FRINGE 2021 – DIRT – The Arch at Holden Street Theatres – 5K

By Belle Dunning

DIRT is contemporary theatre at its best – intimate, immersive and painfully relevant.

From the first exchange between Patrick Livesey and Will King, you are drawn into their world. A conversation between a Russian tour guide and a hapless Australian tourist which evolves into a dangerous night out, a confrontation of their true motives. 

Through this carefully woven narrative (written by Angus Cameron and directed by Bronwen Coleman), DIRT explores the horror of the anti-gay purges in modern-day Chechnya and the suffocating reality of a young man left in its wake. While confronting, it also offers glimpses of hope and solidarity — if you’re prepared to dig below the surface. 

Livesey and King are the perfect pair on-stage, their genuine intimacy and connection is clear and makes the narrative utterly believable. With few props, it’s the clever dialogue and the moments of tension between the two which draws you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

This is the kind of theatre experience that surprises you in its depth, utterly consumes your attention and leaves you wanting more.

DIRT is showing for the rest of this week at Holden Street Theatres — this is one not to miss.

Kryztoff Rating 5K

ADLFRINGE2021- Somnia – The Peacock @ Gluttony – 4K

There are a lot of shows out there that claim to be ‘adult’ or ‘naughty’. Some of them hit that mark more than others – but not many achieve this status quite as much as the very late night Somnia does.

Scheduled to start at the already quite late time of 10.50pm, we were all stuck in the queue for some 20 minutes past the start time. Frustrating though this wait can be (particularly in the cold – that autumnal weather sure struck quickly), once the line started moving and we took our seats inside the Peacock tent it was clear that we were in for a beautiful nightmare.

As the name suggests, Somnia is an exploration of the physical manifestation of dreams and sleep – which the producers, who apparently suffer from narcolepsy, know all about.

The show involves a woman who goes to bed and, while fast asleep, has a number of unnamed visitors. It is unclear if these visitors are angels or demons or simply succubi. Overall, the effect is both terrifying and mesmerising in equal measure, and extremely difficult to describe other than to say that it is a beautiful show.

A combination of extremely well-carried out aerobatics, acrobatics and burlesque, the show is sexy and macabre in the extreme. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at a skeleton the same way again.

Somnia is disturbing and uncomfortable – but intentionally so. If you are looking for something sexy, intriguing, skillful and a little bit frightening, this is the show for you.

4K

FRINGE 2021 – James Donald Forbes McCann: Aussie and Proud – 4K – The Howling Owl

James Donald Forbes McCann has a dream. It’s not particularly interesting, nor is it anything similar to Martin Luther King Jr.’s infamous dream, but it’s a dream nonetheless. And by the end of the show, you’ll know the dream whether you like it or not.

James is Aussie and Proud, and throughout his brand new hour, he explores how Australia has wound up where it is. Naturally, the way to start is with the tablets of Gilgamesh, working through a theory regarding flags and their proportionate social rights, and finishing with…well, James’ dream.

James McCann is always a Fringe favourite, and one of SA’s best comedians. Following James’ previous show Devil’s AdvocateAussie and Proud takes his famous acerbic, biting brand of humour and leads you on a journey that, whilst it lost its way in the middle (although it should be noted that this was a preview performance), left us with a brand new anthem and perhaps even a new way of running our country.

Pull up a seat with one of the best comedians in the country, and feel free to bring your best green and gold.

Kryztoff rating: 4K

 

ALDFRINGE2021 – Petit Circus: Bon Appetit – The Peacock @ Gluttony – 4.5K

This is another amazing circus show that comes to the Fringe every year: but this year, Petit Circus: Bon Appetit has been served up with a bit of a twist. As the name suggests, this circus trio’s performance is set entirely within a restaurant kitchen, big-top style, and includes a world-renowned chef, a hapless but helpful head waiter and the restaurant’s owner, Jane.

