The stars of The Fugitive: Robin Hood Retold, speak to Kryztoff about the play and their roles in it.
Mother Africa opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre Wednesday night to a full house with the crew just returning from a two week break after having performed at Jupiter’s Casino on the Gold Coast for 4 months. Adelaide is the second Australian stop for Mother Africa, performing until the 15 August, before moving on to New Zealand.
From the start to finish, what calls itself a circus is what I would rather label a journey of energy as it goes way beyond circus. So, from start to finish it is a two way performance between the artists and audience. The energy on stage is reflected by the energy of the crowd’s response. It is a pleasure, a joy to be part of this electrifying experience. The energetic, enjoyable, entertaining and enthralling show takes us on a journey of music, traditional dance and powerful acrobatics with a mixture of mesmerizing colour of the traditional looking costumes.
The world touring show which promotes itself as 100% African, 100% Joy and 100% Party. I must say I 100% agree. It is a party of music, dance and acrobatics. And it is a joy to see the artists enjoying themselves while doing their performance and soaking up the audience’s joyful response. The 40 artists are 100% African, from many different countries of the second-largest continent such as Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and South Africa. Let me add 100% energy and 100% entertainment.
Thank you Mother Africa. Not often that I would give a full 5K, but this must see show deserves it. With ticket prices starting at $59.90 for adults there is no excuse to miss Mother Africa.
Kryztoff Rating 5K
Created in Germany by producer / director Winston Ruddle, Mother Africa arrives in Adelaide this week for a twelve day season at Her Majesty’s, somewhat surprisingly perhaps, without having ever been staged on their home continent.
Included in the cast is 12 year old, Yonas Teka, who has created an unofficial Guinness World record of 30 continuous somersault flips, surpassing the previous record of 25. He, like all the other cast members, came through an exhaustive audition process by Ruddle to choose Africa’s most talented. The exception perhaps to that is MC, Bongi Mtshali, who got that particular role because she could best pronounce German when required to at short notice!
Mother Africa has already enjoyed an extended sell-out season on the Gold Coast and this should provide a warming relief to Adelaide circus lovers during the next fortnight as well.
By Lucy Campbell
“You’ve killed God!” exclaims the earnest Thomas Huxley to an ill and burdened Charles Darwin as he enthuses of Darwin’s as-yet-unfinished ‘Origin of the Species.’ Thus begins the first real biopic of Charles Darwin, cleverly crafted in the hands of director Jon Amiel and actor Paul Bettany. Beautifully shot and recreated,
Creation speeds back and forth through time as Darwin comes to grips with the death of his daughter Annie, whilst at the same time struggling to finish his revolutionary theories. With quite a brilliant performance from Bettany, he’s well-supported by Jennifer Connolly as his deeply religious wife and Martha West as the precocious dead daughter Annie. But anyone hoping for an insight into Darwin’s theories, or how those twenty years were spent slowly deconstructing the Christian world’s entire existence will be disappointed.
This is not a film about Darwin’s theories, but about his personal life and his inner struggle between religion and truth. The few scenes of Darwin actually working seem sketchy to say the least: snippets of Darwin jotting down in a notebook, a seemingly brief encounter with a chimp and a bit of unexplained peering into a microscope. The film tends to sag a little in the middle under the considerable weight of Darwin’s family and personal life, and at its weakest when overly emotional, but through it all still keeps its course and satisfies us. Above all, Creation is a film of the power of individual thought, the repercussions of which we still feel today, and the unshakeable human desire for truth and understanding.
People will probably know Bill Bailey from his appearances in TV shows such as Black Books, Spaced or Skins, but you can’t understand the depth of this guy’s talents until you have experienced him live. Bailey has one of those delightful minds which makes random associations between the oddest things, and has a charisma and presentation style that can make the mundane eye-wateringly funny.
The Thebarton Theatre was packed with appreciative fans from a wide demographic range; many who have undoubtedly been devotees for years and some who were experiencing him for the first time. Bailey is a quick witted, affable guy, who’s not afraid to engage his audience in banter. Over the course of the evening, we were treated to an enchanting mix of comedy, music and visual presentations.
Bailey is also a talented musician and incorporates music into much of his comedy. He always brings with him an eclectic mix of instruments. This time we got to experience the dulcet tones of the oud, as well as the delightful electronic machinations of a tenori-on, amongst others. His reinterpretation of the Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah in the style of Kraftwerk, and his variations on the works of the likes of Phil Collins and James Blunt, were highlights.
In between songs, his account of what we can expect from the opening of the 2012 London Olympics was riotously funny and left one slightly concerned that he’d been privy to some IOC planning meetings. Barnacles also provided much merriment, including an auction relating to their penis to body ratio (we weren’t even close – Wikipedia says it’s up to 40).
Bill Bailey has a great reputation as an entertainer and did not disappoint his Adelaide crowd. They will undoubtedly be recounting stories of the evening to friends for years to come.
Kryztoff Rating 4.5K
The Mother of Madame is Dead, is a short, sweet, enjoyable French comedy. It should be noted that, despite its inclusion in the Cabaret Fringe Festival, this is a straight play and will not fit the usual Adelaide theatre-goers definition of cabaret.
