fringe: my life as a gay bum

In My Life as a Gay Bum, Peter Baecker performing under the pseudonym (or possibly Grindr/hookup app handle) nick42berlin, failed on three different fronts when doing a show about gay sex... he didn't make it funny, titillating or interesting.

I'd thankfully read a few reviews beforehand, so I not only knew what I was getting into, but I'd also made sure to go and see a much better show earlier in the night. But it really says something about a Fringe show when there are only five people in the audience and two of them walk out within the first ten minutes.

The only reason I stuck around was that sense of morbid curiosity to see not only whether or not he could chase off the other two straight folks, but also how bad it was going to get and where the hell he was going with this absolute self-involved train wreck of a show.

I also think that part of the reason Baecker chose to set the show in a literal "dark room" was so that he didn't see the looks of panic, pity or quizzical contempt the audience undoubtedly have on their faces at various points.

The show was supposed to cover "the many strange, funny and weird moments" (strange I'll give you, the other two, not so much) Baecker experienced in "darkrooms, parks, toilets, cars and 100 more places" (and by 100, I'm guessing he means about two, people's houses and sex clubs... in fact cars and toilets really weren't mentioned, at least not that I remember), but what it felt like at a certain point was the three remaining audience members were gratifying Baecker's fetish for talking about his sex life in a public arena and being paid for it. It was like we were part of a very XXX rated version of the TV show My Crazy Obsession, where the obsession in question was talking about all the cock you've sucked. But doing it in a way that isn't going to arouse anyone or make them the least bit interested in your story.

I'm not even sure that this show would work playing to a totally gay audience... more than once I found myself thinking, "yes, and... what's your point, we've all been slutty at one point or another".

This show seems like it was totally devised to first and foremostly pump up Baecker's ego, but other than that to both frighten a straight audience and show them how "dirty" the gays are. I'm not sure why exactly he thought that was a good idea, but it seemed fairly evident, and somewhat telling, given that he spent much more time directing his stories to the presumably straight guy and girl (mostly the girl) on the other side of the room, than to me, the solo male.

Baecker's Austrian origins also works against him... between his occasionally repetitious or unimaginative English vocabulary (I hope he's much more descriptive in his native language) and his accent (I'm sorry, but the Austrian/German accents are amongst the least sexy in Europe, even if the German people specifically are among the kinkiest), it just felt like we were either part of his sex addiction therapy or victims of a bizarre hijacking.

Actually, it felt like exactly what it was... really, really bad performance art, delivered by an uninteresting and unskilled performer.

There was so much potential here, and in the hands of somebody who can actually give the material life, it could have been funny or at the very least interesting, or better yet, touching... Baecker doesn't manage any of those things beyond eliciting the occasional uncomfortable or pitying chuckle.

It also didn't help that he chose to perform in an essentially black room wearing all black clothing, so the only thing you could see were his calves, his face depending on whether he moved into the meagre light (which, if you're going to do a "dark room" cut the light by at least 75% and do it properly) and the microphone power light (why the hell he even needed a microphone I have no idea, the room is small, the audience is close, just speak unplugged, or spring for an headset mike). You're in a "dark room", perform shirtless or in your underwear or in just a towel, or heaven forbid, even perform naked (although in no way did Baecker look anything like the photo he used in the poster) provided you warn the audience beforehand.

And speaking of his microphone, the person I feel sorriest for is his poor sound tech, who presumably has had to sit through this car accident over and over again. Once is definitely more than enough.

It's not the worst Fringe show I've ever seen, but it's definitely close.

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fringe: fag/stag

adelaide fringe - fag/stag
Let's get this out in the open right away... Fag/Stag from The Last Great Hunt is a brilliant piece of theatre.

And it's one I nearly missed. It had been on one of my early lists, but got cut somewhere down the line. Thankfully at the eleventh hour (literally their last show), I decided to take a punt and go see it.

I'm so glad that I did.

Written and performed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler (on the right, above) as Jimmy, the fag half of the title, and Chris Isaacs (on the left) as Corgan, the stag half, Fag/Stag takes on the idea that there are two sides to every story but the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It's presented as two parallel and overlapping monologues, told by switching between Fowler and Isaacs as they sit on either side of the stage and talk directly to the audience. Side by side, but separated, which sums up the show as a whole really.

The setting is simple, just two stools, two tables, two phones, two drinks and two video game controllers... and two characters who are so intensely real.

Both performers are incredibly talented and handle the dialogue and character with consummate skill. I did gravitate more towards Fowler as Jimmy, partly because he's so damn cute and as a fellow fag I identified a little more with his experiences.

It's especially apparent how skilfully they handle the material in those moments where they ramp things up to a heightened state of emotion... but they're great at the myriad of tiny, subtle moments too. It's totally worth watching the face of the other performer when one of them is talking to see those almost throw away moments of character, there never feels like a moment when they're not fully present. One of the most affecting scenes was one where Fowler just slowly starts to raise one arm while telling his story, and the movement has such incredible power because of what it represents it had me leaning forward to ensure I didn't miss a single moment.

And those moments when they lock eyes with audience members, not long enough to be uncomfortable but enough to really allow us to connect with both character and performer and draw us even further into the story.

The writing is exceptionally sharp and funny and touching and just incredibly real. It covers so many touchstones about just being a guy, both good and bad. And about relationships between guys, but specifically about those singular relationships that gay men have with straight men and, at the end of the day, no matter how close we are, the fact that we all see the world through our own unique lens.

If I had any quibbles, it's a very minor one... I couldn't help feeling that the geographic references, which are uniquely Perth, may not resonate with audiences in other cities. I felt like there was additional weight to those locations that, as someone not familiar with the geography, I was missing out on. And maybe there's no getting around that... those locations may not have a parallel in other states.

However I think that was more about me wanting to wring every last possible ounce out of the exceptional experience that was Fag/Stag.

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fringe: sound and fury's lord of the thrones

adelaide fringe - sound and fury's lord of the thrones
This was my fifth time at one of Sound and Fury's shows... I've seen them do fairy tales, Shakespeare (twice) and Hitchcock... and this time they took on the entire fantasy genre with Lord of the Thrones (but mostly Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones to be honest).

As with the previous shows, knowing the material they're spoofing helps, but isn't essential.

And this time Richard, Patrick and Ryan had a little help... in the role of the hero, Frogurt Snark, they enlisted young Steve (I think) from the audience, to mime along with prerecorded dialogue and general not have any idea what was going on. As a ring-in he wasn't too bad... whether or not he was chosen for his general level of geekness I don't know... but he did seem to fit nicely into the role of a Hobbit.

They also weren't in the same location as previous years, they've swapped the little red tent at Gluttony for the cafe at Tandanya... an interesting swap, but perhaps not one that suited their particular on-stage, off-stage quick change style perfectly, especially with only one entrance/exit to and from the stage.

It also meant that the usual preshow banter felt different, and given that there were more people in the crowd than I think I've previously seen at one of their shows (I'm guessing the Thrones reference drew a lot more people than the previous shows would have, just because of the subject matter), it seemed more about making sure everybody had a seat.

But I digress.

The show itself lived up to the level of insanity that we've come to expect from Sound and Fury, and I genuinely walked out of the venue with a face that hurt from laughing too much.

Given that they show is newer and has a different well to draw from, it felt like there were more jokes from a wider pop culture theme than we've seen before... which isn't a criticism, one of my favourite jokes was a reference to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

They have in no way lost that improvisational feeling that often creeps in... I always assume there's a script that at a certain point just says "Patrick will make stuff up here" or "vamping by all here as required". And I love when it throws one of the others off, usually Richard.

