ADLFRINGE2021 – Faulty Towers The Dining Experience – Adelaide Oval Pavilion – 5K

Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience is exactly as the name implies: Based on the classic British TV series, this immersive show aims to pull you through the television screen and into the chaotic life of Basil, Sybil and Manuel as they run their tired old hotel.

As someone who has watched Fawlty Towers a million times and seen this live show before, I was interested to see how it had grown and changed over the years.

The Performance

As a fan, it’s always a concern that impressions of beloved characters could be cringe-worthy or cheesy, but this is not the case at all. The trio has perfected the quirks and mannerisms of these beloved characters. Even their voices are pretty spot-on – everything from Basil’s grumble to Sybil’s laugh seems to hit just right.

As you walk in the door, you’re immediately immersed in the chaos as you’re shown to your seats. The ensemble has an excellent way of balancing out Basil’s sour attitude with Sybil’s motherly nature and Manuel’s idiocy.  Basil might scold you for wearing a Pokemon jacket while Sybil snaps at him to relax and tells you about her upcoming golf trip. In the background, the incompetent Manuel rolls on his plate, rather than serving bread rolls.  The show is improvised with little nods to the original TV series in a way that makes you feel nostalgic without feeling like you’ve seen it all before.

The Food

As a dining experience, it’s probably worth mentioning the food. The original venue I attended years ago had enjoyable food, but nothing memorable. This time, however, the food was absolutely delicious… especially the sweet potato and ginger soup, which I am still dreaming about 24 hours later. To experience such a great show with a three-course meal of such high quality is absolutely worth the ticket price.

The Venue

The Adelaide Oval Pavilion seemed to be a major upgrade from the hotel venue I had originally attended all those years ago. Located in Adelaide, the venue is just far enough out of the city that traffic during Fringe time wasn’t an impossible nightmare to navigate.

But the one venue drawback is that it really needed better signage. In searching for the Pavilion, my partner and I formed a camaraderie with fellow event-goers as we timidly searched for the space within the walls of the Adelaide Oval. It was confusing and a little frustrating, especially since I had worn uncomfortable new shoes. This was not the artists’ fault, of course – they had apparently requested signage that Adelaide Oval did not provide, and the artists did not choose my shoes. But it is certainly worth mentioning that if you, like me, had never been to this venue before, to come a bit early so you can comfortably park and make the trek around the oval while you figure out where the hell you’re supposed to go.

Overall…

Whether or not you’re a fan of the original series, this dining experience is absolutely worth your time. Get your tickets, sit back, relax and enjoy being served by the best worst hospitality staff Adelaide has ever seen.

 

5K

ADLFRINGE2021 – Don’t Mess with the Dummies – Gluttony – 4K

By Julia Loipersberger

The socially distanced 2021 Adelaide Fringe has well and truly kicked off, starting with the delightful “Don’t Mess with the Dummies”, housed in the beautiful Cornucopia tent at Gluttony.

This all-female trio presented a show for young kids featuring three hapless adventurers setting out on a jungle trip into the unknown. Featuring feats of physical skill, magic, gymnastics, clever visual trickery and even a very pesky enormous (pretend) mosquito, this is a very entertaining show for young kids (guest reviewers are aged 4 and nearly 6 years old and wanted to come back and see it again immediately afterwards).

Heavily reliant on slapstick comedy – which, frankly, is perfect for the target market – “Don’t Mess with the Dummies” hits almost every mark and helps introduce young audience members to the wonders of the Adelaide Fringe.

A slight warning for sensitive ears as some parts of the show can be quite loud. The show also probably loses its appeal slightly for kids over the age of 10.

But overall, Ellen, Shona and Sarah put on an excellent show for the 3 to 9 year old age bracket – although I wouldn’t necessarily want to go camping with any of them!

4K

FRINGE 2021: The Bakers – The Mill – 5K

a close up of a man with his mouth open

Allons-y! We’re off La Boulangerie de Gustav (which coincidentally resides in The Mill on Angas Street), a French bakery run by Gustav himself along with his two hapless sons, Jean-Pierre and Jean-Claude. Flour will fly, cigarettes are smoked, and you better duck before the deadly slices of bread get smack you right on your forehead.

