Monday, March 18, 2013
The Garden of Unearthly Delights is on it's way back to being a park... the acrobatic birds have all flown The Birdcage... the Tuxedo Cat is being evicted... the Fringe Caravan has been towed away... and Gluttony has gone for an antacid and a lie down.
The Adelaide Fringe 2013 is over.
To be honest, a little bit like previous years, I'm equal parts relieved, exhausted and more than a little sad. And I'm very much looking forward to having a week where I don't have to leave the house in the evenings.
One of the things I won't miss though is Other People At Fringe Time. By the last show on Saturday night I was officially over other people and their inability to follow established social contracts.
Other than that though, it was a pretty successful Fringe experience.
Twenty shows turned into nineteen due to a cancellation, but then turned back into twenty when we got to see a free show on my birthday. And I actually coped with twenty shows a lot better this year... maybe it had something to do with not packing the last week full, or the fact that the Fringe actually ran for an extra week, I'm not sure.
This year was, however, lacking in one or two of those truly outstanding stand-out moments... like The Boy James and Shadows of Angels last year, Macbeth from the year before, or Josh Earl from 2010. But I kind of knew that going in... while there were some things I was looking forward to, there wasn't that sense of high anticipation I've had previously.
Having said that though, while there aren't any major "stand-out" moments, the first six shows on the list are pretty much only separated by the barest of margins... and the six after that aren't that far behind.
"Joe Bone not only plays all the characters, switching voices, mannerisms, locations and accents with an almost schizophrenic ease, but he also provides all the sound effects, from cigarette lighters to heartbeats to explosions. And he's really, really, really good at all of it."
I think this partly rose to the top of the heap because it was so very different from anything else I saw. Plus the fact that Bone is so incredibly talented, not to mention funny.
And the fact that this was Part 1 of 3 is awesome... hopefully they'll bring the other two parts out in future Fringes.
- Dorothy Parker's Sweet Release of Death
"And Lucy Gransbury inhabits Parker brilliantly... from her dishevelled entrance to her sharp delivery of some excellent dialogue."
While I knew about Parker, this show definitely wetted my appetite to find out more about her.
- A Simple Space
"It's without doubt the most intimate of all the acrobatic shows I've had the pleasure and privilege to see."
Of all the circus/physical theatre shows we saw this year, this one was head and shoulders above everything else.
- Le Gateau Chocolat - I Heart Chocolat
"And trust me, if you've never heard a big Nigerian cross-dressing operatic baritone stand in front of you in a big ruffled gown and invite you, in song, to "suck on my chocolate salty balls" (from the South Park song of the same name), then you've never really lived!"
Even though we were all sweating our proverbials off, nobody more so than Le Gateau, this was a brilliant start to our Fringe experience.
"Let's get one thing out in the open, right from the start, Leo is brilliant!"
A brilliant, if relatively simple, concept done beautifully.
- Blind Date
"So thank you, Mysterious Bren, who I never saw, but who held my hand, listened to my stories, slow-danced with me and wrote me the most beautiful note... you were a brilliant Blind Date!"
The realisation about the planting of the seeds only makes my memory of this all the sweeter.
- La Soirée
"This time around the show felt more high energy somehow... either because a lot of the music choices were really fast paced or because I've forgotten what the vibe was like last year."
While the performers put on just as good as show as last year, unfortunately a number of small things unconnected to what was going on on the stage stopped this overall experience from being as good as last year.
- Dungeons and Improvisation Adventure Show
"What we did end up with was a half invisible shower monster called Captain Sparkle, an elephant called Lady Garden, a singer called Shaniqua-Neigh-Na, a hippogriff called Argyle, an eyeball, a harpsicord, a wizard's key, a dude called Sir Richard Longshaft III, a fairy queen/golem, the power of Freddy Mercury and a gnome called John Howard."
Improvised shows were something new for me this year, but it's a genre I will definitely see again after the fantastic time I had with Captain Sparkle and the gang.
- Sound and Fury's Dirty Fairy Tales
"Sound and Fury have beautiful comic timing, and work wonderfully on concert with each other (even if Patrick and Horse didn't realise until tonight that Richard is left handed), especially when they manage to flummox each other with a particular line."
Attractive, slightly bawdy gentlemen in Elizabethan costumes running amok on stage... Sound and Fury are definitely going on the list of acts to see again.
- Knock Off
"And what's not to love about a blonde and a brunette doing a Brokeback inspired acrobatic routine with their tongues firmly in their cheeks."
A decidedly fresh take on the circus genre, and one that I'm glad I finally got to see.
"Even the ones that you think you can sort of work out are still astonishing when you factor in how well Lightbody has to read an audience in order to make the majority of the tricks work. And that in itself is almost more impressive than the individual tricks."
A very charming and talented sleight of hand artist and psychological illusionist.
- Gandini's Medical Marvels
"From the very beginning Le Couteur and Roberts had me laughing out loud, and the show only got funnier as it went on. Not to mention some very impressive two person juggling, partial nudity, a stuffed horse, and a lot of very excellent timing."
Sometimes being in the right place at the right time is an excellent thing indeed... especially given that we would never have seen this otherwise.
- Confessions of a Grindr Addict
"It's the first time that I've had the thought after the show that I'd like to go for coffee or lunch or something with the performer, in this case Gavin Roach, and chat with him about the show and also about how much of it may or may not be strictly autobiographical."
A very pleasant, if somewhat low-key and casual end to my Fringe experience.
"Take a dash of Mr Bean, throw in a pinch of Ed Grimley, a handful of Jacques Tati, some juggling balls, a bowtie made of straws and a watermelon and you've arrived somewhere in the neighbourhood of Daniel Oldaker's Dandyman."
As I said in my review, this is a show that I wasn't sure about when it started, but one which had won me over by the end.
- The Breakfast Club
"Overall though, it was an enjoyable production. There were moments of humour and pathos coming both from the source material and the casts' interpretations, it's just a shame that they couldn't have perhaps pushed it a little further."
I still think that straying from the running order of the movie was a mistake, but there were some moments that helped to redeem this somewhat.
- Alice in the Madhouse
"The portions of the show which contain predominately the three male performers, Cal Harris, Rowan Thomas and Will Meager are the parts of the show that actually seems to have story, were genuinely funny, showed genuine character and actively engaged the audience."
Harris, Thomas and Meager are names I will be looking out for in future Fringes, guaranteed!
- Dead End
"But even before you enter the dead end alley to take one of the collection of mismatched and orphaned chairs you can see that there are cracks in this already unhinged and slightly dangerous world."
This was a little too unsettling to be truly enjoyable, but the concept was an interesting one and the performers definitely committed to it.
- Another Point Of View
"Don't get me wrong, it was circus/physical theatre performed really well, and it wasn't a bad show by any means but I've seen a number of shows in this genre that captured my attention more than this did."
I think that this is definitely the year that I worked out exactly what does and doesn't appeal to me in regards to circus and physical theatre... and sadly this just didn't sync up with my spheres of interest.
- 3 Tales of Woe
"The Raven was quite enjoyable and although the section of A Christmas Carol with Marley's Ghost isn't my favourite part of the book, the Ghost itself was well done... and there were some beautiful moments in Azathoth with swirling stars... but none of it was exceptional."
Definitely interesting... and something unusual... but it needs some serious polishing.
- Macbeth's Witches
"It was without a doubt, the worse Fringe show that I've ever seen... no, actually, it was the worst show I've ever seen, period. This show shouldn't have been called Macbeth's Witches, it should have been called Shakti Has Delusions of Grandeur For Forty Minutes."
WORST! SHOW! EVER!