Adelaide Fringe Reviews


Laconic : A Short Film Festival featuring film and animation by emerging South Australian film makers.

Presented in the intimate setting of Koffee Ink Cafe at Adelaide Oval where sofas, tables and chairs were arranged in front of a large tv screen normally used as background tv and live footage of sports events happening at the oval, it was good to see the space being used in a different way and it worked well.

Seven short films including 3 animations were shown over 75mins. The sound quality was very good although I found the noise of the airconditioner  occasionally distracting during quieter moments.  Other noise was avoided by the cafe only serving refreshments  during a 10 minute intermission once the showing had begun and being closed to the public for the duration of the ticketed event.  Koffee Ink is a licensed cafe with good coffee and a range of food.  The crowd on opening night was small ; perhaps partly due to the weather.

The films were quite varied.  The 4th film shown (whose title I unfortunately missed) was very well received, a comedy about online dating with a clever twist in the tale.  With the exception of one film from Vancouver, all the films were South Australian. The final film was a gentle and charming animation : Greta Bradman – My Hero with music and song from Oscar Straus’ Chocolate Soldier.

Arrive early to get a front row seat on the comfy couch.  There are a range of films to be shown throughout the season and the content will vary from night to night.  The remaining opportunities for viewing are on March 7th & 8th at 7:30pm.  For anyone interested in short film format this is a good opportunity to see the directions in which talented local artists are taking it.



Dylan Cole has either played Scrabble seriously or he must certainly have spent time around people who have.  This funny, sad, insightful show should appeal to both the Scrabble fraternity and also to those who have never touched a tile. 

This portrayal of world champion Austin Michaels, and the story of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on his life is brilliantly executed. Dylan moved effortlessly between the young Austin, the very cool Austin in love, through to the Austin struggling to hold onto his memories and subsiding into frustration, disappointment and anger.

Presented in this year’s cosy quirky Tuxedo Cat venue, this was an anagrammers heaven and I was surrounded by fellow practitioners who laughed along with the in jokes and at parts of themselves (and others) that they recognised.  I wondered occasionally if some of them might not have to be restrained from participating.


I had only ever seen short excerpts from this film so it was fascinating to see a full-length version of the F W Murnau movie based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula and made almost 100 years ago.  With an expert live score featuring keyboards  percussion and electronic music, this full length (84 mins) version of the 1922 German vampire classic was presented by Tess Said So at the Mercury Cinema. 

The music was well suited to the action, at times a little monotonous due to the sometimes repetitive nature of parts of the story.  This is a film that has obviously had a large impact on popular culture, film, and the horror genre.  Seeing it made me realise that even quite recently made films have been inspired by its imagery and style.  (The similarity between the character of Nosferatu and that of The Mug in A Heroic Life is quite striking).

Experiencing this movie as it was originally presented, as a silent movie with live music, creates an interesting window into another time and place.



Charming performance of a modern fable based on an ancient Greek myth.

This is the story of Scylla/ Cilla/ Sid, the untwinned resident of Naiad Bay, an insomniac worker in a chip shop devoid of fish.  We hear of monsters, raspberries, messages in bottles, and mysterious lighthouse keepers.  And of Sid’s eventual discovery/losing of herself in the dark blue sea.

Featuring poetic storytelling and live musical accompaniment, and with humour, warmth and clever improvisation, the show held the audience’s attention from beginning to end.  Almost a monologue, simple props and the microphone were employed to great effect in the narration and the portrayal of the different characters.

Night Creature is presented by Joanne Hartstone and Lion House Theatre from the UK. Appearing at the Noel Lothian Hall in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens until 5th March 2017.


Fringe 2016 – Knee Deep – Casus Circus – The Garden – Rating 4* – Review by Julie Robins

Knee Deep,  presented by Brisbane-based Casus Circus, is an acrobatic dance performance in which the dancers work around themes of fragility and strength, both physical and emotional.  In the intimate setting of the Vagabond venue, sound, lighting and music  are expertly used to manipulate the mood throughout the show.