Of all of the kids’ circuses and shows that I have seen, this is probably the most seamless and professional, and features truly amazing stunts including fire juggling, tightrope walking (and juggling), musical acrobatics (yes, it’s a very impressive thing that features a trapeze and a ukulele) and my all-time favourite, aerobatic silks – to name only a few.

A quick look around at the audience confirmed my suspicions that the adults were enjoying the show just as much as the kids. In truth, I’d probably go and see this by myself, such is the level of acrobatic mastery and genuine entertainment.

If you have kids, like kids or were once a kid, this show is a total must-see.

4.5K

 

ADLFRINGE2021 – CIRCUS – The Flamingo @ Gluttony – 4K

I love a good circus (who doesn’t). If a circus does what it is supposed to do, there is a guaranteed amount of acrobatics, clowning, magic and general mayhem.

CIRCUS, presented by Showmen Productions, certainly doesn’t disappoint, even featuring an old-fashioned ringmaster with a top hat and tails (ambitious for Adelaide’s March weather, if you ask me). I have seen this show previously, and there aren’t very many new additions in 2021 – not that this matters at all, because the kids were enthralled regardless and clearly would have happily finished the show and walked right back in to watch it again.

Between the acrobatic dancers, mysterious magician, stuntman (probably my favourite part of the show – I just don’t know how he doesn’t fall to his death, or at the very least to a broken collarbone) and hapless clown, this show is just good old-fashioned circus fun for the kids.

I would recommend this show for ages 3 up. Be aware that stage management for this show has asked for a spare seat to be left between each family member, so if you have a particularly young child be forewarned that you may need to negotiate this.

CIRCUS is another excellent feature of the Fringe lineup. I can’t wait to see it again next year.

4K

 

ADLFRINGE2021 – Bubble Show with Mini Milkshake – The Flamingo @ Gluttony – 4.5K

Taking in a Fringe show with two kids on a Saturday morning is a task for only the bravest of parents or caregivers. Anybody who has ever tried it will surely agree with me, and I can’t have been the only adult in the long queue at The Flamingo feeling the same as me.

Nonetheless, the atmosphere of excitement for the Bubble Show with Mini Milkshake was high – and deservedly so. The plot of the show is simple but sweet: a man makes beautiful bubbles in all kinds of amazing variations, set against the backdrop of stunning music, and plays with his little ragdoll – who suddenly comes to life in all her mischievous, bubble-creating glory, much to her creator’s shock.

The plot wonderfully allows the bubble-masters to display their sheer wizardry, which is nothing short of breathtaking – featuring huge bubbles, tiny bubbles, moving bubbles, bubble juggling, silhouette-trickery and even smoke-filled bubbles. I’m honestly still trying to figure out how they achieved such trickery.

The show is probably most appropriate for kids between the ages of 18 months to 8 years, although it is certainly still entertaining for all ages.

If you want to see something unusual and spectacular with your young kids, you can’t go wrong with this show.

4.5K

FRINGE 2021: Karen from Finance is Out of Office – Gluttony – 5K

I’ll just come out and say it from the start: this is drag at its finest. This is pure entertainment. This is Karen from Finance.

One of Australia’s most beloved drag queens returns to Adelaide Fringe for the first time in years in her solo show. Karen from Finance has accrued 4 months worth of annual leave – primarily due to never having a day off in her entire illustrious career – and the boss is forcing her to take time off. One hilarious (four month long) bender later and she and her best friend Clippy (yes, Clippy of Microsoft Office fame) are stranded here, trying to get to Melbourne in time for her first day back.

This one-hour, one-woman effort is filled with more laughs, lip syncing, and wigs than you can poke a COVID-safe 1.5m long stick at. Karen from Finance more than holds the audience’s attention with big numbers and clever little ploys (including a sneaky trick to get more social media followers – and yes, I followed). This is quintessential drag but with a relatable and very Aussie edge.

If you need a good time this Fringe, look no further than Australia’s own Queen of Corporate.

