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.

Boswell and Beyond

March 6-8
Nexus Cabaret

"Featuring lush vocal harmonies, dizzying tempo changes, and a swingin' hot band, The Boswell Project are back with a brand new show! From The Boswell Sisters to The Andrews Sisters, come and relive the music of the 1930's and 40's in a show that will leave you tapping your toes and wanting more!"

I saw the previous Boswell show in the Adelaide Cabaret Festival last year - review here - and was very impressed (they even quote my review in their promos!). Great music performed by talented people.

Tickets and info here. Website here.

Chanteuse Rosé, the Diminutive Diva

March 14-15
Gluttony - the Peacock

"Chanteuse Rosé will entertain you with her world of French fantasies, naughty niceties and raucous rallying. But as she takes on the wicked in a tale of bravery, tomfoolery and a clear determination to conquer everything and everyone - despite her size - things aren’t always as they seem! It’s definitely ‘life through Rosé coloured glasses’!"

Much like with other shows on this list, I've seen this performer before; in this case I saw Michaela's show in last year's Cabaret Fringe festival, and the review is here. In addition, she just won the International Cabaret Contest.

Tickets and info here. Website here.

Gillian Cosgriff: Whelmed

March 2-15
Garden of Unearthly Delights - the Spare Room

"Multi award-winning cabaret sensation Gillian Cosgriff makes her triumphant return to the Adelaide Fringe in 2015. Her hilarious original songs have sold out shows across the country and her new show Whelmed (absolutely a real word) is a show about “keeping it together”."

I've seen Gillian Cosgriff a few times both here and in Melbourne, and she's a great cabaret performer with a lovely voice and who writes witty, hilarious songs.

Tickets and info here. Website here.

Le Gateau Chocolat - Icons

February 13 - March 15
Garden of Unearthly Delights - Deluxe

Arguably my all-time favourite cabaret performer, Le Gateau is amazing; an astonishing voice, a great sense of humour and buckets of stage presence - though, to be perfectly honest, the last time he did a solo show I was a little underwhelmed. But I felt that that show was thrown together at the last minute, perhaps to fill a suddenly open slot. I'm optimistic this one will be more like the first solo show of his I saw, which was stunning.

Tickets and info here. Company website here

My Breasts and Me

February 14-15 & March 21
The Soul Box

"Back by popular demand! This show is about breasts. Large breasts. My breasts. With jokes, songs and stories pouring out my DD-Cup sized-bra, 'My Breasts and Me' gives a glimpse of life with breasts. From love, to heart ache, to back ache, join me in exposing my journey from hating to loving my breasts."

I saw this show last year - Bronwyn, the performer is a friend - and was very impressed. She's a great singer and the show is hilarious.

Tickets and info here.

Sparrow-Folk: SuBIRDia

February 13-28 & March 1
Gluttony - the Bally

"Celebrating what most wouldn’t dare to reveal, they ‘Thermomix’ together a delicious set of hysterical songs divulging the daring and delightful underbelly of suburban life. The deceivingly sweet pair are jaw-droppingly naughty - it’s Kath & Kim on citric-acid."

I saw Sparrow-Folk last year; it was a great show. I've already got tickets to this new one.

Tickets and info here.

Sway With Me: Crooning with Michael Coumi

February 28, March 1, 7, 8, 10-11 and 14-15
Holden Street Theatres - the Studio

"In this cabaret show he'll do what he's born to do; sing scintillating smooth swing and lounge songs from the great American Songbook repertoire. Including tributes to Cranky Franky Sinatra, Dino Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr plus a few surprises. Ever heard Al Pacino sing? Michael Coumi tap dances, does the old soft shoe and character improvisation. He charms in this winning show - with style!"

Michael and I were both in a production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying a few years back, so I know first-hand how talented and hardworking he is. Last year he was in the excellent Addams Family Musical as Gomez, and was very impressive there too. Plus it's directed by local theatre legend Peter Goers.

Tickets and info here.

Villain-ville: A Musical Explanation of Villainy and Evil

February 20-21 & 27-28
The Soul Box

"What truly makes a villain villainous? With so many different representations of evil in modern and classic musicals the lines often become blurred. Are these men, women and creatures really evil or are they misunderstood characters who's intentions are rarely explored. Join us for a villainous cabaret."

Two more familiar faces from the Adelaide musical theatre community - and two of the best: Andrew Crispe and Tegan Gully have been playing lead roles in shows like (separately) Footloose, Singin' in the Rain, Beauty and the Beast, Legally Blonde, Grease (two different productions) and (together - and I was there too!) Calamity Jane. Director/producer/performer Buddy Dawson may not have been around as long as the other two, but in the last few years he's made a name for himself as Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Danny in Grease, amongst others. Plus he directed the award-winning AYT production of Suessical in 2013.

Tickets and info here.

