THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL – Playhouse – 4K

By Peter Maddern

Paul Keating has been a constant in the Australian political landscape for 40 years and his many current and often unsolicited intrusions into public discourse seem likely to keep him there. As such his persona, complete with its extraordinary contradictions, is ripe for satire and review.

Jonathan Biggins has made a study of the man over many years and this is the culmination of that work – 90 minutes with the stage to himself – no doubt as Keating would have preferred too in his heyday.

While staying away from the former Prime Minister’s private life, what we get is a potted history of the Australian Labor Party since the war and indeed the national politic generally. Biggins, as writer and performer, has a great time; delivering great line after line, mannerism after mannerism, even song after song, all with pinpoint timing. As such this is a faultless performance even if his staging, of a plush study replete with the occasional clock and 18th century portrait, seemed under-developed as material he exploits.

The query in the mind of this reviewer is this play’s relevance in the context of a State Theatre’s program. For sure it would make great viewing during the Festival or the Fringe but, at the end of The Gospel, it is not as if one feels weighed down by Keating’s great human insights. For the woke, of course, this is a night out for constant retelling – what wouldn’t they enjoy by their hero wishing Peter Dutton or Pauline Hanson dead? – but for others much of the material may have seemed a touch clichéd.

Still, it will get the turnstiles ticking and as we emerge from the pandemic, albeit still in silly masks, that may be its chosen purpose and a good one at that.

Kryztoff Rating   4K

ADLFRINGE 2021 – The Greatest Magic Show – The Flamingo @ Gluttony – 3.5K

Nothing seems to delight kids as much as a proper magic show – featuring real magic! Against this promise of a solid winner, there were pretty great odds of “The Greatest Magic Show”, presented by Showmen Productions, delivering which would enchant young audiences – and deliver they did.

Some minor disappointment was had by those kids who were lucky enough to have also seen CIRCUS, as many of the tricks featured in both shows – but notwithstanding this, the audience was clearly delighted at the magical disappearance, transmogrification and then reappearance of a basketball sneaker, the (safe) disappearance and subsequent reappearance of an adorable bunny rabbit (recently transported, we are told, from Las Vegas), and other impressive magic tricks such as a completely flattened magician.

The show is definitely entertaining, if perhaps aimed at the sub-10 year old spectrum.

Overall, this was a great way to end the 2021 Fringe experience.

3.5K

FRINGE 2021 – Jackson Vs Jackson – The Moa at Gluttony – 4K

By Belle Dunning

Gospo Collective has become a staple of the Adelaide Fringe scene over the past few years, and their 2021 performance of ‘Jackson Vs Jackson’ doesn’t disappoint.

Under the lead of Charmaine Jones, the gospel vocal ensemble and band deliver an hour of high-energy pop hits from the back catalogue of Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and the Jackson 5. 

There is little to fault with the performance, which is highly polished and professional and continues to captivate audiences every year. One song blends effortlessly into the next under Jones’ masterful composition and a minimal backing band allows the vocalists to shine. The enjoyment and passion of each of the performers is infectious and will have you socially-distanced dancing in your seat in no time!

Although the weather was perfect for this open-air venue on the night I visited, the only downside was that the vocalists had to compete occasionally with surrounding sounds from other shows (and a helicopter!).

Catch ‘Jackson Vs Jackson’ in Gluttony for a thoroughly enjoyable night out at the final weekend of the Fringe.

Kryztoff Rating 4K

Fringe 2021 – Wine Bluffs – Decanted – The Chamber at THE QUEENS – 3K

Are you a giant wine snob? Do you keep your vino “off-site”? Do you decant every drop of liquid that comes into your possession? Do you know someone who fits that description? If so, maybe Wine Bluffs – Decanted is for you.

Join ‘Wine Bluffs’ Damian Callinan and Paul Calleja on a journey across Europe, throwing around high-class dad jokes and mini skits about South Australia’s signature grog.

This show is definitely for the Cab Savvy. As an Adelaide gal in her late 20s, I love a good drop but couldn’t talk about grape varieties, and would give you a polite but confused smile if you bragged about your bottle of 2006 Grange. Because of this, many wine snob jokes went over my head while others around me roared with laughter.

These boys know their audience and play to them well. For this reason, I would certainly recommend this show if you’re a self-confessed wine wanker. On the other hand, if you’re like me and pretend to be interested in the wine list but end up ordering the second cheapest bottle (third-cheapest if you’re celebrating!) this show might not be perfect for you. But hey, if your winethusiast friend wants to go, there will be some cute jokes here and there to enjoy.

3K.

FRINGE 2021 – DIRT – The Arch at Holden Street Theatres – 5K

By Belle Dunning

DIRT is contemporary theatre at its best – intimate, immersive and painfully relevant.

From the first exchange between Patrick Livesey and Will King, you are drawn into their world. A conversation between a Russian tour guide and a hapless Australian tourist which evolves into a dangerous night out, a confrontation of their true motives. 

Through this carefully woven narrative (written by Angus Cameron and directed by Bronwen Coleman), DIRT explores the horror of the anti-gay purges in modern-day Chechnya and the suffocating reality of a young man left in its wake. While confronting, it also offers glimpses of hope and solidarity — if you’re prepared to dig below the surface. 

Livesey and King are the perfect pair on-stage, their genuine intimacy and connection is clear and makes the narrative utterly believable. With few props, it’s the clever dialogue and the moments of tension between the two which draws you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

This is the kind of theatre experience that surprises you in its depth, utterly consumes your attention and leaves you wanting more.

DIRT is showing for the rest of this week at Holden Street Theatres — this is one not to miss.