Kryztoff rating: 5K

FRINGE 2021 – Ange Lavoipierre: Zealot – Gluttony – 4K

Do you believe in God? What about Santa? In that case, why not a Christmas demon called Krampus or a “slutty Blue Google Maps Dot”?

Comedian and Journalist Ange Lavoipierre of The Signal fame asks these questions – the same ones she asked her mum when she was 10, just before she was converted by a group of extremist Christians.

In Zealot, Lavoipierre plots her life’s course from young wannabe witch, through to young Crusader, on past her experience of being a 12-year-old groomed by a 21-year-old Pastor’s son, sailing by a bout of serious illness in her teens, and landing right here, telling her story and questioning how easily we believe what we’re told.

This hour of comedy storytelling borders on the absurd, niche brand of character-driven laughs that make Fringe theatre great. Fleshing out her bizarre cast of characters with spot-on voices and great costume changes, Lavoipierre’s show is at it’s best when it’s at it’s craziest. It’s in these moments, often through the guise of other people, that the funniest (and somehow the most poignant) stories are told.

Hampered by tech issues, noise bleed from neighbouring venues in Gluttony (Zealot is in one of Gluttony’s new open air venues), wind blowing half the props away, and as Lavoipierre herself put it, time away from the show, this hour of comedy wasn’t at it’s snappiest. Some lines were missed or fumbled, and there were sections where it was hard to hear over the chorus of WAP occurring in a nearby show. This, at times, seemed to through Lavoipierre off her game.

Having said that, there were plenty of laughs, great characters, and an engaging story from a fantastic performer. Just sit back, pray to Krampus, and bring an extra jacket. Tarot readings encouraged.

Kryztoff rating: 4K

ADLFRINGE2021 – BasketballMan can Fly – The Garage International @ Adelaide Town Hall – 4.5K

The Fringe always brings some extremely unique talent, and ‘Basketball Man Can Fly’ certainly delivers.

The show follows the extremely affable BasketballMan (aka Rashaun Daniels), who dreamed of playing for the NBA but, in his own words ‘came up short’. Instead, he focused his energies on perfecting his handling of the basketball, and honed his skills into being able to perform jaw-dropping feats of coordination.

Genuinely hilarious and breath-takingly impressive, BasketballMan makes it seem as though he really can do whatever he wants with the basketball – and can even fly while saving the world.

Based on both the raucous laughter heard from the young audience and the number of starry-eyed kids in basketball jerseys lined up outside after the performance, he certainly delivered.

This show is truly enjoyable for young and old, but will truly delight sporty kids between the ages of approximately 6 and 12.

An absolute must-see of this year’s Fringe.

4.5K

Lost Lives – Holden Street – 3.5K

By Ben Watson

A blood-stained bed idles the stage floor as the audience awaits the hard-hitting two-hander to come, Lost Lives. The vacant mattress marks the brutal death of a young woman, Jane Kelly. On the verdict day of her murder trial, an unlikely forensic cleaning duo begin their work – an elderly lady nearing her tether and a young Muslim boy. Despite Immediate friction between the pair, as the story progresses, similarities become apparent while mutually shared hardships emerge. Both characters struggle with loneliness and finding a sense of belonging in a morbid field of work and an ever-evolving society. A clever script normalizes the abnormal (domestic violence, murder) in order to highlight the subliminal challenges experienced by all.

a close up of a book

Humour seeps through the bleak plot in the form of both intergenerational and cultural conflict. Among the contrasting factors, a seemingly cold environment evolves into a safe space for intimate, vulnerable discussions. Unexpected twists and turns await as the story unfolds.

Frontline investigators aside, this drama offers an interesting perspective from the unsung cleaners of every grisly crime-scene. A thought-provoking play, delivering a pertinent message –  of moving beyond racial, cultural and generational stereotypes, embracing everyday commonalities. Simply put – don’t judge a book by its cover. Recommended for ages 18+, violent themes.

3.5K