MARATHON – ADELAIDE FRINGE 2018

With their dialogue falling into sync with the pounding of their feet on a lonely road at night Steve and Mark discuss life and love. They are in training for the New York Marathon.
Brilliantly and convincingly brought to life by Ross Vosvotekas and Adam Cirillo who run for virtually the entire 55 minutes (they have been in training for over 4 months) Marathon is showing in the band room of the Crown and Anchor Hotel until March 18th.
The play opens with Steve lying on the ground, seemingly resting or asleep until Mark roughly rouses him. Steve complains that he is not fit enough to run today, that he has the flu. His friend Mark continues to drive him on.
As their run progresses one can start to sense that all may not be as it seems. The roles of the two runners become reversed with Steve now being the one to lead. Disorientation starts to set in and familiar landmarks are missed as a fog descends.
Highly recommended.
5K
Note : Show contains coarse language and adult themes.
Written by Eduardo Erba and translated from the Italian by Colin Teevan.

FRINGE COMEDY— Scientology the Musical— The Speakeasy @ Gluttony — 4K

scaled_Website_Hero_SquareBy Belle Dunning

The year is 1954, and you’re about to begin your training to become a Scientologist. Don’t think you have any problems in your life that need fixing? Don’t worry, you don’t know what’s wrong with you until Scientology tells you. And trust me, your personality test results will likely be the worst they’ve ever seen.

George Glass Comedy returns to the 2018 Adelaide Fringe to once again share with audiences their incredibly clever, sci-fi rock music exploration of the world’s most bizarre religion. As with George Glass’ previous creations, ‘Scientology the Musical’ will be unlike anything else you’ve seen. The cast of four — all genuinely musically talented — will enlighten you on some of the key principles, teachings and myths surrounding the world of Scientology, all through cleverly crafted and incredibly catchy songs. The opener, ‘It’s so hard being right all the time’, was a particular highlight.

The dialogue is fast-paced and witty, the energy is high and many of the ‘truth facts’ dropped will leave you genuinely concerned that people believe this stuff. The show very cleverly reveals the bizarre duality and inconsistencies of Scientology through the neurotic and confused musings of the characters themselves, who are — alongside you — on the endless journey to enlightenment.

Watching them push peanuts around on the floor with their noses and recite excerpts from Alice in Wonderland to gain favour (both apparently genuine occurrences aboard L Ron Hubbard’s ship back in the day), you realise how frighteningly gullible people can be when under the influence of a cultish figure. Yet at the same time, you can’t help but laugh.

On your journey you will learn that ‘things can be two things’, that hugging will fix everything and that a billion years isn’t enough when you’re waiting for the return of your leader (except when you run out of your abstinence pills).

Scientology the Musical is bizarre, intellectual and fantastically musical. If you like a healthy blend of religion, sci-fi and cynicism you won’t be disappointed — and for an affordable price, you too might be granted permission to open the carefully guarded briefcase of secrets, although it’s highly likely you’ll lose your mind.

Kryztoff Rating 4K

FRINGE 2018 – A GAME OF CHESS: THE PROKOFIEV VIOLIN SONATAS – 4.5K

by Riccardo Barone

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Checkmate! No, Stalinmate! Entering in the world of Sergej Prokof’ev you have to make sure you can stand high dosage of sarcasm, anger and obsession. But never define his music as grotesque, or he will come back from the death to strangle you!

These two immortal jewels, the violin and piano sonatas n 1 in F minor Op 80 and n 2 in D major Op 94a, have been performed with so much intensity and energy by Lachlan Bramble, Associate Principal 2nd Violin Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the pianist Kenan Henderson that you could really wear the composer’s moody energy.

We know how the form, the structure and the classic influence have been so relevant in the Russian composer’s works. Both sonatas have been written for his friend/violinist David Oistrakh, which has been his opponent in some chess tournaments too. Indeed the elegant Radford Auditorium of the Art Gallery (closed to the public on that time) has been guesting a brilliant scenography with a big chess carpet with giant chess pieces and a chair in the middle, where the narrator Martin Penhale has been reading some monologues written by Kenan Henderson based on quotes of Prokof’ev and Oistrakh. On the top hanged on the wall: pictures of the Maestro playing chess, portraits of himself and Oistrakh.

During the performance: sensations of wind blowing through the grave, quoting Prokof’ev, and visions of walking across a pink-iced landscape (Andante from the 1st sonata), quoting myself.

 Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

FRINGE THEATRE – Mengele – The Bakehouse Theatre – 5K

scaled_Untitled_designAlexander Ewers

Mengele. A confession. A biopic. A requiem. An indictment. A warning. It is hard to know how to describe this show, or how to define its impact on the observer. The emotional palette ranges through sombre, frightening, enraging, sorrowful and every unnamed and unholy combination thereof. Mengele the man as reincarnated in Mengele the show – prepare to leave bearing an indelible imprint on mind and soul, with more questions than answers, with uncomfortable truths and comforting lies that will haunt in moments of solitude.

One of a suite of plays in Guy Masterson’s Lest We Forget season, Mengele is a brief glimpse into the mind and soul of Josef Mengele, the notorious Auschwitz “Angel of Death” as played by Tim Marriott. On the beach in which he ultimately spends his final moments, the show imagines his interaction with the enigmatic Azra’il (Stefanie Rossi). There follows a stream of consciousness, the epilogue of a soul at war with itself, as Azra’il coaxes forth a dialogue and diatribe horrifying but transfixing in its self-righteousness. It could be said to be the confessions of a dying man, except that it is no confession – it is a maelstrom of remorseless justification and consummate vanity, an unapologetic attempt at self-expungement. Mengele unleashes the undimmed ideological wolves of Nazism. Eugenics are exalted. Weakness reviled. Strength worshipped. God abhorred and cruel gods venerated. But this is no mere history lesson. Each of these motifs are disquieting in their familiarity, and parallels cannot help but be drawn to the currents of xenophobia, autocracy, and callousness… even cruelty, rippling through society today.

For 60 minutes, Marriott holds sway, delivering a performance that commandeers and manipulates the emotions. For there are moments when one feels empathy, even amity towards Mengele. But at every point, the wildest flourishes of rhetoric are contained and balanced by Stefanie Rossi, who in her debut performance as Azra’il, is every bit Marriott’s stage peer. Azra’il – mysterious, powerful, inscrutable. Completing and echoing Mengele’s thoughts in a way that simultaneously questions, refutes and placates, she possesses an insight only possible through mutually shared experience. Azra’il…. is this a reckoning with the spirit of his victims, the spirit of Israel herself? An externalisation of a moral subconscious hitherto repressed? A conversation with God, or death, or both? Perhaps all are true – for Death is Mengele’s oldest companion and in her presence, the demons of the conscience must eventually be faced.

Entertainment is too trivial a word for this experience. Factually biographic, historically accurate, culturally and socially necessary – Mengele is endorsed by Holocaust historians, advocates of Jewish culture, and theatre enthusiasts alike (New York Fringe Encore Winner). Theatrically, little stage embellishment is necessary, but two noteworthy inclusions do leave a profound effect. A montage of concentration camp scenes is interposed between the three key acts … memories replayed or perhaps simply a graphic reminder? Lending further awful gravitas, weeping Yiddish melodies lilt in and out during the play, moments when emotional composure is nigh impossible.

Doctors and gods. Doctors who are gods. Family. The elderly and the infants. The innocent. The invulnerable. Mengele touches on it all – it is theatre of both the physical and the metaphysical, painted in ambiguity and yet planting seeds of clarity. Viewers will physically depart after the hour concludes, but the deep questions the performance inspires linger far longer in the mind. How can history be merely the past when humanity IS history, and humanity is past, present and future? And where humanity treads, there always lies a choice – will history repeat, or can the future be made anew?

A must-see masterpiece, with a message more relevant than ever. Lest we forget.

Kryztoff Rating 5K

FRINGE CABARET – Hans: If You Don’t Love Me… Leave – Gluttony – 3K

By Peter Maddern

One can experience very different emotions watching Adelaide’s own Hans, or as he would have it, the German boy making good in his adopted homeland. The show is glitzy, the banter at time sharp and never is there a moment for pausing – it’s a 60 minute smiling, singing, splash around on a long stage. If that is all you are after, then a Han’s hour might just be the way to kick your Fringe evening off – for many it would seem at Thursday’s modest turnout it was.

On the other hand, Matt Gilbertson’s whole character / alter ego is devoid of sense and originality. His own PR says he’s from Berlin “bringing a touch of Bavaria” but Berlin isn’t in Bavaria. As my accompanying German friend confirmed his German is worse than mine; he presents as a guy dressed in drag doing Dame Edna (who doesn’t present that way) lines we have all heard before. He can’t much sing and despite attempting to display an array of talents – from swinging through the air (what was that all about?) to playing the piano one thing is for sure that beyond stomping up and down he can’t dance.

It’s splashy and trashy and given the years he has been around the opportunity to define a character as a comic voice of Adelaide it seems has been foregone either for want of ambition and talent or due to the constraining influence of his maker’s other media responsibilities around town. Either way Hans sits nowhere much.

In a Fringe where there are 1200 other options and at up to $38 a seat, God knows why one would buy a ticket to Hans but under our scale of ‘if it’s okay to go to if nothing else was on’ I am obliged to give it 3 Ks. As for his invitation to leave if you don’t love him, you may well find yourself sorely tempted.

Kryztoff Rating 3K

FRINGE 2018 – THEATRE – The Colour Orange: The Pauline Hanson Musical – Raj House – 4.5K

scaled_Sydney_Fringe_Critics__Pick_2017The current political landscape is dark and divisive. At times like this, when politics becomes a caricature of itself, all we can really do is laugh. The Colour Orange outlines the history of One Nation and the unusual rise, fall, and rise again of Pauline Hanson.

Through music played by five-piece band, The Flaming Howards, the audience is taken on a wild ride through Australian political history that is all too familiar for many of us. The original songs were hilarious, well researched and catchy.

The cast is brilliant: expressive, adaptive and pitch-perfect. The small team of five actors rotated the roles of Pauline Hanson and also played familiar faces like Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard, Kochie and the kind of “Aussie Battler” you’d encounter in a Facebook comment section.

One thing that may throw you is the role of Pauline Hanson continuously changes. The audience adapts quickly to this and there appear to be logical reasons why the actor keeps changing. I had a personal favourite Pauline (Kirralee Elliot), so while the other Paulines were excellent, I found myself hoping for Kirralee’s Pauline to make another entrance.

Outside the small performance space at Raj House, a range of orange-themed merchandise is available for sale. The pieces were adorable, reasonably priced and a great little extra to an unforgettable experience. This, combined with the soundtrack available for pre-order is simply a cherry on top of a polished show.

This musical was tight, intelligent, hilarious, entertaining and overflowing with musical talent. It drives home a powerful message about the power of publicity. It is a must-see for those disenchanted by Australian Politics and just those who need a laugh.

4.5K

FRINGE 2018 – CABARET – Burlesque by Force – Nexus – 4.5K

By Peter Maddern

Brodie John’s solo show is an often brutal affair for both performer and his audience. It is about sexuality, overt sexuality in a straight guy’s world, about first sexual encounters and about sexual encounters that go wrong – for no fault of one’s own. It’s about seeking joy and pleasure but being left with scars. His is a story devoid of that glow we were sold on when it came to marriage equality – this vote for love will solve all gay men’s problems. His story is all the more harrowing and embarrassing for this is not about the 19th century world of Oscar Wilde or post war world of Alan Turing; this is about all the few years of the current century.

One feels sure Marissa Bennett’s direction teased out and toned down the feelings, trauma and outrage that John’s own script may have exuded so we get a finely nuanced and nicely worked production that has our player mostly either reflecting at the dressing room table or robing and de-robing at his clothes stand.

