FRINGE: Beer Drinking Woman – Spiegeltent – 4.5K

By Julia Loipersberger

I have a confession that will make those of you who have heard Christa Hughes live before very jealous: she has played Adelaide twice in the last six months (heading over from the East Coast for the Adelaide International Guitar Festival) and I have been in the audience both times.

With her divine voice, the woman who appears to have done it all – art house cinema star, band member of the brilliantly original band Machine Gun Fellatio in the role of KK Juggy, burlesque performer, member of Circus Oz  -turned up for a sold out show at the Spiegeltent wearing her trademark false eyelashes – and very little else.

A phenomenal blues and jazz singer, Hughes’ voice is amazing, and as somehow who has previously reviewed her work it is difficult to come up with original adjectives which I have not already rhapsodically used to describe her, such as  ‘truly remarkable’, ‘sublime’, and ‘perfect’. ‘Beer Drinking Woman’ confirmed that above all else Hughes is a consummate entertainer, taking the audience – as promised – on a tour through the ecstatic pleasure and the despairing pain that frequently accompanies excessive alcohol consumption.

Ably accompanied on piano by Leonie Cohen, who kept the music simple so that it did not interfere with Hughes’ powerhouse voice, the show was exactly what you want in a cabaret – bawdy, hilarious, groan-inducing, and masterful entertainment . Long-time fans of Christa will be delighted to hear a number of her own compositions, such as ‘Beer Drinking Woman’ and ‘Pig Flu Blues’ as well as many pieces – including a Cold Chisel rendition – which Hughes has appropriated and made her own.

The only negative was that at times aspects of the show distracted from the performance. A section in the middle of the show where Hughes acted out various scenes from classic films in an homage to alcohol went for an overly long time, wasting precious minutes in which that voice could reverb through the theatre again. Similarly, for a show which really required the audience to lounge around in comfortable booths with a bottle – or four – of wine per table, the squished confines of the Spiegeltent were not really appropriate. But these are minor details when Hughes is on stage and there are drinks to be had.

Those who are prudish about alcohol – and other mind-altering pursuits – and are easily offended should probably not go to this show. But then again – it’s not like Hughes pretends to be anything other than a beer (and whiskey. And gin. And wine) drinking woman. And if you do go – you will have a bloody brilliant time. But then everyone who has heard her before already knows that.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

See all Kryztoff’s previews at www.kryztoff.com and all our reviews here at www.kryztoff.com/RAW and remember also to subscribe for Adelaide’s most up to date reviews. To win free tix, join us also on Facebook and Twitter.

To see reviews of shows not covered by Kryztoff go to BankSA Talkfringe at www.talkfringe.com.au.

FRINGE: Scared Weird Little Guys – Enough Already – The Royalty Theatre – 5K

The Scared Weird Little Guys last ever farewell tour, Enough Already, Adelaide leg, scheduled with the Adelaide Fringe 2011 opened with a full house at The Royalty Theatre. The show is truly refreshing, witty and sprinkled with plenty of Australiana, delivered by the talented and clever Rusty and John.

They explain their departure because their scientology marriage contract has expired. Yet it seems the truth comes out as Rusty let’s drop that he is going to form his own group called Hi 1 and John tells us about his plans to form a Powder Finger style band named Talcum Digit.

The entertainment continues with the phone book song, the best 80’s songs all in 1 through to getting the audience to call out two songs of one they sing the lyrics to the other songs tune. Rusty gives us a taste of country talk and we find out how ‘Waltzing Matilda’ sounds if sung by Eminem .

The audience has been so well entertained that the hour is up before anyone has had enough already and the crowd receives a well earned encore.

This witty show is not to be missed. Catch it at The Royalty Theatre until Sunday 13 March.

Kryztoff Rating   5K

See all Kryztoff’s previews at www.kryztoff.com and all our reviews here at www.kryztoff.com/RAW and remember also to subscribe for Adelaide’s most up to date reviews. To win free tix, join us also on Facebook and Twitter.

To see reviews of shows not covered by Kryztoff go to BankSA Talkfringe at www.talkfringe.com.au.

FRINGE – Theatre – Over My Dead Body – Sandford House – 3.5K

 

A back room at the attractive Sandford House is fittingly transformed into the sitting room of the Murder League; a club for the premier crime writers of England. With the death of another colleague, the three remaining founding members – Trevor Foyle, Dora Winslow and Barty Cruikshank – are reminded that their heyday is far behind them and that the future of crime fiction is gruesome and inelegant. So, in true British style, they decide that something must be done to remind the world of just how well-designed and intriguing murder can be.