We also got a musical number from Ryan this time around... he's performing a solo show, Beers About Songs this year as well as the Sound and Fury show (in fact they're all doing an additional show, Patrick has Half Hour Hamlet and Richard is running one of the Escape Rooms... although I'm not completely sure which one)... so part way through we got a lovely little dirty ditty where the audience got to sing along to the chorus, and we all got louder and more into it on every repetition.

I won't say it's my favourite of their shows (my heart will always belong to Hamlet and Juliet), but it's still a damn good time and I laughed myself silly.

Oh, and Patrick, those black tights aren't as tight/revealing as you seem to think they are... you can totally relax.

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fringe: half hour hamlet

adelaide fringe - half hour hamlet
Patrick Hercamp is one third of one of my favourite Fringe acts, Sound and Fury, and for the purposes of his first solo show, Half Hour Hamlet, is our guide through Shakespeare's Danish play.

But he's not Hamlet... no, that duty fell to young Conner from the audience, who Hercamp then directed much of the ensuing explanation/play to.

And there's a job for the audience too... Phrases to say when anybody dies, when poison is mentioned, when everybody is blissfully happy (this only happened twice I think) and when "your mother kisses your sister" (the general ewwww noise). They're good tricks for audience involvement, but at a certain point the audience kind of forgot what the sound bites were for different things.

I'm not completely sure either trick was needed to be honest, Hercamp is an energetic performer and his rapid fire delivery of a modern explanation/retelling of Shakespeare's story seems to work best without interruption... of course they do allow him to take a breath every now and again.

At only thirty minutes it's a tight show but never feels overly rushed, but rather is carried along by Hercamp's boundless enthusiasm and energy. The general insanity is perhaps not as high as when he's part of Sound and Fury, but then he is carrying the whole show, sans set or props or anything... not even a skull for Yorrick.

Whether you know Hamlet, love Hamlet or are largely ambivalent to Hamlet, Half Hour Hamlet is thirty minutes well spent.

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fringe: tolu

adelaide fringe: tolu
Remember when you were a kid and you would walk home from school on a lazy Summer afternoon... and you might have stopped to look at something weird hanging from a tree.

Then a couple of other kids who you kind of know show up, and you just spend the rest of the afternoon playing, making new friends and maybe falling in love a little for the first time.

Tolu exists in the sun dappled afternoon.

The three performers, Jesse Scott, Abbey Church and Lachie MacAulay, in school uniforms and backpacks are as open, playful and innocent as school kids, and swing, tumble, jump and play with the same sense of abandon.

Before I go any further, I will say that this wasn't the show I was expecting... mostly because of the image that accompanies this post. And any of the other photos that I can find from Tolu... firstly it looks like it was an all male act and they're clearly not wearing school uniforms. So maybe when they got the 3:30 session, they decided to rework the show to take best advantage of it. I don't know... but at first I was actually a little disappointed and I still wonder how that other show was different and what, if anything, I missed out on.

But in any event, I got drawn into their world.

It's the first show I've seen where the female performer (Church) has acted as the base for the majority of the acrobatic tricks. And she does fantastic work... balancing the boys as though they were made of nothing more than air. She's helped in part because Scott and MacAulay seem much more... lithe, delicate, I know there's a word for it, but nothing sounds right. The boys are strong, agile and talented to be sure, but there was just a delicateness and something of a softness there that made Church as the base make complete sense.

And I know that this was at least 90% me projecting my own personal subtext onto the show... but, at least in part because of the physical natures of the boys, I felt like while there were a couple of points where the show inferred a "young love"/jealousy idea with Scott as the jealous party... and to me it felt like the love story was between the two boys.

Yes, I know, in all manner of art we project what we know and what we want to see but there was just a real sense of sweetness and tenderness there that felt like young gay love. Not enough, you know, to scare the straight folks and as I said most likely all in my own head. But maybe the other version of the show, with the three guys had even more of that kind of vibe.

The tricks themselves were fairly standard circus fair... The aerial straps, hula hoops, trapeze, skipping and a lot of tumbling and acrobatics with a little magic thrown in for good measure. What really set this show in its own unique category was the sweetness and gentleness of the performers and the way that made them approach those tricks.

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photo saturday: shinobi ninja

urban ninja shinobi ninja headless ninja
Today has been pretty bottom-heavy with Fringe... In fact this whole week has been pretty damn heavy with Fringe, relatively speaking.

And as if a show each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday plus three shows today (not to mention two tomorrow) wasn't enough, I also took myself to the movies on Wednesday before a late Fringe show. I also bought the ticket for one of the shows tomorrow on Friday on my way home after reading lackluster reviews of the show I'm scheduled to see Sunday evening. I'll still see it, but I wanted to balance it out with something everybody was raving about.

Yeah, insane person.

I also don't think I've gotten to bed before midnight all week long... So that's meant the consumption of many caffeinated products this week.

Otherwise work is work, I still baffle myself with how much stuff I actually know sometimes... It shouldn't baffle me, I've been there essentially forever and this time around I've been doing a job that's right in the wheelhouse of my skills, but there's always that slight feeling of imposter syndrome I guess.

Mostly I just know stuff. Who knew.

There's not really much else to report... It's work, home, Fringe, stay up too late, rinse, repeat.

Oh, I discovered a store that sells almost nothing but Funko Pop Vinyls on my way home on Friday... took a detour, and bam! Resisted the urge to buy anything, but it was difficult.

As I said though, today was mostly about Fringe...

The other downside to being in and out all week and losing most of Friday night to other activities is that my place (which is still a little bit of a bombsite anyway) was essentially a hot mess. Or cold mess, depending.

I attempted minimal organisation of some of the easier bits first thing this morning, then got ready in time for Ma's arrival.

The new supermarket is still too new... In a lot of ways, it's kind of cross between the one at the North Adelaide Village and the one at Northpark where we used to shop... weird. Weird and new.

And this morning we crossed another name off the list of check out chicks to visit. No, just no. And if you need to wear that much eye-makeup that early in the morning then you have some problems.

Although the perky Asian boy at Bakers Delight is still very sweet.

After shopping we came back to my place, unpacked everything and then headed over to the Village so I could grab some Kransky sausages (and be served by the cutest little blonde princess boy who I will happily visit again) and generally poke around a bit.

I also finally got around to throwing the last of the wrapping newspaper and butchers paper out... Kaloo kalay!

Then we headed into the city, mostly to check out stuff at Crumpler and have a general wander.

The wandering was sufficiently wandery... Ma bought a new bag at Crumpler, and I would have bought the same bag in a different colour but they only had silver/grey and black. And my current bag is black, so no.

Thankfully the Internet had one in "claret" which will be on its way to me Monday.

Other than that it was mostly a couple of bits and pieces to make life slightly less complicated in the new place.

Then we headed back to my place, grabbed some lunch from the cute little place in the Village that has already become a go-to and came back here to eat it.

Ma had brought down some more net curtains, including the ones I had on the lounge windows at Childers Street, which cover the bedroom window perfectly so nobody can see in. Yay, actual light in the bedroom. She also brought an extra piece for the kitchen window so now it's much harder to see in from outside.

I also washed the two sinks-worth of dirty dishes I've been avoiding all week (yeah, I know, shut up).

And then it was time to head into the city for back-to-back-to-back Fringe shows (more on that later). We started in The Garden at 3:30 and finished up at Tandanya at 9:30.


