FRINGE 2019 – The Best of Edinburgh Comedy – The Bunka @ The Austral – 3.5K

The Adelaide Fringe is the one of the biggest arts festivals in the world… second only to Edinburgh. So it seems only natural for some of Edinburgh’s best comedians to flock to Adelaide and show off their talents.

And with such large festivals, sometimes it’s hard to know who to see. Maybe you only have time to see one show this year – how do you get your money’s worth?

Hosted by Darius Davies, the Best of Edinburgh is a showcase of three comedians straight out of Scotland. It’s a great taster for those who can’t decide what to see, and a show to chill out to on any night of the week.

Thursday night featured Chris Henry, Susie McCabe and Leo Kearse.

Chris Henry was a great way to start the night. He was chatty and charming – as a regular visitor to Adelaide, he certainly had the audience leaning over and whispering to each other, “ugh that is so me!”

Susie McCabe is an effective storyteller who spoke about living life as a lesbian woman in a Catholic Scottish family. Her stories were charming but I would have loved to have more time to warm up to her.

Leo Kearse seems to march to the beat of his own drum. He’s commanding and comfortable that his jokes will hit – and of course they do. A great way to end the night. Has anyone ever told him how tall he is?

Host Darius Davies’ aggressive, audience-attacking brand of humour was thoroughly enjoyable. No one is safe from his wrath – not even in the second row! 

If you love comedy but hate commitment, this is the show for you. With four comedians giving it their all, you’re bound to see something you like.

Don’t go to the show if you hate profanity, or comedians asking what you do for a living. There’s plenty of both.

The Best of Edinburgh Comedy is on every night until March 17. Buy a beer and head on up to the Bunka at the Austral to check it out. 

3.5K 

FRINGE CIRCUS & PHYSICAL THEATRE – Back Left – Tandanya Theatre, Adelaide – 3K

By Alisha Dyer

Forget what you think you know about this act, let go of any expectations and treat it as a “lucky dip” Fringe show. The Back Left Project was conceived by a duo, as a duo act, but has arrived in Adelaide a solo performance. It is obvious that some of the original magic has died, but what is left is still to be admired.

Back Left is presented by Ezra LeBank, Professor and Head of Movement at California State University Long Beach. He is extremely honest and humble in his presentation of what could have been and what exists here and now.

Have you ever been lost in an idea? Or swept away by love? Taken away in a bubble that lifts you so high it seems nothing can ever bring you down.. only to have it all end in an instant? The bubble bursts and you are left standing in a puddle of broken dreams.

Do you wallow in sadness? Pretend it never happened? Or do you pick up the pieces and try again? Ezra has chosen the latter, incorporating pieces of the original dream with new ideas and presenting them as a new experiment. The juxtaposition of the original idea (captured in its infancy on film) with the reenactment by Ezra on stage is inspiring.

If you’re up for some experimental and improvisational theatre, and in favour of supporting a man who is brave enough to carry on alone after heartache, you can meet Ezra this Fringe season Live from Tandanya.

Kryztoff Rating 3K

FRINGE 2019 – Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club – 4.5K – Gluttony

Step inside the Little Death Club and you’ll see some sights you won’t forget in a hurry – and that’s not a bad thing!

Bernie Dieter is your host as you step inside this one-of-a-kind cabaret club, full of nudity, naked mole rats, and a whole lot of talent. From the always-fantastic Gingzilla, to the fiery “bearded lady”, Bernie’s Berlin cabaret club is something to behold. Her voice is simply incredible as she emcees a night filled with incredible physical, circus, and vocal talent.

Most numbers were fantastic, funny, and definitely feisty. With the exception of one number that didn’t quite seem to serve a purpose or have much of a thread, the rest of the show was so much fun. Be warned – you will see full frontal nudity, including one of those pesky unsolicited dick pics, but just give yourself over to the lure of the Little Death Club, darling.

Well done to Bernie Dieter and Gluttony for a fantastic night out – just maybe don’t take your Oma, unless she’s as badass as Bernie’s.

Kryztoff rating: 4.5K

 

FRINGE 2019 – Shit-Faced Shakespeare – The May Wirth @ Gluttony – 4.5K

 

“I just peed in my pants a little. Just a little bit”
– Hermia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream??