The Bakers is the latest brainchild of Threebloomers, whose (equally excellent) previous work Scotland! put them on the map in Adelaide from 2019. Known for a participatory style and the highest energy of any troupe you’ll see, Sam, Oliver and Jonathan from The Latebloomers present an hour of hilarity, baked to perfection.

In a show of minimal dialogue, the three bakers present a convincing world using physical theatre, mime and clowning. With the overdue notices coming in and the debts piling up, Gustav finds that his business mantra of “hands, heart, home” may not save him this time. With his two sons – who often vie for their father’s approval – having different ideas of what will bring success, the bakery stares down the barrel of closure.

That may sound heavy, but the Latebloomers breathe life and laughter into this story. Be warned, there is audience participation, so if that isn’t your thing I’d recommend sitting this one out (not even sitting in the middle of the row will save you here). But it’s worth just leaning into it – the more you do, the more fun you’ll have. And yes, there’s sanitiser at the ready for those that get dragged on stage.

This is a must-see this Fringe, especially if you missed Scotland! when it was here. It’s something that (almost) the whole family can enjoy (recommended for kids 10 and up, be warned of a couple of obscene hand gestures), and is a fun-filled pick-me-up after a much needed tough year.

Kryztoff Rating: 5K

FRINGE 2021: The Kaye Hole – Gluttony – 5K

a close up of a teddy bear

Raucous, hedonistic host of the night Reuben Kaye professes that this late night cabaret club, The Kaye Hole, is a safe place for dangerous individuals. A place where “women, LGBTQIA+ people, and even *gag* heterosexual men” can be free to be themselves.

The Kaye Hole is certainly that – free from the social confines of usual Fringe shows – but that’s what makes it great. Reuben Kaye hooks you in from the beginning with an impeccable voice and a razor sharp wit, setting the tone for what’s to come: a line up of burlesque, comedy, circus, acrobatics, and cabaret that never lets up.

If you’re looking for a classic Fringe experience, one that will make you gasp, marvel at what these incredible artists can do, and laugh until you hurt, this is the show for you. Kaye is an unflappable host, bringing charm and energy unlike anything you’ve ever seen. With extensive technical mishaps throughout the show, Kaye dealt with these seamlessly and with respect to both the tech crew, and the artists whose acts were affected, keeping the show in check with an impromptu comedy set in six-inch heels. To do this – without the audience becoming restless or frustrated – is a talent that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Given the year that was 2020, when I was sitting in Gluttony’s The Octagon, watching Kaye & Co perform for a very enthusiastic yet socially distanced crowd, I couldn’t help feel lucky to be there. Watching something so entertaining and captivating that I wasn’t ready to leave this safe place after the hour was up – what a perfect antidote to the crazy year that was.

Kryztoff rating: 5K

 

A PROMENADE OF SHORTS – Red Phoenix Theatre – Holden Street – 4.5K

By Peter Maddern

After such a hiatus, and with such lingering uncertainty brought on by this pandemic thing, one could excuse any theatre company getting back to work to do so by way of tiny steps. Not so for Michael Eustace’s Red Phoenix with their A Promenade of Shorts; nine short plays across Holden Street’s three venues between which three audiences rotated.

With subject matter and tone as varied and unpredictable as the weather outside proved to be, the evening felt like a short film festival with the added benefit of that good old fashioned buzz that only live performance can provide. Added to this was an engaging atmosphere in the Holden Street Courtyard built up  by various ‘tour guides’.

Lots of highlights including Brand Eustice’s intimidating red neck (in Electric Roses), Kate van der Horst’s engaging theatre patron in a sea of foyer- dwelling nasties (in Intermission) and Tim Williams’ doing his modern day malapropisms as Nate (in Auto Incorrect). Murphy Guyer’s Loyalties provided perhaps the twist ending of the evening and Words that Matter the misfire of the event.

Not sure of the total count but it seems it was over 30 players who got to strut their stuff, from dominating their 15 minute proceedings to being tied up in a corner of the stage. Well done again to Eustace to provide such an outlet to so many to release their, no doubt, pent up performing impulses.