Fans of any of the well known British crime writers, or indeed the more modern BBC TV series that run along the same vein, will find a lot to like in this play. Though there are some lapses of logic and necessarily far fetched ideas in the script, it does well to combine the mystery of the stories it is based on with a dry self-deprecating humour. This is a technically difficult piece, requiring some ingenuity from the designers and stage crew to carry off the manoeuvres required and, for the most part, this is accomplished though the close proximity of the stage area and audience does render some effects less impressive.

Director Matthew Taylor has elicited good performances from the majority of his cast. As the intrepid trio, intent on committing the perfect crime but coming up against the setbacks of old age, Aaron Braegen, Elizabeth Graham and Sam Tutty do well to inhabit roles that are written for people a half century older than they. Kudos must also go to hair and make-up artist Kahlia Tutty for managing to make the young actors look well worn and aged; her attention to detail is to be commended. The most convincing transformation is that of Alastair Collins as the bumbling club butler Charters. Collins plays this small role with perfect timing, injecting humour into every appearance. Paul Briske, in the role of modern crime writer Simon Vale, has just the right amount of pomposity and arrogance to counteract the docile and graceful nature of the older writers without appearing over the top.

This is not the usual Fringe fare, being a play more suited to the annual programme of one of the well-established local amateur theatre companies. However, for what it is, it is done well and will appeal to those people who are looking for something a little more traditional in their festival experience.

Kryztoff Rating: 3.5K 

See all Kryztoff’s previews at www.kryztoff.com and all our reviews here at www.kryztoff.com/RAW and remember also to subscribe for Adelaide’s most up to date reviews. To win free tix, join us also on Facebook and Twitter. 

To see reviews of shows not covered by Kryztoff go to BankSA Talkfringe at www.talkfringe.com.au.

FRINGE: Flamenco Puro – Nexus – 5K

By Julia George

This show is electrifying, it’ll take your breath away and send you on an exotic vacation to the heart of Spain, where the intoxicating rhythm of the feet, hands and gentle serenade of a trio of Spanish guitarists will take you on journey. For those who love dance, this will be right up your alley, and for those that don’t there is plenty to love about this show. The synchronicity of the guitars and the stomp of the feet is incredible – it’s seamless and effortless. The show is set in Nexus Cabaret, which has a unique Spanish feel, which set the scene for the show. Round tables, a long bar across the back and an intimate stage area. All that’s missing is Spanish tapas!

With three guitarists and a traditional sounding Spanish female singer the mood is set as the show begins with a group of four highly skilled dancers from the Flamenco Dance Areti academy. The star of the show is Fernando Mira, his talent is impeccable as his moves create a hypnotizing beat. Kieren Ray & Alain Valodze, two special guests on guitar, certainly deliver and add value to the show.

Overall this show is culture-rich, you will feel like you’re actually in Spain however all these talented artists are actually from Adelaide. It’s a feel good show, you’ll leave feeling inspired and amazed, plus the juxtaposition of the sharpness of the foot stomps and the softness of the hand movements resonates. Flamenco Puro is just that, pure flamenco created by artists with pure talent.

Kryztoff Rating  5K

See all Kryztoff’s previews at www.kryztoff.com and all our reviews here at www.kryztoff.com/RAW and remember also to subscribe for Adelaide’s most up to date reviews. To win free tix, join us also on Facebook and Twitter.

To see reviews of shows not covered by Kryztoff go to BankSA Talkfringe at www.talkfringe.com.au.

FRINGE: Hannah Gadsby – Rhino Room – 2.5K

By Daisy Sugars

From the moment that Hannah Gadsby awkwardly strolled out onto the tiny stage upstairs at the Rhino Room, it was obvious that she wasn’t inclined to warm to the crowd immediately. Gadsby started the show by admitting that she wasn’t likely to ‘peak early’ in the performance, and explained that this slow start could be attributed to a lack of effort on her behalf. After a few more witty comments about dream paralysis and the art of conversation, a portion of the crowd was chuckling accordingly.

