Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Twenty-two days, 16 Fringe shows (that's one show every 1.375 days)... and now it's all over for another year!
This week is going to feel incredibly quiet (from a "not going anywhere" point of view).... quiet, but kinda a relief...
I know I said this last year, but I think possibly that 16 shows in three weeks is my limit! I mean, maybe I could try for 20, but that would be the absolute limit...
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed everything bar about three shows... and I definitely have a bunch of names that I'll be looking for in the Fringe guide next year... it's just that the whole thing is a touch exhausting.
And there wasn't really anything that I wanted to go and see that I never got around to. There's maybe one or two things I was a little curious about... but nothing I really feel like I missed out on.
One thing I won't miss is the godawful poster design... so monumentally crap! And the fact that it was an overseas "designer" who won it just rubs salt in the wound... Australia-wide I can understand, although really, don't we have enough talented folk here in South Australia to come up with a design?
But I'm getting off track...
Just for the record though, some of these shows are separated only by minute degrees... and I kept seeing such great stuff that it pushed other great stuff further down the list.
"Both Douglas Brooks and Laura Irish are magnetic and emotionally raw as the titular Lord and Lady... I don't know that I've ever seen such incredibly passion between the two characters, and it made sense to me that she could manipulate Macbeth to do such terrible things because he is so madly in love with her."
This was only the second thing that I went to see, but it still is the one that completely and totally blew me away. And when anybody has asked what my favourite show has been, this is always the one I mention. It's also the show that I found most effecting and that has stayed with me more than any of the others.
- I, Elizabeth
"From the moment that Rebecca Vaughan steps on stage, she is every inch the monarch... with grace and good humour (and the occasion fit of rage or tears) she commands the space, commands the attention of the audience, and is just mesmerising! I seriously could not bring myself to look away from her for the whole show!"
I very nearly missed out on this one (thanks to my Twitter buddies, especially Peteski, who made such a strong case for going to see it), which would have been a great shame... it was simply amazing.
- The Boy with Tape on His Face, More Tape
"And just when I didn't think that you could possibly top the finale of last year's show with the bubbles and the fans, you manage to take it all the way up to the next level in spectacular fashion this year with Total Audience Participation Armageddon!"
For as many years as The Boy with Tape on His Face keeps coming back to the Fringe and putting on shows as good as either this year or last year, I will be in the audience!
- Shakespeare's Mothers: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know
"Martin and Perry are amazing, strong and feisty women who just act the living shit out of the various roles... as the title suggests, the play is much more about them that it is about Jones in either the role of Shakespeare or any of the male characters he plays to offset the women... in fact, in a number of the scenes he isn't really lit at all, the emphasis instead is squarely on the women."
A fantastic grab-bag of Shakespeare's women... and an amazing piece of theatre. I just hope that it managed to attract the audience it deserved.
"The way that they leap and throw each other around, not to mention fly through the air on occasion is simply amazing to watch. And my hands are still a little sore from all the clapping we did during the show. In fact I think I can safely say that I clapped more in this show than I think I've clapped in anything we've seen at this year's Fringe."
This is definitely one of the shows where the artists have gone straight onto the "if they come back, I'll see them" list... amazing, amazing work, either in spite of, because of or completely regardless of their ages.
- Philip Escoffey: Six More Impossible Things Before Dinner
"Escoffey doesn't claim to be psychic or a mind-reader or anything, but it feels like he should be... in essence I think he's profoundly skilled at misdirection, human behaviour and psychology (essentially, the magician's arts), but it's really up to everyone who goes to the show to make up their own mind about who and what he is."
The longer I think about this show, the more of the tricks I feel like I can kind of work out... but it's still those moments that I have no idea about that amaze me and would bring me back to see him again.
- Le Gateau Chocolat
"That deep, warm, powerful, comforting, beautiful, liquid velvet voice that wraps around you like so much gold sequinned lyrca!"
Do you think there's a space for Le Gateau Chocolat at the Cabaret Festival? I'd love to see him on stage at the Festival Theatre... as I said in my original review, an hour of Le Gateau Chocolat just wasn't enough!
"Once the performance does begin under the light of a single bulb, it's dirty and raw and brutal and messy and painful and takes place as though the audience isn't really there for the most part. It's also silent... that's what makes it most effective I think... the whole show is performed silently, with only the wind flapping in the plastic, the sounds of the traffic below and the occasional slap or grunt from bodies in motion."
Although this show was touted as being all about the acrobatics, it was everything about it that made it not only an amazing experience, but also, without doubt, once of the weirdest Fringe experiences I've had so far.
- Niets is echt moeilijk
"Bart Strijbos, Dorus van der Meer and Toon Kuijpers don't just sit back and expect people to come and see them, each performance is proceeded by about 20 minutes of them working the crowd, handing out plywood "flyers" (I got the very first flyer, right before the hoards of children descended) and drawing people in."
This show was amazing not just for the insanity that happened inside the big wooden box, but also for how hard they worked to ensure that they had a full house each night.
- Swamp Juice
"However the finale more than makes up for it, and is something that I totally didn't expect to work as well as it did (I'd say what happened, but Achtem asked us not to tell... it's a surprise!)."
An entertaining end to our Fringe experience... and the finale was just wonderful!
- Talking Poofy
"I don't know what it is about Adam Richard that makes me laugh so hard... I think it's his giggle... it's not a clean giggle, not by any stretch of the imagination, and once he starts, it starts me off.... and before you know it I'm essentially crying with laughter. But all three poofs had me pretty much in stitches."
The only really "mainstream" comedy show that I saw, and as always, Adam Richard is comedy gold... of course the other two weren't bad either.
- Barry Morgan's World of Organs
"The other great thing about Barry is that he can definitely play the organ... it's not all big hair and even bigger smiles... oh no, Barry can play, even if a lot of the songs walk the line between nostalgia and 80's cheese."
While I still don't know if he could really sustain a whole hours worth of show, parts of it were very funny.
"It was a trifle uneven overall... I think they had a great premise, but the execution felt a little haphazard, as though they either had too many ideas to fill up the time but didn't necessarily chose the best ones... or else they ran out of ideas just from one play and ended up throwing everything and the kitchen sink at it towards the end."
I'd really love it if they took this show away, stripped back some of the parts that didn't work, polished up what remains and brought it back... it definitely showed promise.
- Pirate Rhapsody, Mermaid Requiem
"As a singer, Bradson is quite good, although a lot of the theatrics get in the way of the performance at times I think... and as I said before, sometimes it's hard to tell what he's actually singing."
It's fortunate that I'm not ranking these on the way the artists reacted to their reviews.
- Nice Work If You Can Get It
"What I'd really expected was almost an hour of dance and acrobatics with a very combative feel... what I got was a show that wandered through most of the performing arts and felt a little soft around the edges."
These two guys were in the audience for Freefall... and I wanted to say to them afterwards... "see, THIS is how it's done"... there was promise there, but it just failed to deliver.
- World War Wonderful
"Sorry ladies, but World War Wonderful was anything but."
A complete and total disappointment.
So that's it! Farewell Fringe 2011... bring on the Cabaret Festival... and then Fringe 2012!