I know I say this every year... but really the problem with the Fringe as far as I'm concerned is "other people"... But then that's generally the problem with everything.

We didn't really think through the dinner options properly though and ended up getting adequate but unremarkable yiros then following it up with the Frozen Custard of the Month at Burger Theory which was very nice.

After the last show we headed down North Terrace to take in the Fringe Illuminations...

fringe illuminations - roll upfringe illuminations - lovely ladies

fringe illuminations - night circusfringe illuminations - under the sea

Essentially it's the same idea that they did in 2008 and again in 2010, except that this time the designs animate... which is interesting... but perhaps the designs as a whole weren't as strong as they're relying on the animation rather than a fixed image to hold your attention.

It's also the last weekend that they'll be on, so the street was heaving with people.

And that was about it really... all in all a very big day.

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fringe: bicycle

adelaide fringe - bicycle
Bicycle is a one-woman play by star Danielle Baynes which takes place in the most unusual of locations, the basement tunnels at the Adina Apartment Hotel. Bicycle is high Victorian gothic, female empowerment (and disempowerment) and pedal power all rolled into one intriguing bundle.

And technically Bicycle is a two woman, one violin play...

Descending the stairs to the basement we were serenaded by Pip Dracakis standing at the bottom with her violin, enticing us with her music like the Pied Piper.

The titular bicycle sits covered in a sheet in the tiny space, topped with a bow.

Then Baynes sweeps in, and starts her monologue, bright eyed and bloomer clad as she works herself up to the moment of getting on the bicycle for the first time.

Baynes also does some great character switching, first to the enigmatic count with the familiar name, where her whole posture changes from female to male, along with her voice, then to her character's father.

And as her life begins to unravel, so does the bicycle.

Baynes makes good use of the small space available, as well as the bicycle itself. Lighting designer Matt Ralph also uses the small space well, flooding it with light when needed and dropping back to single colours at just the right moment.

All in all, it's a finely crafted little play, with enough meat on it's bones to satisfy, and a twist in the tale to keep it interesting.

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fringe: adam richard - splitsecondism

adelaide fringe - splitsecondism
I feel like I should thank Adam Richard for really opening the door to the Fringe for me... back in 2009, on a whim, I bought a ticket for his Driven show, had a fantastic time and the following year dived into the Fringe headfirst, which has led to my current 24 shows in 32 days experience in this year's Fringe.

I've seen him twice since, in 2011 as part of the live version of Talking Poofy and then two years ago in his Gaypocalypse show.

And I feel like his new show (as in brand new, still has that "new comedy smell" and a wet paint sign, new), Splitsecondism, is closest in tone to the Driven show. It's also fairly obvious that I'm an Adam Richard fan.

This is possibly also why I was the one person in the front row, and was thus able to, as Adam pointed out, "manspread" all over the place (the downside of sitting in the front row I guess)... not to mention laugh my big gay ass off.

Like I said, this show is still very new... so I think we segued off the prepared script more than was intended, but the detours weren't problematic in any way, and we wouldn't have even known we were off the beaten track had Adam not pointed it out.

The first half of the show there's an analogy to Facebook, which works but fizzles out in the latter half (it worked within the context of the material, Richard just seemed to give up on it at a certain point which is fine), some "true facts" that the audience gets to choose the order of, and the "controversial" part of the show... which, compared to Richard's Gaypocalypse show, barely caused a ripple.

As with all the previous shows, and any of the podcasts I've heard him on, it's when he gets to the storytelling that it really takes off. And also where I laughed the hardest.

The only real downside to this being the place where Richard tries out the material before taking it on the road is I don't remember him bringing the shows back to Adelaide when they've been around the block and are in the best shape of their lives (is that a mixed metaphor?).

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movies: deadpool

deadpool - bad ass, smart ass, great ass
Deadpool is not your Momma's X-Men... if your Momma even has X-Men. I don't know your Momma.

This is mostly because the movie is rated MA15+. So there's blood splatter, flying heads, brain matter, some severe buttkicking... there's not quite enough Ryan Reynolds' butt, however there is some digital Deadpool wang... Or prosthetic wang. One of those.

But it doesn't feel gratuitous... not the wang specifically, but any of it... it's violent, sure, but it doesn't feel excessive, or it doesn't feel like it's lingering or glorifying the violence.

I knew a bit about Deadpool going in... Merc with the mouth, breaks the fourth wall, is sexually complicated, is one big scar, etc. And they cover most of that, although the sexually complicated is toned all the way back for a main love story with Firefly alumni Morena Baccarin (yes, yes, she's been in many, many things since, but that's still where I know her from).

But we'll just ignore the clusterfuck that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine where they totally butchered the character of Deadpool (the movie doesn't ignore it though... there are at least two major references to the previous incarnation), also brought to life by Reynolds.

To be honest I really don't know that there is anybody else who could do the character justice... Reynolds whole public persona seems to mesh so perfectly with the "superhero" who never stops cracking wise.

And the movie oozes that irreverent sensibility and sense of humour right from the first moment the credits come up stating that the director is An Overpaid Tool, the writers are The Real Heroes Here and Reynolds is God's Perfect Idiot. There's also references to A Hot Chick and A Moody Teen amongst others.

It also starts with the "test footage" that leaked online a while back and made the Internet foam at the mouth. It was a smart choice to arrange the film that way even though that part of the story should come about halfway through the movie. The sequence itself is a big fat action scene, and although I think it's in a slightly different form from the original, it's still really strong... but a lot of people have already seen that footage and putting it right at the top of the movie still allows you to use it but gets it out of the way quickly.

I didn't realise going in the this was a Fox movie, and since Fox also owns the X-Men they made multiple references to Xavier's school and even bring in second string X-Man Colossus and a character who I think they picked based on the name alone, Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

Brianna Hildebrand who plays Negasonic has the whole surly teen thing down, while Colossus is pretty much all CGI (I couldn't work out if it was a motion capture thing where someone was on set and they turned him into metal later, but I can only see a voice and a facial performance credit in the cast. Stefan Kapicic does a good job with the voice, although he makes Colossus very stereotypically Russian as opposed to previous versions.

The movie is also pretty damn funny... and all of it coming from Reynolds (and the script writer obviously)... if it's not breaking the fourth wall, it's making some sort of reference to the 80's or 90's... the best of which is the post credit sequence. I'm not going to say any more... but it's pretty much perfect.

It also manages to be an origin story without feeling overly bogged down in that formula... possibly because there's a lot of flashbacks rather than a straight linear story, so it doesn't feel like it's just an origin story, even though it is.

The villain, played by Ed Skrein, is pretty standard for an origin villain... he's essentially done Deadpool wrong and has to pay for it. But Skrein does a good line in creepily menacing, so it works better than it may have done with another actor.

But I have to say that overall the movie pretty much lived up to the hype.

yani's rating: 4 chimichangas out of 5

fringe: scotch and soda

adelaide fringe: scotch and soda
Imagine if The Lost Boys (and Girls) ran away from Neverland to join the circus, grew up, went a little crazy and met some jazz musicians and possibly survived an apocalypse.

And now you're about halfway to having an idea of the level of wonderful craziness in Company 2's Scotch and Soda.

Even before the shows starts various characters were wandering around the tent, so the strangeness vibe was already in the air.

Then one of the down and dirtiest, quirkiest, most Lord of the Flies and yet well put together circus acts I've seen started in earnest.

And with The Uncanny Carnival Band playing live jazz to serenade the circus performers, it all melds together as one fantastic melting pot...

