FRINGE CIRCUS – L.I.A.R. – Life is a Rehearsal – Factory at the Garden – 4K

By Peter Maddern

Big circus or physical theatre shows are a popular staple of the modern day Fringe with attention now focused not so much on physical virtuosity but innovation – there are, let’s face it, only so many ways you can hul-a-hoop.

Strut and Fret are experts at shows like this and in the form of Remi Martin they have a new star to present to us. The partially clad Martin (he is French after all) is joined on stage by fellow high wire performers, American Mandi Orozco and Englishman Tom Ball and beating his box and, making the music, Tarran the Tailor from Canada.

While Martin is the star, there is great performing and personal chemistry on stage with Ball who, appearing as the goose, does get to show that he is every bit his star’s equal on technique and perhaps superior when it comes to comic timing. Tarran gives the show a pulsating vibe that keeps things rocking along.

Lots of invention to be enjoyed, with the wind storm scene a highlight and alone worth the price of admission.

Done well and staying clear of being just soft porn, these shows are great fun and always a highlight of the Fringe. L.I.A.R. adds to the list of memorable physical theatre acts of the past.

Kryztoff Rating 4K

Fringe Circus 2020 – Rouge – Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent – 5K

In the interests of full disclosure, I have seen ‘Rouge’ before, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see this sexy, scintillating and sensual adult circus again.

Each element of this show is flawless, from the music (including the Diva’s spectacular singing) to the acrobatics and the audience interaction  through witty and hilarious banter.

Watching a masterful performance like this truly allows you to separate the consummate professionals from the somewhat more amateurish circus performers you may see elsewhere in the Fringe. You will see all of the traditional circus staples, including hula hoops, silks, fire play – and even some (very modern, very adult) clowning.

For repeat viewers like myself, you may recognise that some acts from previous years have been kept in the show with absolutely no changes, so beware of this if you are expecting a completely new show. Nonetheless, this is a performance I could watch over and over again, and still be thrilled and overwhelmed.

If you want to experience true mastery of the human form, get yourself along to see ‘Rouge’.  Bear in mind that it really is an ADULT circus – so maybe don’t go on a first date or with your grandparents if you want to avoid blushing all night.

Otherwise, an absolute must-see – 5K

 

Fringe 2020 – Electric Dreams: VR Cinema – Cosmic – Masonic Lodge – 4K

Virtual reality is still a relatively new medium, and certainly it is a very new art form to be shared in a performing space such as the Adelaide Fringe.

Attending ‘Electric Dreams – Cosmic’ is a surreal experience in every sense of the word. Ushered into a small room with multiple swivelling chairs, the small audience is set up with all the requirements of a VR space – and then we are away.

Starting with the immersive cinematic experience of ‘Kumbh Mela’, we are transported to one of India’s largest religious festivals. Having personally only participated in VR games, rather than actual films, it was a thrilling experience to be completely immersed in the film itself, and have the opportunity to really be present in the moment. It is somewhat strange to feel that you are part of an event, without being able to truly interact in the sense of being able to change the environment.

Next, we are introduced to ‘Conscious Existence’, a whirlwind trip through the universe from many different perspectives. This is almost impossible to describe, as each experience is unique, depending on what catches your interest and attention. Depending on your frame of mind at the time, this experience may well be frightening, exhilarating, eerie or breathtaking – or a combination of the above. At times, you may feel dizzy or overwhelmed – just remember the instructions to close your eyes and breathe until you feel more centred.

A truly unusual and surreal experience, I highly recommend participating in an Electric Dreams event if you are able to during the Fringe.

4K

FRINGE CABARET – AMORE E MORTE – The Garage International at the Adelaide Town Hall 3.5K

By Fiona Talbot – Leigh

Amore e Morte is a daring new piece originally composed and performed by instrumentalist Riccardo Barone. He is now joined by Nikki Elli Souvertjis who wrote and performed the script through song.

Souvertjis has a lovely soprano voice and she sure can belt out a high note at times reminiscent of Ute Lemper. Sadly though her contribution was lost as she was relatively inaudible throughout the performance. Her words were drowned out by the piano and in the quieter moments, her diction just didn’t come through.

Riccardo however makes the simple keys of a piano tell a harrowing story and even though much of the story was lost throughout the performance through Souvertjis, Barone more than made up for it as one couldn’t help but get caught up by his passionate and majestic playing.