Bold and imaginative in conception and delivery, A Promenade of Shorts is a wonderful return to local theatre in this town.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

GASLIGHT – State Theatre Company South Australia – Her Majesty’s Theatre- 4K

By Fiona Talbot – Leigh

How wonderful to be back in a theatre again and to be privy to State Theatre’s opening night of Gaslight at the newly  built’ Her Majesty’s’ made it a night to remember.

Catherine Fitzgerald has brought to the stage a strong ensemble who worked well together to bring Patrick Hamilton’s fabulous script to life.  Sadly the story of Gaslight never grows old as even today’s society are all but too familiar with the term.

Set in the later part of the 19th century, the drama unfolds in the space of one afternoon and the subsequent evening. Before the curtain rises however, to set the scene, Eileen Darley delivers a tongue in cheek song in the old vaudeville style complete with top hat and tails reminiscent of music hall star Vesta Tilley. Fitzgerald’s nod and wink to the male impersonator from yesteryear was a delightful introduction to this eerie and dramatic tale.

Bella Manningham played to perfection by Ksenja Logos, is living a life of isolation and fear. Her marriage of seven years to Jack is in question as is the state of her own mind. She is hearing noises, treasured possessions are being moved or lost altogether, the gas light in the drawing room dims on a regular basis and the constant threat of being taken to an asylum by her husband causes Bella to all but lose faith in herself.

Jack toys with his young wife, demeaning her at every opportunity and treating her like a child. Nathan O’Keefe’s performance as Jack Manningham is chilling to watch. His voice, mannerisms and demeanor, portrayed all that and more of a man of the Victorian era who sees himself as the opulent gentleman.

A real cat and mouse game ensues and it was quite terrifying to see exactly how much power a husband could wield over his wife. Add to this her isolation in the house and we truly begin to see Bella unravel.

Fortunately, Bella does have an ally, in the form of Inspector Rough brilliantly portrayed by Eileen Darley. I applaud Fitzgerald’s decision to place a woman in this male role. Darley’s characterization brought real depth to the Inspector and she was in good company with Katherine Sortini who played Nancy and Ellen Freeman who played Elizabeth, reveling in their roles of servants and later comically as the constables.

The overall performance is peppered with humour and set against Alisa Paterson’s warm set with Nic Mollison’s creative lighting, makes this a show to see. The season has sold out but an extra matinee show has been added on Saturday the 19th of September at 2pm to cater for the ever increasing audience of this timeless piece.

4K

A TRUCKLOAD Of SKY: The Lost Songs of David McComb

RCC level 5. – 9:00pm March 12th

Review by Gary Clarke
4.5K ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 💫
This extraordinary show is both a chronicle of some of the songs of David McComb that either weren’t released or didn’t get their due recognition and also a loving tribute from his friends and collaborators in the Australian Indie music scene.

David McComb of course was the singer and principle songwriter for the seminal Oz Indie rock band The Triffids. Tonight’s eclectic band of musos included artists from The Triffids and Black-eyed Susans. For this show, Rob McComb, Dave’s brother and fellow Triffid is the crux of proceedings on guitar and violin. “Evil” Graham Lee added some great pedal steel and Rob Snarski (Black-eyed Susans) and the full on JP Shilo provide the vocals. They all knew David personally as friends and musical collaborators at some time in his career. This personal element added real gravitas to the whole performance. I spotted quite a few familiar faces in the audience who were at those gigs in the 1980s and 90s.

The Uni Bar venue hasn’t changed much since then, unfortunately. The sound is difficult to modulate and there were some artifacts of the architecture that didn’t help. Having said that, there were some stand out moments including Clare Moore leaving the drum kit behind to deliver her delightful version of ‘Raining Pleasure’. Quite a few of the songs I had never heard previously but fortunately for us the band has recorded many of them on CD and digitally on an album of the same name.

