Which shows at Adelaide Fringe have been earning accolades on the core fringe circuit over the last year? The essential Fringe consists of Edinburgh and the world's second-largest, here in Adelaide. For many Australian and international shows, the two festivals act together as one highly-effective, unbelievably-efficient creative incubator.
Adelaide’s unique role within this process suggests why Australian performers are so prevalent in Edinburgh. Remarkably, Australians out-represent Americans there, by roughly 800%, on a per capita basis. What emerges from this combined process must count as Australia’s most-significant ongoing contribution, bar none, to the evolving broader culture.
During Fringe, see some of the shows have been winning plaudits on this unique circuit, just as they are beginning make their broader impacts.
Rouge invites you into an adult fantasy that is palpably-sumptuous and aesthetically-pleasing.
It exudes a liberating sense of comfortably shameless sexuality, that opens up to all sorts of lush imaginings. Yet Rouge is forever friendly.It’s happily playful; ever ready to goof and self-mock. That sexuality was always this safe.
From backstage, Rouge pulls-forward the radical inclusivity that has always been the mark of the travelling circus. In Rouge, it’s out now, and centre stage. Rouge is so gorgeously subversive, in so many ways, it doesn’t need to labour its inherent radicality.
The show was devised for the fading-postcard glamour of the original Spiegeltents. Its starting point is a circus-take on a 1920s jazz club. With modern overlays, Rouge would pleasantly impress the likes of a Marlene Dietrich, one of the performing ghosts of these venues.
EdFestMag 5 ★★★★★
The Wee Review, Edinburgh ★★★★★
14 Feb- 15 Mar
Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Gluttony
With classical mime and clowning, theLatebloomers blast the blocked passageways of our highly-defended imaginative mindscapes.
Audiences are powerless to resist the troupe’s expert surgery. The Latebloomers succeed in reconnecting us to the freedom and joy that abounds from a complete surrender to pure, child-like whimsy.
So, what’s Scotland about? Well, nothing... it’s absurd! Ostensibly, it’s a homage to all things Scottish. That is only a device to allow for an effective procedure. While they do conjure-up all things Scottish, it’s only to feed into the ever-evolving mind-gallop that steadily disables the resistant adult mind. Kids will get it, but adults need it.
Within the genre of English absurdism, it must be challenging to cast a shadow beyond the monumental shade of M. Python. The Latebloomers, with their Continentally infused absurdity, may just be steering the genre into some newly lit sunny uplands.
InDaily, Adelaide 2019, ★★★★★
Six star—you won’t see better
18 Feb-1 Mar
Le Cascadeur, The Garden of Unearthly Delights
Railed places four highly physicalised, very frisky, and infinitely hopeless bandits, alone in a (very) Wild West.
With time on their hands, they cook up all sorts of boys'-own tom-foolery. But, as if landing on a horse backward, they never seem to head off. Life at the outpost comes off as a derailed spaghetti western, with dollops from a demented Looney Tunes for good measure.
Pushed along by a Morricone-esque mash-up man-beat, Railed embraces male-bonding for the hipster era. These boys make mere bromance look lame. This is direct stuff. Gone are the seedy double-entendres and glitterised-campy devices of an earlier era, set to entrap the unwary Brads. Nor is there the guilt of the wind-swept high-planes of a Broken Back Mountain. In Railed, there is no need for subterfuge; there is very little resistance.
The Advertiser ★★★★☆
18 Feb‑15 Mar
The Octagon, Gluttony
Late in the nineteenth century, there was a fully human, “penny-for-a-song” street singer. One tragic day, a famous man stole her voice away.
By recording her melodious voice, he disconnected her humanity; condemning her forever to the mere existence of an automaton. These were the futuristic, human-like machines of the age.
Slumped forward in her fin-de-siècle finery, she moves forward with her eyes closed, into the new and foreboding century. At key points she awakes, following the divine passing of a human spark.
When she awakes, she strives to reach beyond her bounded existence through a limited range of mechanistic actions. With haunting, melancholic melodies, she exudes her air of infinite sadness. The Maiden reports on what she sees; she sings of misplaced expectations, hoped-for connections and abandoned loves. Honey, Can You Spare a Dime?
The spark of life eventually fails her, leaving her again in slumber till awoken in another epoch.
All Over Adelaide ★★★★★
Winner, Innovation Award, Adelaide Fringe, 2019
19 Feb-6 Mar
The Handlebards are an all-female troupe of pedalling troubadours who delight in plonking Shakespeare right back into the muddied pit of the cabbage throwers.
The Tempest is a tall-tale, of wizardry and natural disorders. It's a comic Elizabethan face-off between good sorcery and wicked witchery. And while Elizabeth herself had outlawed magick, sorcery, spells and sprites were still very real.
In playing on the Shakespearean delight in the topsy-turvy, this troupe shakes up that peculiarity of Elizabethan theatre—the single-sex cast.
Where ever practical the troupe cycles between gigs. This limits what they can carry as costumes and props. With few resources, they propel themselves into all sorts of creative improvisations. This contributes further to the rollicking pace. Their inventive repurposing of what is at hand, suggests one big Blyton-esq adventure of dressings-up and make-believe.
The real magic of the show is how The HandleBards create such an imaginative Shakespearean world out of virtually nothing.
Broadway Baby, Edinburgh ★★★★★
Six star—you won’t see better
4 Mar-15 Mar
Ukiyo, The Bally, Gluttony
From the forever receding, never-ever land of Retro, John Rowe dusts off the old tonight/chat shows to create the John Rowe Show. Through it, he presents his favourite music from his very favourite decades—the seventies and eighties. Those were the days when television was the comfortable centre of a virtual electronic village. Rowe lived it, loved it and worked it. He relives it again—for those who remember, and those who can imagine. Read the feature article...
26-27 Feb, Gingers, Taylor Square,
Mardi Gras Festival Tix
Transcendent chanteuse Mama Alto joyfully exemplifies the original meaning of the term Diva. She deplores it when people use it to disparage women, suggesting they are difficult and demanding. For Mama, It’s a barb with a misogynistic menace. She feels such use undermine many otherwise capable, talented and independent women. Read the feature article...
Are there any true, authentic and observable origin points for what is emerging into the broader culture?
The refining processes at work at the two major Fringe events of Edinburgh and Adelaide, opens portals to the firmament of developing shows, emerging performers and evolving ideas. From the thousands of shows on offer, a process of reviews, awards and word-of-mouth, suggests what goes on to tour–nationally and internationally. These core events operate as a parallel trade show, drawing in agents, festival organisers and theatrical bookers from all over the world.
These are the shows and performers that emerge from the process are the leading indicators for what and how we experience, comprehend and participate in our broader culture. Through Fringe it is possible to see the future coming.