Eventually, however slightly, I warmed to Gadsby’s antisocial character and managed to crack a smile, but I started to lose interest as the show progressed. At times throughout the performance it seemed as though Gadsby was floundering, and she tended to resort to unnecessary ranting about her weight issues to get a few laughs. Much of this material was stale and repetitive and contributed a negative tone to the performance, which was further reinforced by Gadsby’s nervous and excessive use of bad language. Gadsby wrapped up her show by assuring the crowd that she wasn’t building up to a big finish, a promise to which she remained faithful. Mrs. Chuckles is undoubtedly an entertaining show, and I can honestly say that I chuckled at least once, but I would advise anyone who is keen for some real ‘side-splitting’ humour to keep looking.

Kryztoff Rating  2.5K

See all Kryztoff’s previews at www.kryztoff.com and all our reviews here at www.kryztoff.com/RAW and remember also to subscribe for Adelaide’s most up to date reviews. To win free tix, join us also on Facebook and Twitter.

To see reviews of shows not covered by Kryztoff go to BankSA Talkfringe at www.talkfringe.com.au.

FRINGE – The Belle-Phonics – Music – The Promethean 4K

The Brenton Foster Band opened the evening, setting the mood with some light, smooth jazzy pop. The four boys are all Jazz players and their music is quite technical, possibly too technical to be fully appreciated by the general populace. However the crowd gathered in the Promethean were delighted by every note, applauding several times a song. Each member, bar the drummer performed a solo during one of their many tracks and each one worked beautifully within the confines of the track.

A delightful hour and a half later the Bellephonics took the stage. Their first track was just instrumental, the band warmed the audience before the diva Ally White took the stage. When she did I was almost knocked over by the sheer power of her voice. Then there was Sam ‘magic fingers’ Leske on lead guitar, a master of technique. Jason McMahon, Natalie Ahrens and Eric Santucci were the horn’s section, a section which was utilized beautifully throughout the show while Liam Garcia-Hardman, Brett Williams and Holly Thomas kept the smooth beat, bass line and rhythm through the show. An outstanding performance, the most convincing reason to listen to Jazz I’ve heard in a long time.

Kryztoff Rating 4K

See all Kryztoff’s previews at www.kryztoff.com and all our reviews here at www.kryztoff.com/RAW and remember also to subscribe for Adelaide’s most up to date reviews. To win free tix, join us also on Facebook and Twitter.

To see reviews of shows not covered by Kryztoff go to BankSA Talkfringe at www.talkfringe.com.au.

FRINGE: Zack Adams – Comedy – Tuxedo Cat – 3K

It’s rare to find a show whose subject content is exactly what the promotional material says it is – a one-man musical comedy show about the trials and tribulations of love. But Love Songs for Future Girl fits exactly within that description – at least for the first part of the show.

Performed ably to a disappointingly small opening night crowd in the brilliantly derelict Tuxedo Cat venue, Zack Adams generally delighted as he led the audience to poke fun at his failures as a boyfriend and as an artist. Although I normally find self-effacing pity-comedy somewhat cringeworthy – I really don’t find it that entertaining to hear about how terrible someone’s childhood was or what a failure their career is – Zack managed to endear himself through the wry hilarity with which he described monumental heartbreak and then progressively detailed every other girl he’s ever had an interest in – from his primary school dancing partner to a mysterious girl with a predilection for dating ‘douchebags’ sitting in one of his shows.

Zack’s voice and playing was very good, and it was particularly entertaining for audience members in the same age group – late 20s – to revel and cringe at the popular music that defined our awkward teenage years in the 1990s (although older and younger audience members may just cringe) as well as Zack’s often touching and hilarious original pieces. Similarly, the concept of a show painstakingly detailing every failed fling and romance had a lot of potential as a sort of new age cabaret.

Unfortunately, much like Zack’s love-life, the show derailed a little after the halfway mark, with the jokes and songs which really had nothing to do with the overlying ‘plot’ thrown in and creating the impression that Zack was just trying very hard to be funny. This revealed the underlying problem with the performance – it just wasn’t as polished or considered as it could be.

Nonetheless, Love Songs for a Future Girl is what the Fringe should be all about – not necessarily the most polished performances, but young Australian talent plying their trade. And overall, Love Songs for Future Girl was a very enjoyable way to spend an hour.

Kryztoff Rating  3K

See all Kryztoff’s previews at www.kryztoff.com and all our reviews here at www.kryztoff.com/RAW and remember also to subscribe for Adelaide’s most up to date reviews. To win free tix, join us also on Facebook and Twitter.

To see reviews of shows not covered by Kryztoff go to BankSA Talkfringe at www.talkfringe.com.au.