What I appreciated most was the whole show, but most specifically the circus portions, is wonderfully polished but at the same time it's not meant to look pretty... it's raw and a little bit janky, but it's executed with such precise skill. And it does take a lot of skill to make something so controlled look out of control.

I especially like it during any of the numbers featuring the two women, often times the performers are more interesting in posing and looking pretty... not these two... it's all about the power and the skill here. From trapeze to bottle walking, aerial straps to foot juggling, everything they did was impressive.

And the three guys... they were just as good in everything they did. I want to say "especially" and then rattle off something one of the guys did, but I realise that I have an "especially" for all three of them. The crazy Scott with his kilt and his merkin and his absolutely amazing silks/ribbon routine... the little guy and that box stacking routine... and the guy who served as the base for most of the acrobatic tricks and that bike riding routine. Fantastic.

I also liked that while I'd seen some of the routines done in other shows, they put their own definite spin on them and made them unique... and there were also some tricks that I've never seen before. Specifically the bike routine.

What I loved was how everyone made all of the routines look effortless... they may not always have been pretty, but they were always wonderful to watch.

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fringe: total nonstop tricks

adelaide fringe: total nonstop tricks (sparkle, skinny, shoulders and shorts)
I once described a circus troupe in a previous Fringe as cookie dough... they hadn't yet become what they ultimately would be, but with a little time and love, they would definitely get there.

Using the same analogy, and in the best possible way, Total Nonstop Tricks can most accurately be described as "ingredients". They're not quite at the cookie dough stage yet, let alone cookies, but all of the required elements are there, the recipe is solid, they just haven't gotten to where they need to be.

I can see where their influences come from. From the start of the act, to the costumes (I'm guessing they normally wear the t-shirts above, but given the weather they all performed sans shirt), to the overall feel of the show, it's clear that Gravity and other Myths is a major influence, but I feel like these boys (along with a number of other young circus acts I've seen) could do with either serving an apprenticeship with GAOM or being mentored by them. Whatever GAOM did turned them from a good act to a great act, and hopefully it's information that could be given to the next acts coming down the line.

I've seen a lot of circus/physical theatre acts and this is the first one where it hasn't felt completely in control at certain points. And it's also the first time where the base for the balancing tricks has very clearly shown the effort that it takes to do a number of them.

Now, I can't seem to find the names of the four boys, so I'm going to refer to them by the nicknames that came to me as I was watching the show... Shorts, Skinny, Shoulders and Sparkle. The reasons for some of them will become apparent as I go.

After the opening act which was where the influence of GAOM was probably the strongest, with all four boys performing and Shorts and Shoulders throwing Skinny around like he was an acrobatic crash test dummy. It also felt like at any point Skinny might get slammed headfirst (or buttfirst) into the floor. Not in a deliberate way, as I mentioned earlier it was more that it was just on the edge of being out of control. That carried over until one of the boys (either Shorts or Shoulders, I can't remember now) accidentally slammed into the DJ mixing table near the corner of the stage.

Then the show broke up into individual sections for each of the boys.

First Shorts performed a juggling act which included some tricks, or variations on tricks, I haven't seen before... but at the same time it felt like only one in four of the tricks really same off without a hitch. Sometimes with physical theatre/circus shows I wonder if the performers occasionally flub a trick on purpose to build up audience reaction when they actually make it... but I'm pretty sure this wasn't one of those situations.

Next was Skinny (who, if he's older than about 14, I'll eat my ticket stub) with a really beautiful routine on the handstand canes... it helped that he seems so incredibly light and delicate, so there was quite an ethereal quality to his routine. I would love to be able to fast forward say five years and see what his routine would look like then once he's completely grown into his body.

Now, according to something they said at the end of the show, there was supposed to be a fifth cast member, a girl, who was missing (actually she was sitting in the front row of the audience, right near me... and apologies, I did cut her out of the image at the top of the post since she wasn't part of the show I saw). I'm not completely sure where she would have fitted into the show to be honest, although I feel like she may have been half of the tumbling/acrobatic routine that Shoulders did next.

This did feel like it was missing something, and Shoulders, as I mentioned before, isn't great at hiding the effort that it took to do the tricks. It's possible he may be slightly injured or just sore, he did have a strapped shoulder and a brace on his ankle. But even so...

And no disrespect to the missing girl, but I was kind of disappointed that the show wasn't just the four boys... it would be a definite point of difference between them and most of the other mixed acts, and I can't actually think of another physical theatre show, especially a local one, that has four young guys like this one. True, it's partly also because I do enjoy the energy of all-male circus, but still.

Last up in the solo round was Sparkle... Sparkle got that nickname mostly because he really has the most personality of the four... and he did a quirky little mobile phone sound inspired hip hop dance number. Having watched a lot of hip hop on So You Think You Can Dance, I can't say it was the best routine I've ever seen, but it was fun, and there were a couple of amazing bits, like his arm isolations where his shoulders and biceps seem to move in ways I didn't realise were possible. And the idea to use phone sounds was definitely unique.

The little sequence with him and, I think, Shorts (or Shoulders... to be honest, all my attention was on Sparkle, and they were all dressed pretty much the same) at the end of his number would be amazing fleshed out into an entire routine, possibly involving the three other boys (but ending in the same way).

This is definitely an act I would go and see again, if only to watch them grow and develop into the, to use my earlier analogy, cookies I think they'll eventually become. And I do think they'll be good cookies, they're just not quite there yet.

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fringe: the bunker trilogy

adelaide fringe: the bunker trilogy
Last time Jethro Compton and the crew brought The Bunker Trilogy to Adelaide for the Fringe, we were supposed to see all three parts on the same night. Unfortunately that didn't happen and we saw Morgana and Agememnon together and then Macbeth a couple of weeks later.

This time around I managed to see all three parts on the same day, one after the other. A lot of what I said last time definitely holds true this time around, and while I'll try to limit the amount of comparisons I make between the two versions, they are somewhat inevitable.

The titular bunker has been placed inside Noel Lothian Hall in the Botanical Gardens, and unlike last time, the audience never sees the bunker from the outside, entering through one of the doors to the hall and being transported straight into the dirt, wood, sandbags and inherent claustrophobia of the enclosed First World War themed space. The action for all three plays takes place within the space, with the audience seated around the outside of the room and the actors filling the space in the middle.

Actors Hayden Wood, Sam Donnelly and Bebe Sanders all return, joined this time by Jonathan Mathews.

As with the previous version, one of the things that was still so amazing to me given seeing the three parts back to back to back in the same space with the same actors is the way all four actors switch characters so completely from one play to the next. Possibly Sanders is the least changed, but even she changes accent and personality in each role.

It also appears that Compton and writer Jamie Wilkes made a few changes to the scripts (at the very least just to Macbeth, or at least that's the change that I noticed).

I will say before I jump onto the individual plays that, minor differences aside, it all holds up just as well this time as it did last time. The acting, staging and the experience that is The Bunker Trilogy is one that's well worth seeing.

adelaide fringe: the bunker trilogy - morgana
The Bunker Trilogy - Morgana

Morgana is a take on the Arthurian legend, with Wood as a suitably kingly and dignified Arthur, Donnelly as a rakish if slightly bullying Lancelot, Mathews as the naive and loquacious Gawain and Sanders as a sweet Guinevere. It's also a story of three young men who have known each other since they were children and who are now in the middle of a war the likes of which Europe hadn't seen for a hundred years. And Wilkes finds all the places that those two stories intersect, but I do feel that this is more about the World War I story than the legend. Which isn't a criticism, I think it's works exceptionally well that way.

