume and set about putting us all at ease with his unpretentious persona and adept flourishes of guitar music.

Perched comfortably amidst a cache of beautiful guitars  including a unique 10 string Richard Howell featuring 4 extra bass strings  Mathew demonstrated his extraordinary musical prowess interspersing  the set with clever witticisms and easy banter.  He tells us he took up guitar as therapy and this performance was equally therapeutic for the delighted audience.

We were asked to contribute suggestions of guitar pieces in a Guitar Challenge.  From The Beatles to Bach, from Peter Green (Albatross) to Paco De Lucia and even Bob Marley!!! nothing phased him.   Watching Mathew rip through Paco De Lucia’s Almoraima was breathtaking yet he didn’t even break a sweat!   This very entertaining performance was worth 5k but for some minor distortion that may have been an artifact of the rooms acoustics …….Highly Recommended    4.5K

Review by GARY CLARKE.

 

NOTE:   Mathew Fagan also teams up with Czech Violinist Romana Geermans in a World Premiere of  “Gypsy Fire Electric”   See Fringe Guide for more details.

FRINGE 2018 – Comedy/Improv – Maestro 3rd Annual National Impro Games – National Wine Centre – 4K

By Julia Cudsi

Improvised comedy is something of a Fringe staple – it fits right in with the ethos of a cheap, fun night out, hopefully with a lot of laughter and perhaps a few drinks thrown in. The Maestro 3rd Annual National Impro Games certainly delivers on all of these promises.

The format of this show is very simple – one MC, two judges, a skilled music man, and a whole group of competitors, helpfully wearing netball bibs as identifiers. Between the judges and the audience, outlandish suggestions are made for themes, locations, relationships and other scene-setters, and the actors on stage are required to improvise what happens without the assistance of any sort of script. Thanks to audience votes, players are systematically eliminated, until there remains only one player – the ultimate winner.

This is the 3rd Annual National Impro games, and I am pleased to say that I have seen all of the competitions, ably put together by On the Fly impro – and each year has maintained the quality of the previous year.

If you are looking for an evening of quality entertainment (probably almost definitely child-friendly), then this is it.

4K

FRINGE COMEDY – Lawrence Mooney: An Evening with Malcolm Turnbull – The Factory @ GOUD – 3.5K

scaled_malcom_whiteBy Belle Dunning

Lawrence Mooney’s Turnbull is scarily good. In this one-hour show, Mooney embodies the Prime Minister in all his arrogance, charm and apparent love of swearing. The accent, mannerisms and political smack-talking about fellow party-members and opponents alike is entertaining in its familiarity.

The show takes the format of a new tonight show entitled ‘Malcolm’, hosted by Malcolm himself. Mooney begins by warming-up the audience and introducing them to a more personal side of our PM, through various disparaging ‘back-room’ stories about other politicians and the goings-on at private dinner parties of our political elite. In the second-half, an audience member is invited to the couch for a one-on-one chat with Malcolm, although this is characteristically dominated by Malcolm himself.

Throughout the hour, the audience are invited inside a private world where Malcolm feels safe to share a little more than we usually see. His various monologues in the ‘ad breaks’, as he becomes distracted by his own witty remarks and favourite stories, are both entertaining and leave you wondering how much is really true.

Despite the genuine substance and seriousness of some of the topics covered, the crude swearing and everyday political facts — from Barnaby to submarines — had the audience laughing the hardest. That and Mooney’s impeccable enunciation of words such as ‘Parliament’, ‘fire hydrant’ and ‘sex-sual’. Don’t worry, you too will learn how to speak like a well-educated, upper-class, powerful AND rich member of the political elite.

Mooney is an excellent impressionist and does the character that is our PM justice in this show — both on a superficial and deeper level. The main downfall was the television-show format itself — with the structure between pre-show, ads and the show itself a little unclear, and the pre-determined multiple-choice question and answer section falling a little flat.

Regardless of your political leaning (which Malcolm will try to get out of you), this show is a fun look at the ridiculousness of our political system. No real political knowledge is required. Although the audience was mostly of the baby boomer generation (and they were certainly laughing the hardest), you’ll still have a good time if you like your politics with a good dose of cynicism and wit. Even Mooney himself had to break character and laugh a few times. A guaranteed good night out before you trundle off, in Malcolm’s words, to your middle-class dining experience.

Kryztoff Rating 3.5K

FRINGE 2018: Viggo Venn: Pepito – 3.5K – GOUD

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Viggo Venn is a name to watch.

Whilst Venn’s show Pepito definitely needs a little polishing, there are stretches of comedy in there that signify that this man is a fantastic clown, comedian, and generally nice guy.

Venn’s show is equal parts sketch comedy, audience interaction, and ode to cucumbers (not a euphemism). Venn becomes Pepito, a space-travelling, vegetable-loving, beret-wearing man who has both mundane and extraordinary adventures. Pepito shares his hidden cucumbers (again, not a euphemism), phone calls with his friends in the audience, and a genuinely hilarious final joke that was a great way to get the audience involved in the show.

This particular night suffered from some rather rude audience members; two women on their phones, who proceeded to continue looking up train timetables whilst Venn was in the audience, asking them to stop; and a young man and woman, who continued to talk over the top of the opening bit (they were eventually asked to leave). It was a shame, because it resulted in the show being thrown out of kilter, having to restart 3 times (although the opening skit was hilarious, so it didn’t matter that we watched it again). This seemed to throw Venn’s confidence off, which was a shame.