Barone is an incredibly accomplished composer and pianist and for the entire 60 minutes, he plays with no sheet music. Throughout the performance he was able to convey such passion and his playing alone, told a story.

There were a couple of highlights throughout; one being the clever use of a typewriter in one song where Souvertjis tapped out her angst as perfect accompaniment to Barone.

The other was not only listening to but watching Barone playing the Melodica with his right hand and the piano in his left; a fabulous combination that worked extremely well.

There is real potential in this piece; it just needs a little more light and shade. It is simple, minimalistic, beautiful, experimental and very passionate. Barone bears his very heart and soul when he performs and dares to invite you in and this is what performance art is all about.

3.5K

FRINGE EVENTS – Adelaide Fringe History Walk – From Government House – Flamboyance Tours – 4.5K

By Peter Maddern

Those who see the Fringe as little more than a visit to The Garden may find the history of this extraordinary festival rather more interesting than the taste of yet another beer.

Katina Vangopoulos’s Flamboyance Tours has created an excellent walking tour that covers the Fringe from its first days to its current manifestation. While she is quite young, Katina delivers her presentations with great confidence and charm, skillfully navigating between knowing it all and being a know-all.

The walk starts at the entrance to Government because that is where the first Fringe box office was erected 60 years ago. From there we pass a number of old Fringe posters that have been erected along North Terrace into Rundle  where much history was created in the 1970s around the time the Street became a Mall, before finishing off at the entrance to the Garden.

Reflecting back, the story of the Fringe, in an Adelaide way, has some resonance with the development of Las Vegas; big ideas held by a few with little by way of a road map forward that has now become a very big thing – here the biggest Fringe in the Southern hemisphere and the second biggest in the world behind Edinburgh.

Katina’s tour, complete with handouts of quotes by important figures across the years, also make one consider whether what we have now is still a Fringe. While Patrick White’s famous play in 1960 would still get a run, one wonders how many other of the type of acts that were there at its formation could get any traction today. The ‘Fringe’ today is no longer a true fringe, instead it is really just a big contemporary arts festival and those artists of the type that were once given a home by Frank Ford and the other pioneers of his ‘Focus’ are as uncared for once more as when the Festival of Arts chose its first program and left them out.

However you view the Fringe, understanding a bit of its history will prove valuable and Katina’s terrific tour of memories and movements is an ideal way of getting that. In its 60th year, and in all likelihood with its peak behind us, this is a time to learn and reflect.

Kryztoff Rating 4.5K

FRINGE MUSIC – THE ARETHA FRANKLIN SONGBOOK – EMPIRE THEATRE – GLUTTONY 4K

Fiona Talbot – Leigh

This multi award winning show premiers this year at the Adelaide Fringe, following a sensational sold out run at Edinburgh Fringe.

Resplendent in her gold glittering dress with sparkly silver shoes; Cleopatra Higgins enthralled the audience from start to finish with her amazing vocals.

Aretha Franklin had such an incredible vocal range and style that many have tried to emulate. To even attempt a show like this, one would have to be very brave and self-assured, not to mention incredibly talented; fortunately Higgins is one such performer. Complete with her high energy, she epitomised Aretha fully in voice, heart and soul.

Throughout the evening, the audience were not disappointed as Higgins sang many of the great classics including; Son of a preacher man, I never loved a man (the way that I loved you) Do right woman, Respect, Think, Chain of fools, Say a little prayer and Natural woman amongst many others.

In between songs, the audience were privileged to receive both a mini history lesson on Ms Franklin as well as brief spoken interludes from Higgins herself. She was easily endeared to the audience and managed to include all there with her personal brand and style.

Backed by the Night Owl band, Higgins breathed new life into each of Aretha’s songs and she just could not stand still as she belted out each number. It was clear to all there that she was having so much fun onstage and that resulted in the audience enjoying themselves too. The entire show was also very well mixed and lit which just added to the overall performance.

To hear Aretha’s songs sung live by a consummate performer is a real treat. So if you are into the blues and a fan of the sixties genre of music, I think you will enjoy this show; in fact I dare you to sit still throughout.

4K

Fringe 2020 – Lustre at Nineteen Ten – 3K

Burlesque shows always draw a large Fringe crowd, and ‘Lustre’ was no exception. Who wouldn’t want to have tickets to an evening of titillating entertainment, audience interaction and flowing libations?