In a lot of ways it's the lightest in tone of the three, starting with audio of Christmas carols being piped into the bunker (which to me doesn't work as well as having the characters being in the space singing like they were in the previous version), although it does darken in tone towards the end.

As I said about the previous version, Sanders has less to do in this play than in the other two, but that's mostly because this really is the story of the relationship between Wood, Donnelly and Mathews, in a lot of ways the characters that Sanders plays are merely accessories to that relationship. And you believe the relationship right from the word go, the three men have an easy chemistry that makes their interactions, both good and bad, completely believable.

adelaide fringe: the bunker trilogy - agamemnon
The Bunker Trilogy - Agamemnon

For Agamemnon, both Mathews and Sanders command all attention... Mathews as the titular Agamemnon and Sanders as his unnamed wife, Clytemnestra. In fact one of the most interesting things that I noticed about this play is that nobody is referred to by name (I guess due to it being too strange to have English characters called Agamemnon and Clytemnestra to be honest), and I don't think I noticed it the first time.

While this is very much Mathews and Sanders' times to shine, both Donnelly and Wood do excellent work here as well, Wood as meek and bumbling Aegisthus and Donnelly as an unnamed (but Scottish) battlefield soldier who takes care of the wounded Agamemnon. As I mentioned earlier, all of their transformations between this play and Morgana are the most extreme I think, especially Wood and Donnelly.

To me though, it's Mathews who really dominates this whole piece, flicking between the clear agony of a fatally wounded Agamemnon on the battlefield to the man that wooed Clytemnestra in the flashbacks which make up the other half of the play. Likewise Sanders does her best work here, especially in the latter part of the play where she comes to hate her absent husband.

The moving between past and present, which is a technique used in all three plays, is best used here I think, or at least due to both the lighting design and the use of the space, they're the most clearly defined sections between "then" and "now". Once again, the beginning of the play has been changed, without the characters already being in place when it starts, which I think is a loss to both this and Morgana.

It's the ending that puzzles me most of all though... I'm still not sure which of the two endings is actually the true one... or if they both somehow are.

adelaide fringe: the bunker trilogy - macbeth
The Bunker Trilogy - Macbeth

My obsession with Macbeth is well documented, and I still believe that the way that Compton and Wilkes have streamlined Shakespeare's original story down to the pure elements of the relationship of Lord and Lady Macbeth and Banquo is one that the Bard himself would have heartily approved.

Unlike the other two plays, this one features the original Shakespeare prose as opposed to more naturalistic speech, but the way it's been pared down is incredibly elegant.

This is also the only one of the three plays to keep the opening from the previous version where the three male actors are in the space as the audience enters, wearing gas marks and just being the creepiest thing ever without them having to do a great deal.

The masks are used well through the whole show in fact, both to signify the minor characters (and to not confuse the audience when an actor is playing three or four different roles), but most powerfully to signify the other-worldly characters... both the witches and the spirit of Banquo... as these shambling, twisted, zombie-like creatures. Removing the faces of the witches and making them almost empty vessels filled by evil spirits works incredibly well... and using the gas masks, which themselves signify a menace that itself can't be seen but can be felt (poison gas) is incredibly smart.

I feel like of the three, Macbeth is the one that has perhaps had the most changes, the best of which is the ending, which I mentioned last time as coming a little too soon and cutting out the battle between Macbeth and Macduff completely. Now there's an actual resolution instead of the instant cut to black, and it's definitely a change for the better.

Donnelly is brilliant again as Macbeth, there's something about him in general that is both magnetic and commanding, part of which he brings to Lancelot, but which he completely hides as the unnamed soldier... but as Macbeth he's as crazed and bloodthirsty as you'd want your Thane of Cawdor to be.

I feel like I've been somewhat harsh on Sanders overall, and while she does good work as the Lady to Donnelly's Lord, she just seems a little less passionate than her fellow actors... it's a shame, she does so well in Agamemnon, and I would have thought the fire she had there would have translated well to Lady Macbeth, but it just felt a little flat in spots.

Wood once again gives a strong performance as Banquo, and as I said last time, that friendly, open quality he brought to Arthur and Aegisthus makes him an ideal Banquo (there's also something about the relative height difference between Donnelly and Wood that manages to say a lot about Macbeth's ambition without it ever needing to be said aloud).

And Mathews is relatively absent from a major role this time around... he does play a lot of the incidental characters as well as Macduff right at the end, but seeing the plays in this particular order it seems like he'd be happy to take a slightly back seat after putting everything into Agamemnon.

All in all though, it's a fantastic adaptation of the Scottish play.

Current Mood:

photo saturday: white sand blue sea

beach manshapesand duo

red cap, blue shorts, beardwhite shape, rust shape
This week has been... calmer. Relatively speaking anyway.

I spent the whole week (up until Friday) without any internet at home still, which was starting to drive me a little bit around the twist I have to say. And then first thing on Friday morning I realised I'd had internet since the previous evening (while I was actually at a Fringe show... although they'd only emailed me and hadn't bothered to SMS me like they were supposed to until halfway through Friday).

I also missed the bus on Friday that gets me to work at the perfect time. These two things are not mutually exclusive. But it's nice to be connected to the world again.

Last Sunday I unpacked the last of the moving boxes... granted there's still five boxes of artwork that I don't know what the hell to do with.

I looked at the stuff that had been in the bedroom drawers at the old place and thought that I may be able to get it all into one of the new drawers... clearly I underestimated the amount of crap there was, as it ended up filling both empty bottom drawers. One isn't crammed full, but at least all that stuff is away.

I also wandered over to the Village in the afternoon much as I would previously have wandered over to the 24 hour bakery in North Adelaide... only to discover that Burnside Village is in no way North Adelaide and the bakery is not going to have a full range of choices at 3pm. Partly my fault for leaving it so late and also for not realising that not all bakeries are open 24 hours. Or perhaps hoping that they may be better than they actually are. And I miss the cheese kransky sausage rolls from the North Adelaide bakery.

My main problem at the moment is that the things that haven't been put away yet don't have a proper place to put them. Especially all my tchotchkes... because I've lost certain spaces or I'm using them in different ways, and I haven't unpacked any artwork yet. So I'm undecided about what the hell to put in certain spots. I feel like this is going to be my main issue for the foreseeable future... at least until I get stuff sorted. But it's a mostly minor issue overall.

I also used my new kitchen trolley for the first time to put all the components together for my salad for lunch during the week, it works pretty well, especially as I have it right under the light in the kitchen end of the room.

This week was alternating Fringe shows (two on Tuesday and one on Thursday) with pottering around the house some more, including finally packing my recycling bin full to the brim with the discarded newspaper we used to wrap everything up. And there's still a small box left over.

I called the moving company during the week to arrange to get them to come and get their boxes and scheduled the pickup for this morning. Turned out of that one of the guys who moved me was the one who came to get the boxes... and interestingly he came in a moving van not one of the small vans like the guy who dropped off the boxes. But at least now my house doesn't have empty moving boxes shoved in every available bit of space.

My afternoon walks home aren't getting any more interesting, although I keep switching up the early part, trying to find either the best route from a shade point of view, or just the most interesting or perhaps least boring.

The search continues.

Work has generally been okay... and it's been nice to actually be able to concentrate on something properly instead of being stuck in my own head and an ever increasing sense of doom.

Today was... well, pretty average all things considered.

I got up and pottered around first thing, then got ready and pottered around some more until Ma arrived.

The fact that everything is in a different place in the new supermarket is still an issue... okay, not really an issue and not really a problem... but it's a thing. It's definitely a thing. More of an issue is the lack, thus far, of decent check out folks... we went with "pretty but dopey" boy this week... and yes he could somewhat pack a bag, but combine him being a somewhat quiet talker with a deep voice for a guy under (I'm guessing) 20, with Ma's inability to hear things half the time (seriously, we need to get her a damn hearing aid, for my sanity if nothing else), and he was essentially having a conversation with himself at certain points.

More interesting is the guy who works at Bakers Delight, who remembered us from last week and the fact that we were going to Fringe shows last weekend... but he is horrendously perky for 8am and seems genuinely interested in people, so I clearly don't understand him in the slightest.

We came back here, I pottered around and put the groceries away, then finally took the excessively long (they're more than double the length they need to be) curtains down from the kitchen window and replaced them with some net curtain I had up in the old house for the time being. I think what I might do is get the friendly dry cleaners across the way to just cut the curtains off at the right level and hem them up nicely. And if the land agent wants me to replace the curtains when I leave, so be it.

The other option of course is to find a pair of relatively inexpensive curtains myself, have them cut down and just store the ones that came with the apartment in the linen press. It's an either/or kind of thing.

Then I wanted to show Ma the rental ad for one of the other apartments in my old building. It's the one they've been working on since about November, but not with any great speed from what I could see.

And it looks nice, but it's also a two bedroom apartment and they're asking at more than I really would want to pay, plus, I just finished unpacking everything.

However I did end up scrolling through the properties for sale on the real estate website. And guess what I found...

a professionally staged version of the apartment i used to live in
Yep... That's what my old apartment looks like when they get one of those "stylist" to come in with their basic, monochrome furniture and artistically placed vases and tchotchkes.

It's also very interesting when you compare it to the photos I took... not least of all because a) they've painted the place white which makes it appear 50% brighter and b) they have all the lights on (I'm guessing with perhaps the highest wattage of bulbs they could find), and I think there's some additional lighting/camera flash.

But what intrigues me is what they DIDN'T do. They were supposed to be putting new window dressings in... I remember because not only did they come and measure when I wasn't there, but I also had to wait around for a dude from the blinds company so he could measure the toilet window. Clearly that must have turned out too expensive, so what they did instead was pull down the kitchen curtains and the bedroom curtains. They also didn't even bother to update the knobs on the kitchen cabinets, which would have made a hell of a difference to the way the kitchen looks.

I also think that the way they've shot the bedroom makes it look SO tiny. Even though that appears to be one of those small "stunt beds" like they have in Target and stuff that are really just big cardboard boxes that you put bedding on.

I do have to say that looking at the bedroom image though, I now somewhat regret not arranging my bedroom that way. Granted I think I would have essentially been blinded by the morning sun every day through Summer, but it could have worked.

And I think possibly the most interesting thing is that I don't really feel anything looking at those photos. It's very clear that the place in the photos is a million miles away from when I lived there. It doesn't make me sad, it just amuses me at how incredibly fake it looks (and how stupid the arrangement/choice of the kitchen table is in that space).

Of course if anybody wanted to buy me a really, really, really expensive birthday present and some money to tear the carpets/lino up and replace it with something sensible, put in a new air-con and replace the kitchen benches and cupboards... I wouldn't overly object.

Eventually we headed out to the city (just as the guy from the moving company showed up, so we left him to counting boxes and went on our way), as it's been a while.

Mostly we were just heading out to the Flinders Street Market, since they have "Fringe Markets" on. To be honest I have no idea what the difference is between Fringe Markets and their regular markets... it all looked pretty damn the same to me.

However I did find a couple of nice things... firstly the sunglasses, from a company called Colour Raven... and the frames are made of bamboo which is what attracted me in the first place. The lenses are pretty damn cool and make everything brighter and yellower, which is great until you take them off and everything seems dull and blue... but they also came in the cool bamboo tube at the back of the photo, with a cloth to clean them and a pouch.

I also poked around the bric-a-brac stall at the back and found the tarnished old Art Deco style teapot. Is it deco? Probably not, although it could be... but it only cost me $5, so even if it doesn't completely clean up and it's a total fake or as common as sand in the desert, it's still pretty.

Then we left the car where we'd parked it and wandered down to the Mall just for a general wander. Part of that included a look around Kmart where I bought the blue reusable icecubes... how well they're going to work I have no idea, but at least they won't water down my drinks. I also might have bought a toaster if they'd had any red ones.

And last but not least, I wanted to poke around Zing, for no real reason, mostly because I like seeing what they have... and found that they had the Disney Princess and Buddies blindbox toys from Funko... so after shaking a couple of boxes to see if I could determine anything at all (short version, no), I picked one that turned out to be Princess Jasmin, in her thematically appropriate blue outfit.

After we grabbed a bite to eat we headed back here, Ma headed home and I did a few bits and pieces before heading off to see the whole Bunker Trilogy in a single night (more on that later)... I also nearly showed up half a hour late AGAIN, but fortunately saw a tweet about it that reminded me it started at 4 instead of 4:30 like I had in my head for some reason.

So I've now gone through my phone and put a reminder in for the rest of the shows an hour before they start.

In the break between the first and second shows I headed down Rundle Street to get Burger Theory for dinner before heading back. It was also nice that Herschel from work and her boyfriend were also seeing all three plays, so I got to hang out and talk to them while we were waiting, which is generally nicer than just being on your own.

Not really a bad day all things considered.

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fringe: three birds one cock

adelaide fringe: three birds one cock
"Three of Alfred Hitchcock's iconic blondes come together to take revenge on their master puppeteer."

I've always been a big fan of director Alfred Hitchcock, so Three Birds One Cock was a no-brainer. Except that the blurb above doesn't exactly match up with the show I saw.

It wasn't so much "taking revenge" as it was three women being manipulated by forces (presumably Hitchcock, although that was limited to a brief audio clip at the beginning, and his famous silhouette along with another clip at the end) outside of their control.

They loop pieces of dialogue, they shudder and shake, they're possessed with lines of dialogue from Hitchcock moves outside of the three the characters come from. And they don't escape the fates predestined for them from their respective stories.

I really thought that I knew Hitchcock's movies, and while I did get the majority of the references, there were more than a few that I had no idea what movies they came from (or even if they were from specific movies at all... I feel like there was a sequence that came straight out of a 1950's guide to being a good wife).

From left to right in the image above, Anna Rodway is Melanie Daniels from The Birds, Candace Miles is Madeline Elster/Judy Barton from Vertigo and Madelaine Nunn is Marion Crane from Psycho... and these heroines/victims from three of Hitchcock's most famous movies are plucked from their respective stories and find themselves trapped in an all white hotel room with a dead body.

Each woman has an opportunity to play out her character's story, albeit the abridged version or just a single sequence, and each came across in a slightly different style... personally I think that Rodway's piece was the strongest, being Daniels' final scene in the movie... although Miles and Nunn both do great work in their respective scenes. Miles captures the dreaminess of Elster/Barton and Nunn gives us the matter-of-factness of Crane's journey to the Bates Motel.

The scenes where the three woman are interacting can best be described as "scenery chewing"... not in a bad way, but they do ramp up both the comedy and the crazy to about 11 in those scenes, Nunn and Miles especially. In fact I have a hard time picking a favourite of the three as they're all so good in different ways at various points in the show.

The point where I felt the wheels kind of fell off was when the women stripped down to their 1950's style underwear and did a music number which weird and a little out of place next to the rest of the show. They also slather fake blood on themselves at one point, so be careful if you happen to sit in the front row, I happened to get caught in the cast-off, only a single drop, but still.

While the lighting design is generally excellent, taking inspiration from the famous "green light" scene in Vertigo at certain points, there were also times where it felt like a couple of the cues were slightly delayed, or in the case of Rodway's monologue, seemed entirely too dark at first (it makes sense as the scene progresses, but starting so we could actually see Rodway and turning the lights down slowly as the scene progresses would make more sense). And there was an issue with one of the prop guns falling apart that caused all three performers to break character slightly with laughter at one point (granted the gun started out broken, so it's not really surprising that it fell apart completely).

The costume and set designs, while clearly not lavish, were fantastic, the sparse white hotel room was made up of weird, tilted angles and a few pieces of 1950's style furniture, and both Miles and Rodway were instantly recognisable as their characters (also some nice work on the reproduction of the famous Vertigo/Carlotta pendant). Nunn wasn't, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I've seen Psycho far less often than the other two movies... plus it being shot in black and white and Crane's most famous scene being naked rather than in a specific outfit (a quick Google search proved that her outfit is just as accurate as the other two).

It's an enjoyable show for Hitchcock fans, I just wish it had ended differently.

Current Mood:

fringe: bruce

adelaide fringe - bruce
Who knew that there could be so much personality in a single beat-up piece of yellow sponge and a couple of eyeballs.

Actually it's probably more accurate to say who knew that there could be so many different and interesting personalities crammed into a single sponge.

But Bruce is just brimming over with personality, and not just Bruce but Debbie and One Eyed Joe and The Old Man and all the other characters brought to life by Tim Watts and Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd.

Bruce is an astronaut, a junkie, a writer, a father and a policeman and Watts and Nixon-Lloyd bring him and the other crazy inhabitants of his world brilliantly to life with little more than white gloves, great lighting, the brilliant physicality of the two performers and the range of voices they give to the characters... along with some excellent music selections.

I wasn't completely sure where the story was going at the beginning. It starts with a couple of scenes pulled out of order, and I did wonder at first if they were going for a whole Memento/backwards storytelling thing (which could have been interesting in a whole different way), but then it kicked into gear and it all ties together brilliantly by the end of the show and was even better than I was expecting.

And it has a little of everything... comedy, action, romance, drama, science fiction and even a musical number, all while being thoroughly entertaining and engaging.

Current Mood:

fringe: the bookbinder

adelaide fringe: the bookbinder
The Bookbinder is sweet and dark and perfectly formed.

Written and performed by Ralph McCubbin Howell and directed by Hannah Smith (who together make up Trick of the Light), it's the tale of a young man who goes off to seek his fortune, accidentally becomes a bookbinder and encounters a dark book which changes his life.

Howell is brilliant as the storyteller, right from the very beginning when he's alseep on stage as the audience enter, through to the various accents he puts on for the characters and his physicality as he creates an entire world in front of the audience with nothing more than a couple of lamps, a pop-up book, the odd puppet or two and the tools of the bookbinding trade.

The large pop-up book itself is brilliantly constructed by Smith, especially when I realised that the text of the story being told on stage is actually printed on the pages underneath the illustrations. It's something you probably don't notice unless you're close enough to the stage, but it's a lovely detail.

Likewise the music by Tane Upjohn Beatson is beautiful (and weirdly reminded me of the theme music from The Doctor Blake Mysteries), never overpowering but perfect for the story.

There isn't really a lot else to say without ruining the story... except to say that if you love stories... or books... or stories about books, then it's a show that you should go and see.

Current Mood:

fringe: a night at the musicals

adelaide fringe: a night at the musicals
My favourite chocolate diva, Le Gateau Chocolat is back this year with not one but two shows, A Night At The Musicals and Duckie, and for the former he's brought along fellow UK drag artiste Jonny Woo.

And together they bring songs from the musical genre to the sacrificial alter and perform what can only be called a "drag-ectomy", injecting wonderful camp and drag sensibility into songs that you probably didn't even know you knew all the words to (seriously, I sang along to more of the songs than I expected to, and knew the words to almost everything bar the Les Mis stuff).

Nothing is safe, from Les Miserables to Beauty and the Beast, Chess to Grease, Cabaret to Frozen. And while I was never that big a fan of Frozen and am kind of over the signature song, my new favourite way to listen to Let It Go is to have an operatic Nigerian drag queen perform it with the aid of sequins, a fan and some silly string.

Le Gateau and Woo have great chemistry together and I'm guessing they've known each other for a while, or if not, they make you feel like they do. And they also clearly come from the same school of drag. This isn't high drag, this isn't a perfect female illusion, this is the kind of drag that Le Gateau (and I'm guessing Woo) specialise in... genderfuck drag. Lots of bathing suits, sequins, quick changes, beards and chest hair, outfits doing double duty and a lot of wigs.

I also love that they didn't try to disguise the fact that the links between the songs sections were, as they put it, tenuous. But they were also often hilarious, especially when you realised how tenuous some of the links really are (from apples to Grease anyone?). Actually I think this is perhaps Le Gateau's most high comedy show since the eponymous show I saw back in 2011. But again I think that's partly because of the energy between him and Woo.

As always Le Gateau's voice really is outstanding... and yes, I will admit, even after four encounters, that mellifluous voice still has the ability to send a shiver right down my spine when Chocolat gets way, way, way down deep. Woo does hold his own though, and they harmonise beautifully.

And Woo's fairly insane lipsync to the aforementioned Les Mis is a thing to see... not a pretty thing in the slightest, but one hell of an experience.

I was a little disappointed by the fact that the front of house staff announced there was to be no photography during the show. Recording I completely understand, and no flash photography likewise (we don't want to startle the artistes or annoy other patrons), but I do enjoy taking a couple of sneaky pics of Le Gateau during his performances.

But that wasn't anywhere near enough to dull what was a fantastic Chocolat/Woo extravaganza.

Oh and when you go along, make sure you suggest Rocky Horror during the "musical jukebox" section... Le Gateau will hate you for it, but his version is definitely something to experience.

Current Mood:

fringe: exposing edith

adelaide fringe: exposing edith
Full disclosure, never in the ninety seven Fringe shows I've seen since 2009 have I gotten the time of the show so very wrong and shown up half-way through a performance. So anything I have to say is based on the second half of the show.

And the second part of full disclosure, this was always a show I picked out for Ma... Edith Piaf is much more her thing than mine.

Okay, with all of that out of the way...

Exposing Edith is the story of French singer Edith Piaf, and mixes stories of her life with impressions of the lady herself and many of her songs.

Michaela Burger inhabits the Little Sparrow quite wonderfully... the songs were beautifully performed and the occasional use of loop effects on the microphone were well used.

There is often a slight disconnect in this type of show if the performer switches between an impression of someone and their own natural voice. I sometimes think it may be better for them to stay in character for the whole show, although then I guess it's hard to talk about certain aspects of the performer when you're also being that performer.

In any event Burger walked the line quite well... her Piaf impression felt very authentic... or it channelled an older French woman perfectly, I don't really know enough about Piaf but I'm guessing it was a fairly accurate impression.

I do feel that if we'd shown up on time I would now know considerably more about her though, the biography information between songs was quite interesting.

Burger's accompanist, Greg Wain on guitar, also joined her for a couple of numbers towards the end which was nice, he's clearly a talented singer in his own right.

I just wish that we'd seen the whole thing.

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post moving saturday shopping

shopping blues
Today has been differing levels of good, bad and indifferent...