After a night out revelling, Lucien (Jean François Gavanon) returns home to his wife, Yvonne (Jessica Viven). Yvonne is irate, having been dragged from her bed to admit Lucien, who has forgotten his key. It is the perfect time for them to have a small spat and they do so with vigour – until the doorbell rings again. This time, it is Yvonne’s mother’s manservant, announcing that his mistress is very ill or, more accurately, dead.
Gavanon is amusing as the self-indulgent husband and is matched well by Jessica Viven’s demanding and hysterical Yvonne; the latter bringing to mind the type of monster her late mother may have been for Lucien. As Joseph, the bearer of the bad news, Olivier Ducros is just the right mix of obliging and anxious, injecting a natural humour into the situation. Danièle Allen is also good as the put-upon and sleep deprived servant Annette.
The play is presented entirely in French, with surtitles provided for the non-fluent audience members. There is much to amuse in this script though, sadly, some of the jokes are left out of the translated English. It is interesting to watch foreign theatre in its original form and this is an agreeable, light-hearted introduction to the genre.
Kryztoff Rating 3K
The musical business is a cut throat world but Benj Pasek and Justin Paul appear destined to be the next big things to hit the genre. Having absorbed the New York style, from Bernstein to Sondheim, these two young performers are now racking up the successes and gathering the new generation’s acclaim along the way.
This show was pure New York entertainment (that is after all their home town), both effervescent with an almost school boy like enthusiasm that quickly infected the crowd. Many in the premium seats were much less aware of them and their wares to date than those with the concession passes but for them, these two guys are where it is at.
The show benefitted greatly from two guest appearances – the first, with encore by Shoshana Bean and the second by Liz Callaway, both singing Pasek and Paul songs from past and future musicals. They (with their song sheets and use of a music stand) and the P & P banter (where both seemed comfortable talking over the other) were able to create an informality and warmth to the show, though there was no doubting this was all well rehearsed and supremely well executed.
This show was a joy and one of the highlights of the entire Festival.
Kryztoff Rating 4.5K
Floozy June (Charlotte Mudge), love-cynic Jean (Bronwyn Gell) and desperate-housewife Joan (Rachael Kirkham) Geiger, are three sisters who, ably supported by their ever-enthusiastic (and possibly intoxicated) cousin Gertie (Carol Young), present an evening radio show in the years following WWII. As the studio audience, we get to see what goes on, both on and off air, the night the radio station is sold and the girl’s careers are on the line.
The key element to the radio show is music and, accompanied by Gertie, the sisters sing about life, love and their world. All four performers have strong voices and while combining on several songs to create attractive harmonies, accurately reminiscent of the time, they are also given the opportunity to shine individually with feature numbers. In addition, the physical action, which could easily be left by the wayside in a radio based piece, provides much amusement and showcases the performers’ talents.
The overarching structure of the show works well; enabling both a continuing plotline to run throughout while also providing opportunities for amusing individual sketches. The Life and Times of Fanny Mac is one such piece; a radio play, complete with coconut horse hooves and some truly hilarious one-liners. Other highlights include the various advertisements smattered throughout, particularly those for the major sponsor, Dr Cardwell’s All Purpose Elixir, and that beloved Aussie icon, the Hills Hoist.
This is a well constructed and polished piece of entertainment, with comedy and musicality in equal measures, and fine performances all round.
Kryztoff Rating 4K
To think it is but three months since Anya McNicol-Windram produced that 5K extravaganza at the Fringe and here today we have a whole new show. Amazing output and determination! This time, Bird’s Wizdom’s Tiny Conpsiracy, features a much smaller entourage – a mere seven people participating – and in the much smaller La Boheme venue. Whereas previous shows seemed to have been anchored around a dispassionate Melanie Prior on cello, this time Anya is very much front and centre and as usual her talent, make-up and charisma carried the day.
Around 12 new songs are in the show, many with the familiar and engaging rhythm and beat we have heard on the Bird Wizdom album and with those lyrics of abandonment and envy that can inspire reactions from hilarity to emotional outpouring. ‘Tea Tea Tea’ and ‘Georgie Porgie’ stood out in this collection as Anya utilised many of her usual helpers including Lilly Sim belly dancing, Annie Siegmann on Bass and Josh Luke Rice as Dr Bones.
As usual there were as many questions posed (like, what is this all about?) as answered but nothing can deny Anya’s brilliance in conceiving and executing such a show and the raw difference it poses for audiences.
Kryztoff Rating 4K
This show is great fun. Felicity Fitz-Frisky, in school mistress black, and Hansel Mannish, in a somewhat camp outfit that featured some leather trousers that begged the question as to how they get put on or removed, provide the most polished of performances.
While the notion of making fun of singers and their lyrics is not new, this English pair, through their School of Pop approach, give a more contemporary spin on it drawing on such things as how English literature classics inspired and smoking cannabis affected song writing. From Kate Bush to Lady Gaga, no one targeted much survived the expose. Quite whether all this crowd got all the jokes is unclear – the standard Adelaide cabaret crowd seems rather older as a rule than the fringe humour audiences this pair would have been used to.
Nonetheless, with some patter about Adelaide’s sad rivalry with Melbourne, superb comic timing and never let up intensity, Friksy and Mannish make for a great hour of entertainment whether or not one would describe it as true cabaret.
Kryztoff Rating 4K