This was far more than simply a nostalgia trip it was a celebration of the extraordinary talent of one of Australia’s most enigmatic and underrated songwriters and artists.
Highly Recommended
4.5K ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 💫

FRINGE THEATRE – Our Solar System – Holden Street Theatres – 4.5K

Alexander Ewers

Our Solar System is an intimate and wholehearted one-man performance that muses on the choices – things done and not done – that define a life trajectory. Painted in broad brush-sweeps of lyrical descriptive prose with bursts of detailed colour, the show is a sensitive melange of past and present. The present: a disillusioned office worker returning to a nondescript beach of boyhood memories to farewell a fisherman he once knew. The past: a boy haunted and hounded by fears and dreams of the ocean, a fear sharpened and dreams given form by a summer spent with the ocean and its ‘guardian’. The two, past and present, tumble against and over each other in rolling surging tides of words and images, merging until it is difficult to discern which is more real and alive and valuable.

Our Solar System is about time. It is about the ocean, that great unchanged but always changing entity. It is about memory, about those sentinel moments in life aroufnd which our existence seems to forever revolve, moments that so shape our being that we are never able to escape their gravitational pull. The ocean plays both metaphor and literal substrate carrying this performance. Fickle, personal, powerful, inescapable, it is the fabric of memory rippling (or rather vibrating) with stories and identities and pasts that are inextricable, inextirpable, ineluctable. Actor Spencer Scholz succeeds in conveying a sense of transfixed horror and fascination, fear and desire, such that by the conclusion of the show the ocean seems verily invested with identity and personality – Old Man Stingray.

Staged outdoors in the Garden at Holden Street Theatre, Our Solar System is refreshingly honest and unpretentious. There is something enormously appropriate with respect to an Australian ocean themed performance, in being surrounded by Australian natives, a gentle breeze and the gathering dusk. Somehow it captures a note of vitality, an oceanic sense of abandonment that lingers just beyond the conscious in the fabric of our Australian identity. Scholz draws on deeper Australian influences, taking inspiration from the writing styles of Thiele and Winton. And just like Thiele or Winton, his prose is effective, utterly transporting. For 60 minutes, the concrete world melts away before the rawness of descriptive imagery that calls to each of our own pasts and stories rooted in ocean and memory. For 60 minutes, the past is the present and the present ripples and vibrates to the tides of the past. It is nostalgia. It is regret. It is the gravitational tug of our individual solar systems.

Kryztoff Rating 4.5K

Fringe 2020 – Daniel Connell – Cheers Big Ears – 3.5k

By Riccardo Barone

“When you go shopping, what’s in others baskets? In one of them there was chicken breast, mars bars and a lub.” I am not going to write here the rest… (wink).
Daniel Connell works hard on his comedy show with inspirational improvisations and solid ideas at the base.
Hilarious is the reading of his will, with unexpected surprises.
Facts, observations and dissertations from everyday life reach the summit in this sarcastic, pungent show.
The interaction with the audience works really well, but in a very politely way. We’ve seen lots of comedians really going out of their way when they interact with it, and often becoming “too invasive with their jokes” (not my opinion).
The Piglet is a nice place to be spending an hour between good company and good humor.

Kryztoff  rating : 3.5K

FRINGE 2020: Passengers – RCC – 4K

What happens when a mind tries to protect itself from the horrors it’s seen and endured? The answer – sometimes – is the subject of Passengers, an experimental physical theatre piece from UK-based company Vacuum Theatre.

Max wants to tell you his story. And so we hear it – through three of his personalities, each with their own nuances, dreams, and goals. Max has multiple personality disorder, stemmed from a childhood trauma, and each of his personalities seeks to tell his story as they see it – or, in some cases, wish it to be. We have his angry, destructive side that aims to distract and numb Max; his critical, pragmatic side that seeks to keep him safe; and his imaginative dreamer side, that’s optimistic for a life of something more.

Vacuum Theatre have put together a unique, engaging theatre experience. Our three protagonists duck and weave their way through their prison-like structure, aiming to tell Max’s story in as cohesive a way as possible. The way the personalities ultimately work together, despite friction, to protect Max is a clever way of demonstrating the core of the development of multiple selves. Excerpts of interviews provide extra weight to the story, providing real-life confirmation of what we’ve just witnessed on stage. Each actor provides realism to their respective personality, and each actor is faultless, drawing the audience in with every line.

There are moments where the story could have been snappier, but overall this was an excellent piece of theatre on a topic that deserves attention and consideration far greater than it’s often given.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K