Resident Fringe Freak Georgia Brass takes a look back over the Fringe that was. Here are her bite-sized reviews of a medley of shows…
Reading Minds and other Fascinating Lies (21/02/16 at Gluttony – The Carry-On)
A show by local magicians that could’ve been made all the more – well, magic – by some extra energy and enthusiasm. The illusions grounded in used social media, Maccas and an intense bullet catch to make most audience members scratch their heads and at times drop their jaws. But the pair’s stage presence was extremely flat with the majority of the tricks being delivered uncomfortably and ending anti-climatically. This is probably due to the Sunday night half filled tent full of obvious skeptics, and in this, the awkward atmosphere was probably equally attributable to the audience. Considering they even admitted at the show’s conclusion that a Fringe act only survives by word of mouth, this duo need to be a lot more dynamic (or consistently dynamic throughout all performances) to ensure that future reviews are fruitful…otherwise they might end up needing more than magic to pull in the crowds.
Arj Barker – Organic (24/02/16 at Arts Theatre)
Discussing his discarding of the bachelor status, divulging what it’s really like to take on an organic lifestyle, and of course, devising seemingly infinite jokes about everyday occurrences we never think of in a humorous light, frequent Fringer Arj the American continues his long love affair with Adelaide and leaves his audience well amused after an hour in his comedic company. Though a bit shabby in the way of sound quality in using his mic on and off and stumbling through his punch lines on the odd occasion, this raw delivery made his repertoire all the more relatable. To quote the man himself, ‘sit on a stick shift and get your ass in gear’.
Stephen K Amos – The Laughter Master (24/02/16 at Arts Theatre)
Once again gracing our town with his sassy self after a two year hiatus, Stephen K Amos has brought back his beautiful British accent, fantastic facial expressions and crude quick-witted humour to leave his show-goers literally loudly exclaiming ‘he’s so funny!’ as he performs. Comically commenting on current affairs and sending up social media in between banter with the unsuspecting, Amos cleverly blends his classic jokes and anecdotes with new gags (some of which were written the night before and read right off a clipboard). Laughing at himself and with his audience all night long, this man leaves no doubt whom the title of his show refers to…as one of the only acts in the Fringe that keeps me coming back year after year, I highly recommend to all those who want to see a seasoned comedian at work.
A Night At The Musicals (26/02/16 at The Garden of Unearthly Delights – Studio 7)
With all the singing, sequins and sass you’d expect from a show performed by a duo of drag-alicious divas, this ‘night at the musicals’ could never be described as a boring evening out! Covering (and occasionally killing) classic musical tunes from the likes of Les Miserables, Cabaret and Grease, these two queens command their audience’s attention and adoration, through their comedic banter their clever use of the performance space, costuming and lighting, and their sheer talent that shines through every number. I guarantee all you Priscilla Queen of the Desert fans out there that this is a show that will have you on your feet singing, dancing and clapping at its end!
Kane Petersen (26/02/16 at The Garden of Unearthly Delights – The Little Palais)
This is just one of the many sideshows on at the Garden that I somehow stumbled into for just six dollars, and boy, was it worth every cent. In this tiny tent, a tightrope walker who also happens to have a talent for storytelling recounted the experience of his sky-high 21m walk between Melbourne’s Eureka Towers last year. He had us hooked on his every word as he walked a tightrope in the middle of the room with evident ease, before performing a few tricks that one has to see to believe. A great show to pop into if you have 15 minutes to spare!
(As a sideshow, there is no FringeTix page available for this performance.)
Eleanor’s Story: An American Girl In Hitler’s Germany (27/02/16 at Tandanya Café)
This theatricalisation of a WWII survivor’s story goes to show how tales from our harrowing history remain timeless and integral to today’s society. Describing and reenacting her real grandmother’s experiences as a young girl trapped in a foreign war-torn city, this one-woman production adapts an incredibly moving biography that had the audience gasping, giggling and tearing up at times. Very simple props, lighting, sound and accompanying powerpoints frame the true star of the show, which is Ingrid’s humble honest performance. This story – Eleanor’s story – sees the audience experiencing one of our world’s most devastating periods from a new but familiar perspective, making this an distinctive piece of theatre in this Fringe season that I encourage all to see.
Sound and Fury’s Lord Of The Thrones (27/02/16 at Tandanya Café)
Opening the performance with the frank disclaimer, ‘we are not serious theatre…we are comedy with a plot!’, the trio of Sound and Fury, in their trademark tongue-in-cheek fashion, deliver another hilarious hour of fun in comically combining the two famous fantasy franchises, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Following the traditional story-arch of the reluctant hero’s journey (played by a spectator plucked from the crowd), the three create caricatures of the characters we fantasy fanatics know so well, and constantly break out of these to comment on the action and laugh at themselves, making this show another perfect parody from these seasoned performers. Expect clever use of tech including an impressive title sequence, purposeful props and crafty costumes, pop culture references abound and a good old-fashioned sing-a-long. This is one that ANYONE, even those who haven’t seen LOTR or GOT, will be wholeheartedly amused by – highly recommend!
12th Theatresports™ Clash of the Theatre Titans (28/02/16 at Palace Nova)
A fun family-friendly show where the audience is actively involved, Theatresports once again makes for a fantastic afternoon out. A number of artists from around the Fringe improvise scenes in teams (prompted by audience suggestions) to impress the judges (also the audience) and take home the title of ultimate theatre titan! This is an extremely well conceptualized event, deftly hosted, casted and musically scored, that though it is technically a competitive showcase, sees for a community of artists coming together to support each other’s work. This is a show that ALL ages, genders, cultures etc. will enjoy endlessly – highly recommend!
Blackrock (28/02/16 at Tandanya Theatre)
This production of an Aussie play, which in its own right has worked its way into the canon for its confronting content – the true story of a seedy seaside town rocked by the rape and murder of a girl by a group of local young men – has been brought to life by a budding group of performers, whose youth makes their characters all the more real. Using a simple set consisting of placards to establish when and where a scene is taking place and an unmoving black rock upstage as a constant prop and motif, the burden of effective storytelling falls to the actors who carry it well, all in all. I also have to commend the group on their faithfulness to the script, evident in costuming choices and the classic nineties rock as a soundtrack. Overall, considering their age, this cast does an admirable job of translating this challenging script to the stage, and ultimately leaves their audience with plenty to think about in regards to today’s young Australians.
Hot Brown Honey (28/02/16 at Royal Croquet Club – The Menagerie)
Six women of colour, talent and sass perform a show of colour, talent and sass, that had the audience cheering and clapping from start to finish. A performance driven by female empowerment where you are likely the hear the phrase ‘fuck the patriarchy!’ more than once, this show where crazy feminist energy runs rampant showcases incredible singing, dancing, beat-boxing and acrobatics among many crafts while also streaming a strong message of revolution, unapologetically delivered by the loud proud host Busty Beatz. Featuring incredible costumes, brilliant lighting, and an amazing soundtrack that’ll have you grooving in the aisles, this show is one for ‘all the women who are independent’ – highly recommend!
Words by Georgia Brass.