There were certain skits that need a bit of development, but others that were gems. Viggo’s unexpected nuggets of comedy, like finding out what happens when you take your snowman friend to the sun, were genuinely hilarious. More so, the fact that Venn trouped on despite the heckling and the disruption it causes also tells me that this man means business, and that kind of hutzpah will get you somewhere.

All in all, Viggo Venn’s show is a fun night out at the garden – that is, so long as you like cucumbers.

Kryztoff Rating: 3.5K

 

FRINGE CIRCUS AND PHYSICAL THEATRE, CABARET – Rouge – The Octagon at Gluttony – 4.5K

scaled_rogueAlexander Ewers

“Decadent”. “Astonishing”. “Sensational”. Scion of the much acclaimed Papillon of seasons past and launching into the lofty footsteps of its predecessor, Rouge promises the prodigious – a spectacle of and for the senses. And largely, Rouge delivers just that! Surging with a primal vitality and sophisticated sensuality, this sensory buffet at once seduces, scintillates and stuns.

Set against the evocative rouge-tinged glow of the Octagon, the eponymous show opens to mesmeric live vocals from the undeniably talented and versatile lead chanteuse-cum-diva. The following hour unfolds as a fusion of circus acts both traditional and reworked, playful burlesque, and sultry cabaret. Diversity is the name of the game. Rouge is an energetic, acrobatic and smoothly choreographed routine incorporating everything from the pyrotechnic (fire breathing), to the hypnotic (Risley act), to a composition that somehow assimilates ballet, breakdancing and Beyonce.

The performance draws from a vein of the sybaritic, the sensual, and yes at times, the overtly sexual. And for the most part, Rouge adroitly navigates the line between the tantalising and the tawdry, delighting and teasing alike with wanton exuberance. A couple scenes do strike a discordant tone however. The “Turn me on” sequence in particular seems unnecessary and out of place in the context of the hypnotism woven throughout the show.

Rouge’s strength and hidden surprise is its vocalist, who proves a statement in both her own right, and as a supporting act for the other performances. Sultry, powerful, and versatile, her talent, operatic as much as cabaret, constitutes the most unparalleled impression of the night. In a genre where a certain degree of physical and performance excellence is simply expected, the singer is Rouge’s point of difference from the rest. “Rouge – the circus with the opera singer”.

Not at all shy, and not for the shy, Rouge is a feast for the senses, a self-proclaimed circus for grown-ups. Behind the glitter and allure, one struggles to find a deeper meaning – a story – to the performances. But perhaps there is not one, and perhaps that is the point. Rouge is the triumph of show over substance, the carnal over the cerebral. Be prepared to be dazzled, titillated and captivated. This unashamed exultation of sexuality and physicality has something to please every “lady, gentleman and friend beyond the binary”.

Kryztoff Rating 4.5K

FRINGE COMEDY/THEATRE – Matt Byrne’s Hott Property – Maxim’s Wine Bar – 5K

scaled_APY2njz9U4QPHuNKCGyv21yRecnn794brAAlexander Ewers

Matt Byrne’s Hott Property embodies the quintessence of everything wonderful and celebrated about Adelaide’s Fringe Festival. Especially fitting, given it represents the 15th Fringe show and over 40 years in the business for Byrne, producer, director and performer extraordinaire.

Nestled in the in the funky and intimate upstairs space of Maxim’s Wine Bar, Norwood, Hott Property promises an unlikely marriage of two seemingly incompatible bedfellows – comedy and the real estate industry. This reviewer admittedly ventured to the Wine Bar decidedly dubious, a sentiment not relieved by being the sole millennial in a more seasoned audience. But from the outset, Hott Property disarmingly defuses all preconceptions and doubts, and proceeds to dance between the droll, the daring and the delightfully entertaining.

The concept is bold. The Hott family are one of Adelaide’s prime real estate businesses. Matt himself plays the affably boisterous Red Hott, principal realtor and nominal family head, and is ably supported by the marvellously wry Theresa Dolman in the role of Smokin’ Hott, their daughter Pipin’ Hott (played by Amber Platten) and ambitious apprentice and boyfriend, Terry Trott (Brad Butvila). Ostensibly the show portrays the Hott family’s efforts to accommodate four gloriously and risibly caricatured couples, but along the way, hurls irreverent and indiscriminate hilarity at everything that moves in the real estate world, be it denizen, contender, or inquisitive/prying neighbour.

Two elements really elevate this performance beyond the pedestrian. Courtesy of long time real-life realtor Brad Butvila, a depth of inside insight into the real estate industry is evident, lending a richness of timbre and a cogency to even the most comedic of moments. In fact, Hott Property feels at times as much education as entertainment, a lesson on lies and lingo and life-advice. But if this must be education, let all schooling be this memorable! The real heart and soul of Hott Property however, lies in the sheer calibre of creative and comedic talent on display, a life-force sustained equally by each member of the cast. It is a triumph of pure theatre – minimal props, minimal pretence – just a compellingly honest and wholehearted coalition of stage experience, energy and camaraderie. It is a thirst-quenching experience to bathe in artistry such as this, where a feather boa represents a role change and yet each and every character is as convincing as the last.

In an entertainment world saturated with the latest and greatest in props, sets and CGI, Hott Property is testament to the enduring power of the performance alone. This is a glorious bit of comedy theatre – theatre at its finest. And while perhaps more pertinent or attractive to those who have personally brushed or battled with the world of real estate, this really is a show for all adults, even millennials. Because you never know: you might learn even something!

Kryztoff Rating 5K