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Adelaide Fringe Reviews

CIRQUE AFRICA – FRINGE 2017 – 5*

CIRQUE AFRICA -ADELAIDE FRINGE 2017

CIRQUE AFRICA BIG TOP – HINDMARSH SQUARE

RATING 5K

CIRCUS

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 PENA FLAMENCA – FRINGE 2016 – 4.5*

LA BOHEME

RATING 4.5*

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.

 

THE WALKING DREADS

FRINGE 2016 – FABIEN CLARK – THE WALKING DREADS

PRODUCERS CRANNY

RATING 4*

COMEDY

Arriving in Adelaide direct from the Perth Festival, The Walking Dreads is a comedy show about divorce, Tinder, and the horrors of re-entering the world of dating.  Don’t be misled by the photo of Fabien in the Fringe Guide because this is not a show about zombies, but about the drastic effect these experiences can have on a person. Although close up in the (very) cosy venue of the Producers Cranny he does make quite a convincing zombie.

Fabien regaled the audience with hilarious tales of his relationship woes ; relationships with children, parents, mates and audiences, as well as romance and attempted romance.  He is a consummate story teller whose humour is mainly self-deprecating, he doesn’t rely on the cruel humour that seems to be the stock in trade of many comedians.  The hour rolled by smoothly with laughs throughout, the couple of jokes that fell flat he intelligently turned to his advantage and had us laughing all the more.

The Walking Dreads will be delivering cautionary tales on topics as diverse as how to behave in a Finnish sauna, on getting engaged, on why not to take your young child with you on a first date, through to what not to say in a radio interview.  So you have until March 13th if you’d like to find out how Fabien ended up with dreadlocks and the bad tattoo he refused to show us. And much, much more.

 

SHE WAS PROBABLY NOT A ROBOT – 4*

FRINGE 2016 – STUART BOWDEN – SHE WAS PROBABLY NOT A ROBOT

GARDEN OF UNEARTHLY DELIGHTS

COMEDY

It was a warm and steamy Adelaide night with random emergency vehicle sirens adding to the ambience of the fully packed, hence cramped, setting for ‘She Was Probably Not A Robot’.  An offbeat, absurdist, endearingly funny one-man show wherein Stuart Bowden crowd surfs through the apocalypse (his own personal apocalypse?) trying to convince those around him that they are dead, or soon will be : a rather unusual form of audience involvement.

With occasional appearances by Celeste the alien in her homemade and rather restrictive Pythonesque space helmet (yes they do sometimes appear on stage together) he instructs us in the finer points of rain tasting, the joys of model making, the dangers of sea creatures, and in how to deal with dead bodies.  This is a show that can be enjoyed as a piece of comedic theatre and/or appreciated as a demonstration of the total loneliness one can feel at times, especially when your love has left, and taken the dog with her.

When the emotional and physical tsunami have left you with nothing but a keyboard, an air mattress, and a cardboard box, then you just have to make the most of what you have. And realise that attempting to revive a love that has died is bound to be grotesque. One may think that the world has ended but in reality the world just keeps on going. Although things are never quite the same.

With music, dance and minimal props Stuart brings his stories vividly to life and provides many a laugh along the way.

EXPOSING EDITH

FRINGE 2016 – EXPOSING EDITH 

SPIEGELTENT – GARDEN OF UNEARTHLY DELIGHTS

RATING 5*

CABARET

On a balmy Monday night in the Garden we were transported to 1930s Paris and the world of Edith Piaf.  Presented by the talented raconteur and chanteuse Michaela Burger, and beautifully accompanied by Greg Wain on guitar and occasional vocals, this cabaret show focused on Piaf’s life from around the age of twenty. (With a wonderful one minute musical intro which covered her childhood).

Michaela slipped effortlessly in and out of character, from a very convincing Edith, to the girl from Coober Pedy who became obsessed with Piaf when she was studying in France many years ago, and back again.  Utilising a mix of storytelling and musical classics, as well as lesser known works, she took us on an emotional ride through Piaf’s loves and heartbreaks, career highs and lows, illnesses and injuries.  It was a brilliant portrayal of her vulnerability, feistiness, strength and passion.  Greg Wain’s gentle vocals, particularly on the lovely duet of Autumn Leaves, and expert guitar playing complement her powerful, emotional voice.

The initially restrained audience were soon drawn into exuberant applause, laughter, cheering, and sighing.  Fans of Edith Piaf should certainly enjoy every aspect of this show.  Those who have never heard of her will be enthused to hear more.

Continue reading “EXPOSING EDITH”

A BLUES AND BURLESQUE – IT’S YOU IT’S NOT ME – FRINGE 2016 – 3.5*

LA BOHEME

La Boheme, with its prohibition era style, provides an ideal setting for Dexys Pete Saunders, who entertains with an hour of accomplished blues piano and bittersweet “love” songs.  The clinking of bottles and glasses from the nearby bar adds to the ambience.  As compere Vicious Delicious is absent there appear to be some cast changes to this year’s Fringe show.  Running commentary full of dry wit was provided by Saunders himself.  He is accompanied by Rudy, a sad white-faced sort of a clown, and also a burlesque dancer.

The result is a bluesy vaudevillian music hall experience, a little awkward and mildly confusing, but maybe that is the intent?  The burlesque dancer seems like a last minute add-on who smiles and skillfully removes her clothing.  Perplexingly she almost seemed to be wearing more at the end of the show than at the beginning.  Rudy the clown character has some interesting and surprising talents and provided plenty of laughs, but I wasn’t sure of the point of him being there.  Perhaps the choice of cast was influenced by the fact that most of the songs were about dysfunctional relationships.

For patrons wanting some good blues and clever songwriting this should provide a reasonably enjoyable evening.  Many of the songs are very good, especially “It’s You, It’s Not Me”.  The burlesque element is quite minimal so fans of this genre may not be as well catered for as they might expect.  An early arrival is recommended if a comfortable seat is preferred (there was a good sized crowd so dancing was not an option).

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