 

Did you love Shakespeare in high school English? Or did you hate it with a passion? Well, it doesn’t matter: the cast of Shit-Faced Shakespeare don’t care either way. For the next four weeks of the Fringe, one actor will tear apart one of Shakespeare’s most famous works, one beer at a time.

For the uninitiated, Shit-Faced Shakespeare is fast becoming a Fringe staple. Almost every night of the Fringe, a group of classically trained actors grace the stage with an abridged version of some of Billy Shakespeare’s most famous works, while one actor, who has gotten sloppy drunk beforehand, just tries to make it through the night.

Audience participation is a relatively big part of this show, but luckily there are different participation levels for different personalities. Do you like to heckle? You could be one of two audience members given a gong that you may strike to force the slurring actor to down another drink.

Not much of a heckler? Cheer them on as they chug with the rest of the audience, or “whoop” when the fellow actors improvise around the rogue drunk. The performers seem to feed off this energy, so encouragement is, well, encouraged.

Prefer to chill? That’s fine too. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

This year’s Willy Wonder is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As someone who isn’t too familiar with this Shakespeare play, I was worried I would get lost during the performance. Luckily, the storyline was stripped back and the cast provided moments of clarity where the audience could catch up on the plot.

The character “Hermia” was the drunk of the night and she certainly was a slurring success. There were moments I suspected she was pretending to be drunk, but other times, through fits of laughter, I thought she’s either very drunk, or a very good actress (maybe both). The ensemble improvised well around her, and held it together in between Hermia’s wedgie-picking and beer-splashing.

With a show this popular, it’s probably unsurprising that The May Wirth venue is packed a little tight. As a young woman with a derrière that would make Sir Mix-a-Lot proud, I would have preferred a little extra space between the chairs. But this is easily fixed, especially if you get in early enough to shift the chairs slightly to allow yourself a little extra space.

While this probably goes without being said, it is important to note this show is hilarious but not exactly family friendly. Additionally, if you have a complicated or negative relationship with alcohol and drinking culture, it might be best to sit this one out.

Overall, the show is an excellent night out and highly recommended to most fringe-goers. This is my second year seeing the show, and I will almost certainly return next year.

Shit-Faced Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on at the May Worth, Gluttony, every night (except Mondays) until March 17. Check it out and buy tickets here.

4.5K

FRINGE 2019 – A History of Early Blues

A HISTORY OF EARLY BLUES
Cal Williams Jr + Friends
The Tin Shed at The Wheatsheaf Hotel
Sunday 17th Feb 2019 5:30pm
Review by GARY CLARKE – 4.5 stars

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Do you like The Blues? Well these guys LOVE The Blues..and it shows! Cal Williams Jr’s lyrical vocals and deftly crafted finger-picking blues guitar were complemented by Will Kallinderis soulful blues harp bedded beautifully against Kory Horwood’s driving, rhythmic double bass. Together this tight knit trio pumped out a lively 90 minute set of early blues numbers that epitomise the genre…. And they did it in style.!

Both Saturday night’s and tonight’s performances were sold out on the back of a highly acclaimed debut in 2017 and the sold out shows last Fringe. Not only that but this year, immediately prior to tonight’s show, it seems Williams had arranged and performed in the extraordinary Ukelele Blues Explosion !

After queuing in the passage next to the stairs in the humid conditions for half an hour it was a relief to finally gain entry to The Tin Shed at The Wheaty and pull up a stool next to the mixing desk.

Williams made it look effortless as he flicked out some of the finest acoustic blues guitar picking around. Kallinderis at one stage took over on vocals, and harp, prompting the audience to get in on the fun. And they did ! Kory Horwood had his bass singing so eloquently it was a delight when he hooked into an impressive solo.

Cal informed us early on that we have a “special guest” in our midst who will be joining the band at some point. I had noticed a diminutive grey haired gentleman bopping along in the front row and when it came time he began to move toward the stage, leaning on his walking stick. As he took his position in the band we realised it was non other than the iconic Aussie blues legend Chris Finnen and the appreciative audience gave him a hearty welcome.

Chris and the band ran through a few numbers and clearly Mr Finnen was enjoying himself immensely as this artful bunch of musos jammed themselves into a frenzy. Chris was clearly inspired and in his element carving up guitar solos ….His voice never being his strong point seemed to take on a timbre and pitch I have not really heard from him before.. This man in his seventies was hitting and sustaining high notes like a young diva !…beautiful!

