February 29, 2008

Fringe Notes

Filed under: Archive,Fringe

Reviewed by Murray Bramwell

With a Friday night party in Rundle Street which brought early rain and an estimated forty thousand revelers, artists, organizers, supporters, and variously innocent bystanders, the Fringe has begun. It is on for one and all – with the weekend Clipsal fans also joining the throng and plenty of Ford and Holden regalia visible on the streets, queuing for shows, and sampling the wares in the Garden of Unearthly Delights.

The response to the Fringe is bigger than ever, with reports of 90,000 tickets sold before opening night and punters opening their wallets for walk-up ticket purchases at sites all over the CBD. At the Fringe Factory venue, formerly the Balfour’s site in Elizabeth Street (off Waymouth Street) there is within its cavernous area (haunted, no doubt, by the ghosts of frog cakes and party pies ) a maze of performing spaces edibly named The Crumpet, The Tea Room, the Jelly Belly, and The Pastry Bakery.

Back again at this year’s Fringe is UK performer, Guy Masterson with American Poodle, a two part exploration of Anglo-American relations. The title may hint at Tony Blair but Masterson looks at poodling back to the beginning of the American colony, where another incompetent Mad George threw the empire out with the tea leaves. Also at the Factory, Goering’s Defence, directed by Masterson, and co-written and, almost affably, performed by Ross Gurney-Randall, uses the transcript from Hermann Goering’s Nuremberg trial to reveal an early and sinister example of political spin.

Holden Street Theatre has a strong list of events, including Linda Marlowe’s bawdy, dyspeptic, embattled and defiant portraits in Berkoff’s Women- drawn from the works of East London playwright Steven Berkoff, and Joss Richards’ Playing Burton. Splendidly written by Mark Jenkins and directed by the ubiquitous Guy Masterson, this is a memorable account of Richard Burton’s singular and marvelous career as actor, celebrity, lover and partner to Liz Taylor in the original Brad and Angelina team of Hollywood Babylon. Richards not only has the Welsh velvet voice, he captures the struggle from poverty and torment by alcohol which subverted and finally destroyed an extraordinary artist and self-made star.

Among the monologues it is also good to see plenty of ensemble theatre. At the newly located Higher Ground in Light Square and home of the Fringe Club, Accidental Productions are presenting Seven Seconds (In God We Trust) by German playwright Falk Richter, a fast-moving deconstructed theatre work lampooning the American Empire as only Europeans can. Briskly performed (and tightly directed by Joh Hartog) it is uneven in impact but chilling in its reminder that every missile sent from ten thousand meters has a human target., Vitalstatistix (at the QueensTheatre) feature this year with Memmie Le Blanc, an intriguing play by Hillary Bell about a feral child brought back into human society – Anni Lindner is excellent in the lead. At onefortyfive Hindley Street, floogle is presenting two new works – Conclusions on Ice, a five-minutes-to-midnight absurdist view of life as we will soon not recognize it, and Ollie and the Minotaur, an ambitious contemporary drama about three women friends and a life-changing secret, written by Patrick Graham directed by Sarah John.

The Garden of Unearthly Delights has everything on offer, from the raggedly awful efforts of the Town Bikes and After Dinner Mince to Camille, the Dark Angel – terrific with Brel and blues, and all voltage for Nick Cave’s The Mercy Seat. Acrobat return, as they say themselves –Smaller, Poorer and Cheaper – and with that dark intensity and punk disdain that is their signature. Charlie Pickering is gently hilarious with his tales of social inadequacy and quotes from the autobiography of BB King. And, for something completely arcane and majestic – head to the Masonic Centre for La Clique. Amy G on skates and kazoo, the English Gents amazing in their power of two, Captain Frodo, the human rubbery figure and David O’Mer, the splashiest aerialist you’ll find. It is all clicking with La Clique and this is only week one.

“On for one and all” The Adelaide Review, No 336,
February 29, 2008, p.18

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment