FRINGE CABARET – He’s Every Woman – Gluttony – Masonic Lodge – Owl Room – 4K

By Fiona Talbot – Leigh

 Justin Clausen more than lives up to the title of his exceptional show; He’s every woman. Joined by the incredibly talented Jamie Burgess, this show is one of those hidden gems that you will find this fringe. Hailing from Melbourne, these two talented performers have come together to create a fabulous show which hooks from start to finish.

Cutting a very fine figure in tight black pants, killer heels and sparkling top, Justin began the show with a very rousing rendition of Tina Turner’s River Deep Mountain High and from that fantastic start, things continued on as such throughout the evening.

His vocal range is incredible and add to that the most exquisite tone; makes him a voice to seek out and know. The way he holds himself demands a quiet respect and I could see this talented performer would be right at home on the Broadway Stage.

Justin has a golden voice that can reach great heights. His unique and dulcet tones shined through in each number he performed. As well as being completely competent vocally, he injected such warmth and passion into each song that had me in tears on more than one occasion; such is his ability to reach out and connect with all there.

To put it plainly, Justin is simply divine and added to all of this musical talent is his wonderful sense of humour, comic timing and some of the best celebrity impersonations that I’ve seen. (To see and especially hear him as Cher is worth the ticket price itself.) The audience got but a glimpse of these impressions which had us awaiting more.

Being Justin’s best friend, Jamie’s presence in the show was the underlining pin that kept things moving and his harmonies on the night were just sublime. I thought that I had seen all that this incredibly talented man had to offer in past shows but I was wrong; like Justin, his talent knows no boundaries.

There is plenty of light and shade throughout the performance with poignant moments dotted throughout the fun. Being close friends, means that there is wonderful rapport between Justin and Jamie and they can work an audience like nobody’s business. Speaking of which, this show deserves a large audience and I feel it won’t be long before Justin Clausen becomes a household name. So get out and see him, while you can still afford to.

4K

Fringe 2020 – Ashley Hribar plays Dr Caligari: musical rebirth of a silent film legend – 3K

by Riccardo Barone

Silent movies are an outstanding canvas on which composers and musicians free their creative flow, using all available and possible tools, expressing their unique and personal language and style, strictly connected to images, depending on synopsis and scenarios.
Ashley Hribar is a brilliant Composer and Pianist, with an impressive piano technique and composition skills.
His piano is clean, clear, and midi connected and amplified in and out. Next to it a Moog DFAM Drum Machine implements the performance. The resulting general sound is an interesting electro-acoustic texture, having the impression of a Piano Concerto. Some little live percussions enhance the performance, with the support of bells and egg shakers.
Ashley Hribar prefers to focus on “what’s happening on the scene” rather than creating rhapsodyc leitmotivs and reoccurring themes, choosing to comment rather than to observe, to describe with realism rather than with introspection; indeed he needed to play pre-recorded sound effects like voices of people or soundscapes.
The show went for more than 75 minutes.

Kryztoff rating: 3k

FESTIVAL – DANCE NATION – STATE THEATRE – Scott Theatre – 2.5K

By Peter Maddern

When a group of pubescing girls (and one guy) come together to pursue their passion of ballet, the tumult of hormones – internally and externally generated – will cause ructions. Clare Barron, a young U.S. writer, takes this circumstance on in what was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize of drama and reactions to the work by the State Theatre Company, its first under new director Mitchell Butel, will divide its audience. This reviewer can only think the pool for the Pulitzer last year was pretty shallow.

The work opens with great lightness and touch but the ‘pre-match’ address that came by dance Teacher Pat (Butel) was jarring; not only did it seem out of his character as we had briefly come to know it but one wondered whether the writer or the character were taking the piss and if not, what were they thinking. The reaction of the girls that followed the news that they were competing against a troupe of well-trained boys was at one level (and in days gone by) amusing but at another offensive for if the genders had been swapped there would have been outrage about toxic masculinity. (Ditto the song about pussies.)

While the aspirations of the individual dancers, seemingly as one at the start, get challenged and their potential at dance gets swamped by other factors, from a lack of talent to thoughts of to whom they will lose their virginity, but just how the girls get there is not obvious; it has just happened by the time long static scenes takes us through were they have come to.

Director Imara Savage notes that “we mustn’t forget that Dance Nation was written by a young woman in Trump’s America” and it seems increasingly that State Theatre production choices, even with a new director, target such wokeness and ideological purity even at the considerable expense of good writing. Those that seek such fare may well swoop like moths to Dance Nation’s flame but one wonders what is really there for anyone when the light goes out.

The two main actors, Yvette Lee as Amina and Chika Ikogwe as Zuzu do fine jobs and Jonathon Oxlade’s stage as a brightly coloured rehearsal room is nicely complemented by Alexander Berlage’s lighting design.

Let’s hope this isn’t the future.

Kryztoff Rating 2.5K

FRINGE COMEDY: Impromptunes – The Completely Improvised Musical – Parasol Lounge at Gluttony – 3K

Image result for impromptunes review

By Ben Watson

The Impromptunes cast, along with their very capable pianist, create an entirely improvised musical each night (as the title explains). The performers introduce the improvisational concept before an audience suggestion is randomly chosen and the premier/finale show is commenced.
As no two shows are the same, excitement of the unknown lures crowds towards performances of this variety – every audience will take away a unique experience. Upon acquiring the show’s official title (Back to Black in this case), the pianist provided an overture – one of the more graceful aspects of the performance. Despite having no involvement selecting the musical’s title, the cast leaps into character bouncing ideas off each other to develop a spontaneous plot in which they would be anchored to for the remaining 50 minutes of the show. I could discuss the bizarre storyline which unravelled thereon, although as I’ve already mentioned, the actual intricacies of such a show are will never truly be repeated.

The art of improvisation is certainly an entertaining spectacle. Some of the best comedic moments throughout were established within the unavoidable plot holes created during the creatively raw performance style. Any rehearsed performance would desire nothing less than a demonstration of such disorganised chaos, the imperfect nature of Impromptunes works heavily in their favour.

The entire cast were definitely talented; almost all of them very able singers, actors and dancers. Despite the pianist being quite competent, the music and singing was somewhat lacklustre, it did not seem to develop or evolve as the musical elapsed.

An enjoyable night, though some of the humour may not be suited to a younger crowd. I would suggest 15 years and up for this one.

Kryztoff Rating 3K

FRINGE COMEDY: AMOS GILL – RUINS – Rhino Room – 4.5K

By Peter Maddern

According to Amos Gill the western world as we know it is crumbling into ruin, pretty much as previous empires have. Amos is a bright guy – with a law degree now after 11 years! – and he has researched his topic well, aiding his presentation with a nice series of images.

I have seen Amos a few times over the life of his law degree including right back at its start and he has certainly now developed into a top flight comic, so much so he has given up his morning radio gig here on Airheads FM and now tours the world doing his shows.

Amos is a funny guy but what stands him out from the pack is a fearlessness about his humour. Not so much as to go where no comedian has gone before but rather its opposite, to go back to what used to be standard comic fodder. Political correctness has taken over the world including the crazy brave pursuit of standing alone on a stage armed only with a microphone and quickly aging beer and hoping you can make people laugh. Amos knows his humour and how his audience is reacting to it is somewhat of a high wire act but he pushes on and gets his message across; you may not agree with it but you’ll laugh a plenty getting there.

Me fears the woke warriors will eventually catch up with Amos, so get in there quick before the offence police crash through the doors. This is another fine Adelaide comic doing gigs on bigger stages elsewhere but home for a few here over the Fringe.

Kryztoff Rating 4.5K

FRINGE MUSIC – Amity Dry: Highway Superstar – Gluttony – Empire Theatre 4K

By Fiona Talbot – Leigh

Amity Dry has been through a lot these past years and riding on the success of her last two sell out shows; 39 Forever and Fortified, she is now in the mood for a little fun as her offering this time around is Highway Superstar. A high energy, fast paced show which is not only incredibly fun to watch but as an audience member, you get to sing along too.

Amity draws on her inner ‘dag’ as she brings to life many of the classic hit songs from the 80’s and 90’s; the songs she would sing into her hairbrush when she was a kid. Looking every bit an 80’s child, Amity steps out in tight black pants and sparkly Cold Chisel T shirt starting the show by belting out one of Jimmy Barnes hits, ‘Driving Wheels.’

Amity’s voice lifted the roof right from the start as she instantly transported all there back to the 1980’s. She made it clear from the beginning, that the show would be a joint effort and invited the audience to take the ride with her on life’s highway and to not be afraid to sing out loud and proud the songs we knew and loved. There is even a chance to join Amity onstage at one point during the show as she brings together an impromptu choir for a number.

Like a fine wine, Amity Dry’s voice just keeps  getting better with age. Her sublime vocals were put to the test this time around though as her song list was compiled of many different genre’s including those driven by male vocals and Amity hit it out of the ball park every single time. She made it look so easy and yes we all sound good singing along to the radio but turn the sound down and it’s another story! But these songs were safe in Amity’s hands as her agile and rich vocals paid tribute to every single one.

To fit in as many favourites as she can, Amity composed clever medleys of songs, so you can be sure one of your favourites will be in there somewhere.

Amity is joined once again by the very charismatic and charming Jamie Burgess who this time around was more centre stage, much to the delight of the audience. He is such a character and along with his marvellous music skills, he injected real spark and enthusiasm into the show. These two are good friends as well so the banter between them was teasingly light and joyful.

For an entire hour Amity Dry makes heaven a place on earth; so grab your besties and get along to see this show. Leave your problems at the door and don’t bother to pick them up again on your way out. Instead,  just turn the radio up in your car and belt out your favourite songs and let Highway Superstar lead you all the way home.

4K

Fringe Music 2020 – Soweto Gospel Choir – Cornucopia at Gluttony – 4K

Hailing from South Africa, this delightful choir brings all the joy, colour, vibrancy and enthusiasm of a culture celebrating the struggle which ultimately ended the Apartheid regime.

Combining melodic and rhythmic traditional South African music with English standards, such as a glorious rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’, this stunning performance played to a – disappointingly small – crowd.

Nonetheless, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the audience, who seemed to be as enthralled as I was with the delightful sounds and energy emanating from the stage.

It is near impossible to watch a Soweto Gospel Choir performance without being swept up in a sensory landslide of music, joy and freedom.

While perhaps not the best venue acoustically for such an event, the Soweto Gospel Choir is nonetheless a must-see performance of world music for those who are not able to attend WOMAD.

5K

FRINGE CABARET – Gobsmacked – Black Box Theatre – Noel Lothian Hall, Adelaide Botanic Garden 4K

By Fiona Talbot – Leigh

 If you are passionate about musical theatre, then Gobsmacked is the show to see this Fringe season. Nikki Aitken and Jamie Burgess have come together to write and perform this hilarious show and the results are just fabulous.

The two have been friends for years; bonding over their shared love of music. Both consummate performers in their own right, Aitken and Burgess share the spotlight equally, giving each other the chance to shine.

Burgess began the show with a tongue in cheek nod to the musical ‘Cats’, complete with a mask. Without even singing a note, he commanded a certain presence before launching into song.  With gorgeous chiselled features, Burgess performed each song to perfection with his own personal style. His voice along with his keyboard skills were such an asset to the show.

Dazzling in a sparkly blue dress, from the moment she entered the space, Aitken had full command of the room. Her energy infectious, her acting sublime and her voice, just amazing. Add to this her fabulous sense of comic timing and hilarious script, makes this a very fun show to watch.

Aitken is a force to be reckoned with, her vocals are gutsy, rich and raw and her character acting is just brilliant. Aitken has such an expressive face and her ability to move from one persona to another is simply a joy to watch. The show’s lighting and sound run by Yolandi Bester on the day, helped each scene to flow fluently and seamlessly, making the 60 minutes just fly by.

This show has been very cleverly written; most of the songs by Burgess with a very funny hangover song written by Aitken who drew on her own life experiences for the show’s content! This show is about love, life and the pursuit of happiness.

Both Aitken and Burgess are very professional and well-rounded performers and there is a wonderful rapport between the two. Their ability to connect with the audience just added to the overall experience. Gobmacked is original music comedy at its best, performed with high energy from start to finish. This is a great show to see at this Adelaide’s Fringe.

4K

FRINGE 2020: A Simple Space – Gluttony – 5K

Local troupe Gravity and Other Myths (GOM) are one of SA’s biggest performing arts exports, having performed this very show, A Simple Space, in over 30 countries worldwide. Bringing the production back to Adelaide Fringe in 2020, I wondered what GOM would bring to the table considering they – and A Simple Space – have been well-known in Adelaide for some time.

This is physical theatre & circus at its finest, stripped back to the essential elements and without any massively showy or over-the-top numbers. Eight people are in the show – seven physical artists and one musician, who charms the crowd whenever he’s involved – on a relatively small square stage, but they work it to perfection. With just the right amount of audience participation, A Simple Space engages the audience from the beginning – but, this is primarily due to the fact that the artists are exposed, and you feel as though you’re right there with them. You see them sweat, puff as they become out of breath, see their muscles struggle and strength waver. All this serves to do though is make them seem even more superhuman as they complete stunt after stunt, in ways that are certainly gravity-defying.

The artists seem friendly, cheeky even, and this adds an extra layer of fun to the show. You can tell these people love what they do – and it’s a joy to watch them do it. Whether you’ve seen A Simple Space before, or it’s your first time, you won’t be disappointed.

Kryztoff rating: 5K

FRINGE 2020: Friendly Feminism for the Mild Mannered – 5K – Gluttony

At the beginning of Friendly Feminism for the Mild Mannered, cabaret performer Millicent Sarre asks the audience to shout out any stereotypes of feminists – and feminism – that the audience can think of. “Man hater”, “no sense of humour”, and “hairy armpits” are all hurled towards the stage, and by the end of this delightful and poignant performance, Millicent has encouraged the audience to embrace the “angry” feminist within through songs that are personal, timely, and intelligent.

From toxic masculinity, to rape culture, to the ABCs of feminism, Millicent and her talented band – Kyrie, Jemma, and Dahlia, and not forgetting tech Maddie – weave their way through a range of current issues that face not only women, but those that are faced also by people in a range of other communities, keeping her show (and her feminism) intersectional at its core. Friendly Feminism is inclusive, thoughtful, and insightful. It approaches masculinity in a way that doesn’t exclude any group that has a stake in it (read: everyone). It will make you cry and make you laugh, all within the all-too-short run-time of 55 minutes.

Given the recent news this week with the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children, Friendly Feminism is the Fringe show you need to see. Whether you’re a full-blown feminist or more of a mild-mannered ally, you’ll leave this show with hope in your heart, fire in your belly, and an understanding of the importance of checking whether someone really wants that cup of tea.

Kryztoff Rating: 5K