If you love the blues you’ll love this.  If you like the blues, check these guys out. A love affair beckons..

Review by Gary Clarke…                4.5 stars

P.S. Cal Williams Jr. Band’s New Album “LUMA”  is Out Now .

FRINGE THEATRE – Scott Wings: Whiplash – The National Wine Centre, Adelaide – 3.5K

By Alisha Dyer

Wearing your heart on your sleeve is way too cliché for Scott Wings. His likes to hide under restaurant tables, in the handbags of potential lovers. Or completely pack up and leave at the most inconvenient of times, leaving his brain all alone to navigate the world both inside and outside of his body.

Whiplash is a 55 minute shared experience, whereby a handful of people share an hour and a small space with a man dressed simply, on a simple stage while he tells a story through physical theatre.

The story is relatable, but essentially personal and has been written over the lifetime of a man trying to be a man in a modern world. A roller-coaster of emotion (and sweat) pours out of Scott, which is at times touching and others grotesque, but always energetic.

Memories from past selves pop up to say hello, bringing humour, curiosity and sentiment with them. Questions will be asked. Some of them will be answered. The writing is well thought out from opening to closing line, tying all the unravelled threads back together in a closed loop. How satisfying.

Take a little journey into the mind and body of Scott and discover something about yourself along the way. Whiplash is showing in both The Vines and Gallery Rooms at the National Wine Centre. Recommended for a Mature Audience.

Kryztoff Rating 3.5K

FRINGE COMEDY – The Worst Little Warehouse in London – Cupola @ The Garden of Unearthly Delights – 4K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexander Ewers

The Worst Little Warehouse in London. Two Australians who moved to London play two Australians moving to London. There, in the cavernous and labyrinthine bowels of a converted warehouse-cum-warzone, they find a home amongst a heady and impossible milieu of the personably pleasant, the interpersonally challenged and the downright personality disordered. Little imagination is needed to predict hilarity ensuing. But what distinguishes this show as a noteworthy Adelaide Fringe act, is the manner in which the comedic potential inherent to the scenario is harnessed and forged into a rich and multifaceted torrent of solid theatrical and entertainment value. And torrent is perhaps the best descriptor for the veritable deluge of references, both sardonic and jocose, that are woven into the fabric of this piece.

As a performance, Worst Little Warehouse is less theatre than it is adapted cabaret. Captivating and talented duo, Lala Barlow and Robbie Smith, segue between vignettes sung and spoken with an ease that belies the complexity of their achievement. Both vehicles are used effectively to furnish vivid constructs of each of the human menagerie responsible for putting the worst into warehouse. Whilst unapologetically caricatured, these depictions do retain something beyond the one dimensional. Perhaps herein lies the most notable feat of this performance, as the audience’s imagination is recruited to complete and flesh out each character with their own experience of like personalities. Barlow and Smith’s performance, as much about the insinuated and the unsaid as it is about the stated obvious, demands and rewards personal engagement with an ever-burgeoning kaleidoscope of the comical. The result is convincing, commendable, and truly comedic.

It is refreshing to see humour drawn from and levelled at a broad diversity of demographic sources and subjects. Tube jokes, and Thatcher, and flossing (of the Katy Perry kind) and environmentalism and Fiddler on the Roof all tumble blithely about in that truly funny mishmash of the improbable and the surprising. It is testament to both the calibre of production and performance (Sarah Redmond  and Barlow/Smith respectively) that the audience find themselves so convincingly swept along and so consistently amused throughout the hour-long show. But perhaps one should not be so surprised. Take the best of droll, dry British witticisms and mix it with the irony and irreverence of Aussie acerbity, and one is playing with humour of a particularly delicious variety.

One must note somewhat of a lag in momentum as the show draws towards its close. Whether due to growing viewer familiarity with the slew of characters, or a thinning in the density of word-play and comedic references, audience energy falters as the emphasis transitions a little maladroitly from character building to the finale. However, this was short-lived, and Barlow and Smith close strongly with a frenetic number as the diverse inhabitants of the Worst Little Warehouse in London erupt in the sort of climactic clash that occurs when familiarity intersects dissimilarity. It is a successfully crafted high-note finish to a thoroughly enjoyable hour.