As an audience member the hope is that the truth has been ‘gilded’ for dramatic effect, for maybe that gives us a permission to leave the room after without a need to make some useful gesture of remorse for the members of our town who have hurt and violated such a sweet soul. However, as much as one may wish this, the nagging and dominating doubt is that we only got unvarnished facts.

Burlesque By Force is a powerful work, superbly delivered and coming as it did ahead of the #metoo / Harvey Weinstein era another timely reminder that it takes more than books to be truly civilised in our behaviour towards one another and Australian society’s embrace of homosexuality has a very long way to go that gestures won’t do much to resolve.

Kryztoff Rating   4.5K

FRINGE 2018 – MUSIC – Underground Lovers – Garden – 3K

By Peter Maddern

This Melbourne based cult indie band had their solo show Sunday before around 300 faithful. Not clear whether they got what they came for as much material came off the band’s latest album and the mixing early was not beneficial to the overall sound effect. Probably better suited to a pub environment that the Spiegeltent but no doubt fans got their fill.

Kryztoff Rating   3K

FRINGE THEATRE — Fleabag— The Box @ GOUD — 5K

scaled_FleabagBy Belle Dunning

Fleabag is a one-woman performance that will leave you floored. Its raw honesty and emotion, inappropriate humour and the genuine connection you develop with Fleabag herself is surprising and refreshing. In a modern age where we all struggle to put down our phones, be present and just engage with other people, Maddie Rice’s performance reminds us that well-performed theatre — with nothing but a chair as a prop and the audience’s imagination — is a true art.

In her portrayal of the troubled yet charming twenty-six year old Fleabag, Rice brings you back into the present and for one hour creates another world, her world, right there in front of you. That world revolves around a guinea-pig themed cafe on the brink of liquidation, her ongoing trauma and sadness over the recent death of her best friend, and her desperate addiction to sex. Through her reactions to the people in her everyday life, her frequent replaying of her friend’s still connected phone message, and her desperate sexting to anyone at all, we slowly break through Fleabag’s confident, funny exterior and experience the pain and depression that lies underneath.

Originally created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and turned into a BAFTA-award-winning BBC TV series, Rice is only the second actress after Waller-Bridge herself to play Fleabag. Her performance, though, feels incredibly real and genuine. As an audience member you gain an insight into Fleabag’s every thought, good and bad, and realise that she is just as painfully human as the rest of us. Rice is a truly talented actress and manages to create an entire world and experience out of nothing — it captivates and envelops you just as thoroughly as a fantastic book, enabling you to create your own scenes and meaning from her prompts and descriptions.

Fleabag is also important as a piece of modern theatre that challenges our preconceptions about what it means to be a woman in today’s world. Fleabag, the character, is unashamedly comfortable with and open about her sexuality. It is refreshing to hear a woman talk about things that rarely get touched, let alone in front of an entire room full of people.

Fleabag is funny, heartbreaking, honest and poetically beautiful all at once and is the best show I have seen in a while. Even if theatre isn’t your thing, this will be. The wide age and demographic range of the audience is testament to that — anyone can see this. Fleabag is showing at the Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 18, and you should definitely go and see it.

Kryztoff Rating 5K

Fringe 2018 – We Are Ian – 4.5K – Gluttony

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Nora, Dora, and Kat are three of the best physical comedians you’ll see this Fringe.

The three women weren’t around in 1989, the year of partying, defying Thatcher, necking brown biscuits and dancing until your feet bleed, but Ian was – and he’s going to take them back in time to show them how to really party.

We Are Ian is really impressive physical comedy, clowning, and theatrical comedy. With clever use of audio/visual technologies, rave music, lip syncing, amazing dance routines, and three packets of digestive biscuits, this show is a fantastically fun night out at the Fringe.

Go in there prepared to dance – and when the time comes, just do it. This show will leave you on such a high, full of laughter and feeling ready to have the best night of your life, so just embrace the audience participation and roll with it. If you let yourself go with the music and the girls of We Are Ian, you’ll have a great night out – brown biscuits or not.

Kryztoff Rating: 4.5K

 

Note: this show contains heavy usage of strobe lighting and house music.