Sunday, February 15, 2015

Adelaide Fringe 2015 Preview

Over the past few years I've put together a list of shows on in the Adelaide Fringe I consider to be worth seeing; I see no reason why I shouldn't do the same this year. So, without any further ado, here's the list - in no particular order. Blurbs - where I've included them - come from the Fringe website.

As usual, my recommendations are based on my experience with the performers, either as audience or on stage; it's not always a guarantee. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Supanova 2014

After enjoying Supanova – the pop culture expo – last year (as mentioned in this catch-up post), I'd pretty much decided I'd be going again if they announced at least a couple of interesting guests. The first names they threw out were Natalie Dormer (who plays Margaery1 Tyrrell in Game of Thrones, and was in Elementary and the first Captain America film) and Kristin Bauer van Straten, who's Pam in True Blood.

Needless to say, I didn't buy my tickets based on that – a sensible move, since both of them dropped out well before the event, much like the early headliners the previous year (Peter Dinklage and Summer Glau) did.

But I was still expecting some people worth seeing – and boy, did they deliver: a month or so before the event I got an email confirming the final list of guests, including Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime), Jack Gleeson (the odious Joffrey from Game of Thrones), Tahmoh Penikett and Jamie Bamber (Helo and Apollo from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica), James & Oliver Phelps (the Weasley twins from Harry Potter) and Alan Tudyk.

Alan Tudyk.

Alan Tudyk, from A Knight's Tale, Firefly/Serenity, Dodgeball, I, Robot, Death at a Funeral, Tucker & Dale vs Evil, Dollhouse, Wreck-It Ralph, Arrested Development, Suburgatory, Frozen and Big Hero 6.

Alan Tudyk, one of my all-time favourite actors, whose body of work includes some of my favourite films and television shows. Someone who would not have very many ahead of him on the list of  people I'd like to meet. I got the email at work; it took all my energy to not shout out loud about how happy I was at finding this out. But on the inside I was leaping around screaming like a complete idiot.

Tickets were bought very soon afterwards.

Last year I went on the Friday night, which proved valuable, since I got to see a talk about Tintin, and a session with Mark Addy and Jerome Flynn (King Robert Baratheon and Bronn from Game of Thrones); this year there wasn't anyone in particular on who I wanted to see, but we went anyway, just to get our paper wristband pass things – a terrible idea, since it means you have to keep the damn things on all weekend, which is kind of gross – and for me to get my token for Alan Tudyk's signature and avoid the (likely) longer queues on the other days.

We did catch the opening 'ceremony' though, which meant getting to hear Peter Cullen and Jeremy Shada (the voice of Finn from Adventure Time) speak, as well as a stack of sci-fi/fantasy authors including Garth Nix and Robin Hobb. Once that was done, we left.

Saturday morning we headed in with the intention of having a wander around before it was time to line up for Jack Gleeson; during this period I took the opportunity to line up and get Alan Tudyk's signature on a blu-ray copy of Tucker & Dale vs Evil that I'd bought for just that purpose.

The message is a quote from the film, and it reads: "Jamie, 'It's been a doozy of a day!' Alan Tudyk"

I'd spent a good while trying to think of something clever to say to him, but I couldn't come up with anything beyond telling him that Big Hero 6 wasn't coming out in Australia until Boxing Day – and that it was going to be up against the final Hobbit film; this, at least, elicited a groan from him.

 After that we lined up for Jack Gleeson – who turned out to be extremely bright, a great conversationalist and (though I think I did already know this) Irish. Oh, and a brunette. It was perhaps the most entertaining of the talks that I'd seen, before or since. He answered all the questions he was asking in an entertaining and genuine fashion. I was very glad I'd gotten the chance to see him.

Next up were Jamie Bamber and Tahmoh Penikett – both have done quite a lot, but are most well known (and were here specifically because of their roles in) the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series. They were also good speakers – panels with more than one person are often better because, even if the questions are bad, they can draw on each other for inspiration – so that was another good one to have caught.

And that was it for Saturday.

Sunday we headed in, not too early, but with enough time to line up to see James & Oliver Phelps, the Weasley twins. They were somewhat quieter than expected, given their on-screen personas – but, funnily enough, one (I can't remember which) turned out to be more gregarious than the other. But they had some great stories about the Harry Potter films.

At some point we bumped into my friend Justine from JusZ Cosplay, who on this occasion was in her Steampunk Zatanna costume. It's always good to see Justine dressed up – as you can see from the page she's a hugely dedicated and talented cosplayer.

We also spent some time wandering around the dozens of vendor stalls; it's amazing the range of stuff on offer, both in terms of mass-produced and hand-made.

Finally it was time to see Alan Tudyk's session – I was a little surprised that his wasn't as well-attended as the Phelps twins; at any point during the weekend when I was near the signing section Tudyk always had the biggest lineup – and we got pretty good seats. As expected he was very entertaining; he's evidently done of a lot of conventions, and barely needs any prompting or audience questions to start talking. He also had the novel idea to bring along a stack of random collectables to give away to people who asked questions

Unsurprisingly, most of the questions were about Firefly, though there were a few about his different voice acting roles, and his work in Dollhouse. I'd have liked to ask him whether he knew when they were making Frozen if it was going to be the massive success it was going to be. But I wasn't close enough to a decent spot for microphone access. Still, it was a great session; his ease at talking to the crowd combined with the number of interesting anecdotes he had to relate. Sadly, the time went by far too rapidly, and before long it was all over.

And that was Supanova 2014. I had a great time, so I'll almost certainly be there again in 2015.

1Have I ever mentioned I hate the spelling of that? Because I do. It doesn't look right.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pixar in Concert

On the weekend Rochelle and I went to see Pixar in Concert at the Festival Centre – it's a show combining clips from Pixar films with the music from those scenes performed live, in this case by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Journey Home

To say I was not looking forward to the trip home would be an understatement. Not only was I having way too good a time to want to leave just yet, but I was facing a very long journey - or, technically, three journeys: Edinburgh to London, London to Dubai and Dubai to Adelaide; a short journey (about an hour and a half), a medium journey (seven hours) and a really goddamn long one (thirteen hours).

To add to the unpleasantness, the day would be starting very early: I had to get up at 5.30am in order to catch the tram from town to the airport - or, at least, I thought I did; turns out I didn't need to be there quite that early, which was a bit annoying since I probably could have used the extra time for (much-needed) sleep. But because the website was unhelpful and the phone number failing to connect, I didn't know for sure when I need to be there, I'd decided I'd better err on the side of caution and get there early. So, I got up, trudged up the hill to the tram stop, and waited for it to appear; eventually, it did.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An all-too brief stay in Edinburgh

Because I didn't do a great deal while in Edinburgh beyond run back and forth between Fringe venues (and the occasional pub) - and I'm going to do a separate post about the shows I saw, so there really isn't all that much to write about, other than to list what I saw and describe the things that I took photos of. Unfortunately, most of them I didn't have the opportunity to actually go inside (or close enough to them to read any signs) to find out what they were, so for a lot of them your guess is as good as mine.

While I don't regret going to Edinburgh during the Fringe, the reality is that it meant I didn't see very much of the city – I got into fringesanity mode, which basically means 'see as many shows as you possibly can'; I ended up going to sixteen in three and a half days. And while that was heaps of fun, I did make the decision that, when I get the chance to come back, it won't be during the Fringe – that way I'll get to go and do all the normal tourist-y things, of which there are many.