One leaves this performance satisfied, and not just with the afterglow of genuine pleasure shared but also with comfortable reflections on the unlikeliness (necessitated or chosen) of places and people we call home. One appreciates too, a fresh attention to the inane details of ordinary life that make the believable comedic and the comedic believable. Perhaps through a lens like this, even the most ordinary inanity becomes warehouse worthy too.

Kryztoff Rating 4K

Fringe 2019 – Anya Anastasia : The Executioners – 5K


A highly entertaining performance full of subtle satire and cutting wit.

Self-appointed superhero Anastasia opens her show via live facetime, thus setting the scene for what is to follow.
Accompanied by her very talented ‘au pair’ Gareth Chin she takes us on a rollicking ride where she rails against lightweight activism. Clever song writing and musicianship, referencing the protest songs of the past and delivered with charisma and humour, make stark the contrast between movements working to bring about change and the self serving, pretentious nature of much online activism.
Her bitchiness is balanced by self-deprecation. A video backdrop of the worst of daily news manages to make one feel for her hapless character and her search for meaning and solutions, despite her ignorance and her lack of awareness of her privileged position. We recognise the helplessness that one can feel in the face of the world’s problems. Her barbs hit home. She sets out to make us feel complicit, makes us examine our own behaviour and attitudes.
Sporting bright white spandex yoga gear she clashes with her dark clad co-star from ‘Tartarstan’, their banter and physical interactions lay bare the divide between the privileged West and the ‘other’. They remind us of the lack of understanding, snobbery and sense of entitlement that are all too common in our society.
The musicianship is top-notch, there are absolute gems amongst the lyrics, and this energetic performance flows smoothly throughout.
Hmm…I may have made this sound a bit too serious – this is a very, very funny show.
5K
Gluttony at the Masonic Lodge until Mar 3rd

Fringe 2019 – The Archive of Educated Hearts – 4k – The Manse Holden Street Theatres

Casey Jay Andrews, writer and performer, welcomes us warmly into a room full of memories and proceeds to share the stories of four women affected by breast cancer. She deals with this difficult topic with warmth, empathy, and quiet humour.
Sharing the stories of Karen, Dot, Ariole and Emma she moves seamlessly between anecdote, recordings of interviews that she has made, projected images, and recordings of ‘Have you an educated heart?’ (a work by US poet Gelett Burgess). Through the use of beautifully articulate language she talks to our inarticulate hearts.
Few of us have been untouched by the dark shadow of cancer via friends, family, community. It is easy to agree with Casey’s description of lives being bisected by a diagnosis, a fissure appearing between the time before, and the time after. Both for the individual and for those around them.
The recordings of conversations with her grandmother, who has four daughters with a genetic form of breast cancer, are particularly charming. Employed by Boots Chemists for many decades she tells us that the most important thing is to listen to people, to their stories.
Casey has created this work in part as a tribute to her drama teacher who died recently from breast cancer. It is obviously a very emotional experience for her but she carries it off with calmness and great compassion. Most audience members were moved to tears at times, for some it may have been a cathartic experience.
Never maudlin nor dour, this is a skilful performance which manages to be quite uplifting.
Holden Street Theatres until March 16th.
4K

FRINGE 2019 – The Flying Dutchman Sessions – 5K

by Riccardo Barone

Sold out for the brilliant performance of Krishna Nagaraja and the Ensemble Galante & Ensemble Evergreen (on this special occasion united in a waterfall of joy and precision).  The premises of La Boheme turn into a tavern in the Hague bringing you back in the 1700 baroque Scandinavian area.

You could actually wear the compact sound coming from the period instruments and embrace the harmonies witnessed by Krishna Nagaraja’s travels in the North Europe area, here wisely paraphrased in his arrangements for flute, string quartet and continuo (Harpsichord). Notable is his interaction with the audience, as a storyteller of far lands, here showing his Italian origins as an ambassador of heritage and bringer of treasures; a treasure often confused by our worldwide society with stereotypes and labels. But there is no time for discussions, the spirits of Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi are blessing his name (and the ensemble as well) for evoking once again their immortal traces. It is evident the connection between the two composers and the Scandinavian – Flemish area; indeed A. Corelli performed for the queen of Sweden in the 1687 while A. Vivaldi had his Concerto in G minor “La notte” published in Amsterdam.

As his predecessors Krishna Nagaraja travels all around the world researching, studying, witnessing, observing and spreading the ancient Art of Sounds, “a higher revelation than philosophy.” (L. van Beethoven)

Kryztoff rating: 5k