The troupe display exceptional physical skills with strength, control, and great timing.  The show is full of wit, humour and pathos. Some of the action seemed a little clunky at the beginning but this soon became smoother and they made even the most intricate moves seem almost effortless.

The beautiful and surprising images they create, especially those involving eggs and aerial ribbons, linger long after the show has finished.  (I imagine that many omelettes were made during the workshops that led up to the finished show).

Recommended for all ages.


FRINGE 2016 – Puddles Pity Party – Garden – Rating 4.5* – Review by Julie Robins

Riding into 1970s Adelaide on a city free bike, Puddles is a very tall gently menacing and rather depressed whiteface clown with a fabulous baritone singing voice and an engaging manner who has the audience onside from the moment he rolls into the room. Supported by Popeye, Kevin Costner, robotic failures and sad animals, the Puddles Pity Party is fifty minutes of rollicking good fun.

The audience could not help but join in with his renditions of songs such as Dancing Queen, Under Pressure, and the Angels’ : Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again. He took us from decorous tea parties through cabaret and disco to popcorn explosions. Filming and photo taking were encouraged (Puddles is a master of the selfie) but no audience member was safe from his attentions. He chose his victims well and drew out their inner charms and talents.

A sad wise clown from Atlanta who sang with us, danced with us, schmoozed with us, he was effortlessly funny and entertaining throughout. The queue that formed after the show to wait for Puddles cuddles showed just how many hearts he won. Recommended for all ages with a language warning ( which is entirely due to the audience, not Puddles!)



Young, newly formed Adelaide troupe Cirque Nocturne are appearing at the Empyrean at Gluttony until March 5th.

Aiming for a film noir aesthetic they present various circus style acts including hoop twirling, juggling, acrobatics, and trapeze.  The stand out performance is a skilled demonstration of fire twirling which is well coordinated with the music and during which the overly bright lights are thankfully dimmed.

The incorporation of some self-deprecating humour wouldn’t go astray in this somewhat serious and self-conscious show.

The concept is interesting and with more development, appropriate lighting, and practice,  the show could come together better as the season progresses.







Cirque Africa, appearing for the first time in Adelaide, is a very professional but fresh high energy show featuring incredible athletes and musicians.  The live musical accompaniment was a wonderful constant whose timing, and that of the acrobats, was spot on.

Arriving a few minutes late for this show I was amazed to find the audience already cheering, clapping and stamping their feet.  Their enthusiasm did not abate for the duration of the show and they left smiling, laughing, and full of praise.  Being a Sunday there were many family groups in attendance and it was obvious that it was enjoyed by people of all ages.

Expertly presented by Wilson Ruddle, himself an ex-acrobat and the trainer of this troupe, this colourful vibrant show featuring performers from four African countries astonishes with its levels of strength and skill, daring and enthusiasm, humour and beauty.  The cast are very friendly and more than happy to chat and share their stories after the show.

Highly recommended.





La Boheme is transformed into a Pena Flamenca ; an Andalusian club where traditional flamenco can be experienced in an intimate setting.  The evening presented by Adelaide based Studio Flamenco kicks off with a four beat count tangos full of vitality and passion featuring all five dancers.  The audience is then led through a gamut of emotions including sorrow, joy, love and humour via a variety of song and dance styles ; tangos, siguiriyas, alegrias, rumba enamoreo, farruca and bulerias.  The solo and group dance routines are highly expressive passionate renditions, innovative as well as traditional.  The evening is completed by an exuberant bulerias, the traditional fin de fiesta.

The unique qualities and personality of each of the performers is drawn out by the expressive nature of flamenco .  The captivating singer, Zoe Velez, has travelled from Sydney to be part of the show and also provides a wonderful cameo dance performance.

With excellent guitar accompaniment throughout by Aloysius Leeson and Marduk Gault , Pena Flamenca is a very accomplished and enjoyable experience.  Recommended for lovers of flamenco and also for those who have never had the pleasure of experiencing this form live.


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