Kryztoff Rating 5K

ADLFRINGE2021- Somnia – The Peacock @ Gluttony – 4K

There are a lot of shows out there that claim to be ‘adult’ or ‘naughty’. Some of them hit that mark more than others – but not many achieve this status quite as much as the very late night Somnia does.

Scheduled to start at the already quite late time of 10.50pm, we were all stuck in the queue for some 20 minutes past the start time. Frustrating though this wait can be (particularly in the cold – that autumnal weather sure struck quickly), once the line started moving and we took our seats inside the Peacock tent it was clear that we were in for a beautiful nightmare.

As the name suggests, Somnia is an exploration of the physical manifestation of dreams and sleep – which the producers, who apparently suffer from narcolepsy, know all about.

The show involves a woman who goes to bed and, while fast asleep, has a number of unnamed visitors. It is unclear if these visitors are angels or demons or simply succubi. Overall, the effect is both terrifying and mesmerising in equal measure, and extremely difficult to describe other than to say that it is a beautiful show.

A combination of extremely well-carried out aerobatics, acrobatics and burlesque, the show is sexy and macabre in the extreme. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at a skeleton the same way again.

Somnia is disturbing and uncomfortable – but intentionally so. If you are looking for something sexy, intriguing, skillful and a little bit frightening, this is the show for you.

4K

FRINGE 2021 – James Donald Forbes McCann: Aussie and Proud – 4K – The Howling Owl

James Donald Forbes McCann has a dream. It’s not particularly interesting, nor is it anything similar to Martin Luther King Jr.’s infamous dream, but it’s a dream nonetheless. And by the end of the show, you’ll know the dream whether you like it or not.

James is Aussie and Proud, and throughout his brand new hour, he explores how Australia has wound up where it is. Naturally, the way to start is with the tablets of Gilgamesh, working through a theory regarding flags and their proportionate social rights, and finishing with…well, James’ dream.

James McCann is always a Fringe favourite, and one of SA’s best comedians. Following James’ previous show Devil’s AdvocateAussie and Proud takes his famous acerbic, biting brand of humour and leads you on a journey that, whilst it lost its way in the middle (although it should be noted that this was a preview performance), left us with a brand new anthem and perhaps even a new way of running our country.

Pull up a seat with one of the best comedians in the country, and feel free to bring your best green and gold.

Kryztoff rating: 4K

 

ALDFRINGE2021 – Petit Circus: Bon Appetit – The Peacock @ Gluttony – 4.5K

This is another amazing circus show that comes to the Fringe every year: but this year, Petit Circus: Bon Appetit has been served up with a bit of a twist. As the name suggests, this circus trio’s performance is set entirely within a restaurant kitchen, big-top style, and includes a world-renowned chef, a hapless but helpful head waiter and the restaurant’s owner, Jane.

Of all of the kids’ circuses and shows that I have seen, this is probably the most seamless and professional, and features truly amazing stunts including fire juggling, tightrope walking (and juggling), musical acrobatics (yes, it’s a very impressive thing that features a trapeze and a ukulele) and my all-time favourite, aerobatic silks – to name only a few.

A quick look around at the audience confirmed my suspicions that the adults were enjoying the show just as much as the kids. In truth, I’d probably go and see this by myself, such is the level of acrobatic mastery and genuine entertainment.

If you have kids, like kids or were once a kid, this show is a total must-see.

4.5K

 

ADLFRINGE2021 – CIRCUS – The Flamingo @ Gluttony – 4K

I love a good circus (who doesn’t). If a circus does what it is supposed to do, there is a guaranteed amount of acrobatics, clowning, magic and general mayhem.

CIRCUS, presented by Showmen Productions, certainly doesn’t disappoint, even featuring an old-fashioned ringmaster with a top hat and tails (ambitious for Adelaide’s March weather, if you ask me). I have seen this show previously, and there aren’t very many new additions in 2021 – not that this matters at all, because the kids were enthralled regardless and clearly would have happily finished the show and walked right back in to watch it again.

Between the acrobatic dancers, mysterious magician, stuntman (probably my favourite part of the show – I just don’t know how he doesn’t fall to his death, or at the very least to a broken collarbone) and hapless clown, this show is just good old-fashioned circus fun for the kids.

I would recommend this show for ages 3 up. Be aware that stage management for this show has asked for a spare seat to be left between each family member, so if you have a particularly young child be forewarned that you may need to negotiate this.

CIRCUS is another excellent feature of the Fringe lineup. I can’t wait to see it again next year.

4K

 

ADLFRINGE2021 – Bubble Show with Mini Milkshake – The Flamingo @ Gluttony – 4.5K

Taking in a Fringe show with two kids on a Saturday morning is a task for only the bravest of parents or caregivers. Anybody who has ever tried it will surely agree with me, and I can’t have been the only adult in the long queue at The Flamingo feeling the same as me.

Nonetheless, the atmosphere of excitement for the Bubble Show with Mini Milkshake was high – and deservedly so. The plot of the show is simple but sweet: a man makes beautiful bubbles in all kinds of amazing variations, set against the backdrop of stunning music, and plays with his little ragdoll – who suddenly comes to life in all her mischievous, bubble-creating glory, much to her creator’s shock.

The plot wonderfully allows the bubble-masters to display their sheer wizardry, which is nothing short of breathtaking – featuring huge bubbles, tiny bubbles, moving bubbles, bubble juggling, silhouette-trickery and even smoke-filled bubbles. I’m honestly still trying to figure out how they achieved such trickery.

The show is probably most appropriate for kids between the ages of 18 months to 8 years, although it is certainly still entertaining for all ages.

If you want to see something unusual and spectacular with your young kids, you can’t go wrong with this show.

4.5K