Presented by The Burlesque Beauties, this one hour event makes the most of the glorious rooftop venue at Nineteen Ten on Hindley Street.

Overall, the show was an entertaining way to spend a Friday night, with a variety of different sexy acts to thrill patrons. However, not all areas of the venue had good lines of sight to the main stage, and despite the best attempts of the performers to include all audience goers, this at times affected the atmosphere of the show. Similarly, at times some of the acts felt more like a dress rehearsal, with some apparent last minute jitters and minor mishaps which distracted from the seamless appearance of the show.

Nonetheless, the audience was entertained, and eagerly participated in the crash course in burlesque presented shortly before the finale. Despite not being spectacular, the show was very enjoyable overall.

Public Service Announcement: whatever you do, don’t sit in the splash zone.

3K

 

Adelaide Fringe 2020 – Shell Shock – 5K

by Riccardo Barone

“Shell Shock is a glimpse into that world of confusion, doubt and disconnection. It’s not about war, it’s about what happens when people come home when the war is over” (Capt Gemma Morgan).
Those eyes have witnessed brutality and murder, pain and blood, brotherhood and mercy, won’t be able to stare at the real world without being affected by atrocious flashbacks and open eyes nightmares.
Those ears have heard the silence being dismembered by mortars and grenades, screams and whispers, voices-by-radio and children’s cries, won’t distinguish anymore a friendly sound of a broken glass from the explosion of the window where he was hiding with his precision rifle.
Life won’t be the same ever again, relationships with partners tend to crack, aggression and anger are constantly around the corner, no job stability at all; the bitter evidence of being good only for the army comes up to the surface day after day.
Tim Marriott majestically drives the audience to a visionary trip to the painful world of an ex soldier affected by PTSD. His character abundantly moves with his Manchester accent, with his tender naive behavior, but overall with his never ending willingness to retrieve happiness from the most ordinary things of life, such as shopping or dating his girlfriend.
A not-to-be-missed one man show, for its exemplary acting performance, direction and play.

Kryztoff rating: 5k

Adelaide Fringe 2020 – VIVIR Flamenco Guitar & Dance – 5k

by Riccardo Barone

Raul Mannola and Aylin Eleonora are an established acclaimed duo bringing the Art of Flamenco in everyone’s life; Aylin Eleonora choreograph and dances important flamenco repertoire majestically played by Raul Mannola. The show is spectacular, intense, unforgettable. The Garage International’s premises allow to create the perfect atmosphere for such a stunning programme, in which guitar solos and dance perfectly blend in with equilibrium and balance. The show has been internationally performed for the Avignon LeOff, the Edinburgh Fringe and for Festivals in the Scandinavian area.
Raul Mannola wrote an important music method for professional flamenco guitarists , “El Guitarrista Flamenco Creativo”.
The duo also recorded several studio albums where it goes to show their special power to hand down the secular tradition of Flamenco.

Memorable and moving is the finale of this show , where it is easy to be blown away in a total crescendo of passion, life and death.

Kryztoff rating: 5k

FRINGE 2020: Josephine – 4.5K – Black Box Theatre at Noel Lothian Hall

Josephine Baker was a unique woman – once the most famous entertainer in the world, Baker later became a French Resistance spy during WWII, a civil rights activist in her native USA, and went on to adopt 12 children, at one time living with all of them in Princess Grace of Monaco’s personal villa. Baker lived a full, exciting life, but not one without knowing prejudice and derision at the hand of her homeland.

Josephine is an utterly charming tribute to the iconic Baker, and tells tales about her life, from when she was an 11-year-old child caught up in the 1917 race riots to her death in Paris in 1975. We hear about her move to Paris, where she was celebrated universally. We see her many affairs with famous writers, painters, and creatives of her time. She tells us about her pet cheetah and her menagerie of other exotic pets. An encapsulating experience, you leave with a strong desire to learn more about this exciting woman.

Josephine herself is played to perfection by Tymisha Harris, who is completely charismatic and has you hooked from the moment she’s on stage. Whether it’s performing her infamous banana dance, to touching moments of marching on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr., Harris sells every moment she’s on stage, and is a delight to watch.

The show is near perfect; it may be a touch too long, but don’t let that deter you from this excellent piece of theatre. You won’t regret an evening with Josephine.

Kryztoff Rating: 4.5K