FRINGE: Bygone Error – Cabaret – SA Folk Centre – 4.5K

One of the joys of the Fringe is the thrill of being taken to new worlds. Bygone Error’s Music Hall extravaganza at the SA Folk Centre could not be further from the pirates and fruitcakes at the Garden of Unearthly Delights, in content and crowd as well as locale.

Paul and Christian Reynolds know how to turn on a show, to get a crowd going 19th century style with good songs and guests, alliterations and innuendo, all at ‘enormous expense.’ Their patter is machine gun like in its delivery, they are consummate performers and the blend of young and old works a treat.

Their stars were also skilled at their trade, which all made for a rousing night of sing-a-long fun with Miss Ruby Fox the stand out. Young performers and those looking to ply a trade in burlesque can do much worse than coming along and observing how professionals do it. Older folk will revel in the much loved and at times bawdy ballads and younger patrons will richly benefit from being immersed in quality cabaret that is local and true to its roots. Oh, they also provide you with song sheets (and the chance to buy cake) so no one will feel at a loss.

We rated it 4Ks last year and see no reason to do differently this year, though some may question why not something a bit higher. Well damn it, we will go higher.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

See all Kryztoff’s previews at www.kryztoff.com and all our reviews here at www.kryztoff.com/RAW and remember also to subscribe for Adelaide’s most up to date reviews. To win free tix, join us also on Facebook and Twitter.

To see reviews of shows not covered by Kryztoff go to BankSA Talkfringe at www.talkfringe.com.au.

FRINGE: Eurodiva – Cabaret – Zoo – 4K

By Julia George

As this local Adelaide ‘diva’ takes the audience on her journey to 10 countries throughout Europe she serenades in more languages than you could poke a stick at, celebrating European Divas of the past century.

It was a nice show, but definitely one more suited to the older crowd as the Gen Ys will not know many of these European artists including Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf, Mina, Dalida, Ceca Svetlana, Laura Pausini, Gloria Lasso and Nana Mouskouri.

The best thing about this show is that it’s live, a theatrical cabaret spectacle with a 7-piece big band who pump out some beautiful tunes, kudos to them. There are 10 European languages used during the show (1 of which is English). For those who don’t speak all these languages there are subtitles! Music videos accompanying the show, designed to take the audience on a full audiovisual journey, yet it fails to do so and lacks sophistication.

The Italo-Australian posing as ‘Euro Diva’, Teresa De Gennaro, really is talented – she has an incredible voice that is able to transfer from language to language seamlessly. She is well travelled and has performed for many years as a cabaret artist, actress and improvisational comedian. Her story is weaved in throughout the show, which makes for a nice personal touch as she explains how she came about the ‘Euro Diva’ phenomena. There is a clear biased slant to her Italian traditions as she sings in more Italian than any other language throughout the show.

Overall Adelaide’s own Euro Dive has a strong ability to tell her story and interpret songs, thus developing an intimate relationship with an audience. It was a nice show, definitely recommended for the over 50s though, that is if you want to be able to get into it and sing along, but if you’re up for something different check it out!

Kryztoff Rating  4K

See all Kryztoff’s previews at www.kryztoff.com and all our reviews here at www.kryztoff.com/RAW and remember also to subscribe for Adelaide’s most up to date reviews. To win free tix, join us also on Facebook and Twitter.

To see reviews of shows not covered by Kryztoff go to BankSA Talkfringe at www.talkfringe.com.au.

RAW: Tim McMillan vs Yogi Glare – Worldsend – 3.5K

Tim McMillan, the master of ‘Goblincore’ –  prog metal played by skinny nerds – is back for his second Fringe at the Worldsend. Defining his show is not easy but it is nowhere as intimidating as his PR spin of ‘obnoxious mind-blowing musical comedy’ would suggest.

Tim on acoustic and side kick Brad Lewis on bass play a combination of self written and cover tunes engaging in instrument playing trickery, weird lyrics and a particularly dry delivery. In response to wondering what Oprah Winfrey in outer space would be like, the two of them finished up playing their instruments like conjoined Siamese twins. Somehow Stairway to Heaven got merged with Toto’s Africa and their manager explained what all this Yogi Glare nonsense was about in German. So, you see how hard reviewing this show is.

This is a different but not awkward performance, a new method to show off virtuosity and make bar room music even more enjoyable at the same time. Take them in.

Kryztoff Rating  3.5K