One of the things that is very annoying is that I haven't heard back from my ISP yet, so I am sans internets... which is a definite First World Problem, but it's my world and I want my connection to the rest of said world back again.

I'm planning on setting my modem and everything up now that I have all the additional bits I need (more on that later), just to check, a little like I think I did last time... but I'll probably call them on Monday just to see where we're at. Last time it was done by the Friday after the move, but then I was only moving within the same suburb, probably the same exchange, and I'm guessing it was just a matter of them doing something really simple to make it work at the new house.

This is a whole new suburb, nowhere near the old one... but how long can it really take?

But back to today...

I woke up fairly early... partly caused by the trucks going along the road outside, partly because it was essentially the same time I've been getting up all week.

I pottered around a bit, then got ready, and then pottered around a little bit more before Ma arrived. Yeah, clearly that sixth sense I had at the old place for when she's arrive hasn't kicked in yet.

And then it was off to an entirely new supermarket... still a Foodland, same as always, and one owned by the same group as far as I'm aware, but this was Norwood instead of North Park. Now anyone who has been paying attention to my blog for any period of time knows that I don't like change. Me, change, not a fan.

But as I said, it's owned by the same group, so they have maybe 95% the same stuff as my old supermarket did... they just lay it out in a completely different arrangement. Which, academically, seems weird to me... hopefully it's not arbitrary, and there actually is a reason why you'd put the baking goods in the same aisle with the chocolate bars... and why you'd move the wafer biscuits I really love from the biscuit aisle to the last aisle next to the jam for no apparent reason that I can see. To be honest you would think that a chain of supermarkets would arrange everything in the same way in different stores... surely people's shopping habits works the same way in different stores, plus it would aid people coming to your store when they're familiar with other stores.

We also spent a lot more money than usual, though we skipped a week last weekend, so it was kind of a two week shop.

There wasn't much else to do beyond the supermarket, no Red Circle Boutique to wander around... no nothing. It might be worth having a little look around and exploring what The Parade has to offer, since we haven't even visited since god knows when... mostly because they don't have anything that I need or can't get elsewhere. But now they're my nearest Foodland, so I'll need to workshop the other possibilities.

It also means we need to train a whole new check-out chick... the girl today was passable, but not great, so I think we'll be trialling most of them before we find one that works for us. It is a shame since we had the perfect check-out chick at the old supermarket, but it doesn't make any sense to keep going to the old one, as it would add a bunch of time to our travel.

We came back here, I unpacked everything and tried to find appropriate places to put it all away, most of which worked out pretty easily given the pantry shelves I bought last weekend.

And then we were off to IKEA to find a solution for my lack of kitchen prep space and my lack of space to put my socks, underwear and general papers and whatnot.

I had a vague list in my head, and I pretty much went through everything and got it all (it was a short list).

My main area of indecision was the chest of drawers for the bedroom. There were a few reasonable choices... including one that I would have needed to paint/stain like I did with the bedside cabinet I bought for the old house. In the end I got one that was the same price as the one I would have had to do things to, and it was bigger as well.

The main disappointment was a solution for turning one half of my sink into a draining board. I got something, but while IKEA has a number of solutions for that problem they don't have any for my particular model of sink. Grrrr.

After IKEA we stopped at Bunning so I could pick up some additional telephone cable for the modem and then headed into the city to grab an ADSL line splitter from a little computer shop on Currie Street. I could have picked a splitter up at Bunnings, but why would I pay $30 when they had perfectly functional ones (I hope) for $7.

Unfortunately this is the moment that the wheels slightly fell off the day, although neither of us realised it until much later.

We came back here, I walked the boxes up the stairs (and managed to almost completely mangle one corner of the chest of drawers because I was physically unable to pick the box up and carry it), we got changed and then headed off to the Festival Theatre to see our first Fringe show of the season.

However I can say right here and now that I'm not a fan of the person responsible for this year's Fringe... if for no other reason (and there are other reasons) than the fact that she moved the Fringe Parade from Friday night to Saturday night... and of course that means that they close off streets much, much earlier. Then on top of that the council had decided to close all the carparks on Victoria Drive so that they could do something to the trees. So, you're going to close off part of Victoria Drive because of the Fringe anyway, then you're not going to allow anyone to park on the rest of it because of trees.

Fine... whatever... we detoured around and went to go the long way around to get to the Festival Centre car park. But because Ma was somewhat annoyed by this stage, she wasn't willing to wait around for a light to turn green, so she went into a different car park. And normally it would be a quick elevator ride and we'd be in the right place. No, not this time... because of the Riverbank redevelopments they've closed off every possible avenue between where we were and where we wanted to get to. So we ended up having to walk all the way around the casino (we maybe could have cut through, but we didn't) and got to the theatre around five minutes late.

I thought it was weird that when we got there everybody was seated and the show was already in full swing... more on the actual show later. But when we came out I looked at my phone and realised that the show had actually started at 2pm, not 2:30pm like I had in my head for some unknown reason. So we essentially missed the whole first half of the show. I'm actually surprised they even let us in to be honest... and we ended up sitting in the "late people" seats (the ones easiest for the ushers to ferry latecomers to).

So that was a whole world of frustration and annoyance... I will say that it was a show I wasn't really that bothered about, so missing half of it wasn't a huge drama like it would have been with some other shows. And it will make me double, triple, quadruple check the times of everything for the remainder of the Fringe.

We headed back here, then took a quick detour over to the Village to find something to eat since we hadn't had all that much to eat at that point (or at least that wasn't entirely carbs) and came back to eat it (full disclosure, I had carbs again anyway).

After food, Ma settled into folding up the garbage bag full of newspapers I hadn't gotten around to sorting out at that point while I started putting together the kitchen trolley I bought at IKEA. As I mentioned later on Instagram I have a fifth dan black belt in putting together IKEA products at this stage, and I don't understand how and why people complain about doing it so much... most of it sticks to the same formula and except for when I need an extra person (very rarely to be honest) to assist me, I've put a bed, a bedside table, a small bookcase, two large bookcases and three skinny bookcases, two barstools, a bar table, a TV table and a coffee table together all by myself... and you can now add to that list a kitchen trolley and a chest of drawers.

After I finished the trolley there was still a fair whack of time until we needed to head off... enough, as it turns out, to put together a four drawer chest of drawers. And even enough time when I was clearing the spot for the drawers to sit to put a couple of pieces of artwork on the walls using existing hooks. Just... as in we wanted to leave here at around 8pm, I finished at 7:55.

And then we had to head back into the city to try and find a car park and then get to the Garden of Unearthly Delights, have something to eat and still be in time to line up for the 9:30 (and yes, I did double check the time, a number of times) show.

See the aforementioned annoyance about moving the Fringe Parade. Doubly so because I'd learned my lesson on that in the past and would never normally schedule anything even remotely related to that end of the city on the day of the parade. In fact I actively avoid the night of the parade/the first Friday of the Fringe... it's just that this time I had no idea they'd moved it.

We ended up discovering a whole new multi-story carpark that I've never actually seen before, and that I had no idea existed. And while it took some annoyance for us to get there we did do everything we needed to do and got to the show just before the girl with the megaphone suggested everybody start lining up... so we were the very front of the line.

And who should we run into on the way from dinner to the show but H-San and Mrs H-San... small world and all, given that I think they're only going to a very small number of things.

So, yeah, while I got a number of productive things done today (a good solid shopping excursion. construction of two IKEA items), it was also marred by the fact that the shopping was in a totally different supermarket and in a world where I never moved house, I would never have needed the two items.

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