A Simple Space

February 14 - March 15
Royal Croquet Club - The Menagerie

I'm not especially enthusiastic about physical theatre, but I went along as a plus-one to see company Gravity and Other Myths do A Simple Space a couple of Fringes ago and was stunned at not only how capable they are physically, but how well thought out and entertaining their show was. Even if you wouldn't consider this your thing it's worth seeing.

Tickets and info here.

Bec Hill in...Ellipsis

February 24-28 and March 3-7
Rhino Room - Beer Garden

While at the Edinburgh Fringe last year I made a point of seeing some comedy, since I don't get to do that in Adelaide - I'm generally too busy seeing theatre and cabaret - and I'd heard a lot of people talk up Bec Hill, so I went along and saw this one. It's a brilliant show - clever and hilarious.

Tickets and info here.

Celia Pacquola - Let Me Know How it All Works Out

February 13-15 & 17-22
The Garden of Unearthly Delights, Studio 7

Much like Bec Hill above, I saw Celia Pacquola in Edinburgh; it was both my last night in Edinburgh and the last night of my UK holiday, and I was in a foul mood because I was very much not ready to be going home. So, Celia was facing an uphill battle to cheer me up - but I'm happy to admit she succeeded admirably, 'cause I laughed my ass off.

Tickets and info here.

Deanne Smith: Get Into It

March 5-10 & 12-15
Tuxedo Cat - Myall Room

I've seen Deanne Smith a few times over the years, and she's always been great - hers is one of the names I look for every year when I'm putting together my schedule.

Tickets and info here.

Cut by Duncan Graham

Feb 14 - Mar 14
Holden Street Theatres - the Manse

"A woman prepares for work. Before the mirror, in her image, a situation unfolds. A catastrophe. She’s hunted by a man, with eyes of ash. Is this a fantasy? Or a real threat outside her door?"

I've seen some brilliant shows in the Manse at Holden Street, and this sounds like it could well be another - and it stars Hannah Norris, the award-winning performer of My Name is Rachel Corrie, a great Fringe show from a few years back.

Tickets and info here.

flowerchildren - the Mamas and Papas Story

March 4-7
Star Theatre One

"You know the songs and you love the music, but how well do you know the iconic American pop group behind it all? They sold nearly 40 million records worldwide and were the first group to knock The Beatles from the number one spot on the Billboard charts.

They are The Mamas and The Papas."

Last year Davine Interventionz  put on the musical version of Xanadu! to much acclaim - it was one of my picks of the season.While this might have a somewhat narrower appeal, I still expect it will a great show with some excellent performers.

Tickets and info here.

Promise & Promiscuity: a New Musical by Jane Austen and Penny Ashton

February 13 - March 8
Holden Street Theatres - the Arch

"Charmingly accomplished Kiwi Penny Ashton (Austen Found, Hot Pink Bits) mashes up Bon Jovi, bonnets and big balls with alacrity!

Join Elspeth as she battles literary snobbery, Cousin Horatio and her mother’s nerves, armed with a blushing countenance, superlative cross-stitching and being quite bright - you know.... for a girl."

I saw the last show Penny Ashton brought to Adelaide, Austen Found, and loved it so I much I bought a fridge magnet (it reads "I simply adore big balls!"). I expect this to be of a similar high standard.

Tickets and info here.

Pirates of the Penzance on the Popeye

Feb 20-21 and 27-28
The Popeye

Emma is one of Adelaide's many furiously busy musicians - I've known her for many years, and she was musical director for the production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying I was in a few years. She's been performing these shows - which won a local tourism award last year - on the Popeye for a while now and Pirates of the Penzance is a scaled down cabaret version of the Gilbert & Sullivan musical comedy.

Tickets and info here.

Stop Start

Feb 20-21 and March 2-7
Bakehouse Theatre

Seventeen years ago at the first Fringe festival I went to, I didn't see very many shows (at least not compared to the number I see now), but I can still remember the impact several of them had on me - and of those, those most significant was I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe and is brilliant writer/performer Dawson Nichols. So, I'll see pretty much anything he puts on.

Some reviews from last year for his remounting of I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe.

Tickets and info here.

The Other Side of a Song

Feb 15, 22 and 25, The Soul Box

"Music speaks to us on many different levels. It can be thought provoking, comfort us in times of need, bring back precious memories and uplift our souls. But how does the meaning and impact of the songs we know and love change if we alter one significant element? Join Marie Clark Musical Theatre Company as they explore how music effects us all, and how manipulating the delivery of a song can change its meaning."

My friends from the Marie Clark Musical Theatre Company are staging this, and given the people involved I expect it to be insightful, well-performed and both moving and hilarious.

Tickets and info here.

[Title of Show]

February 17-21
Bakehouse Theatre - Main Stage

"[title of show] follows the journey of Hunter and Jeff, two nobodies in New York, who long to make their mark in the world of musical theatre. They hear about the New York Musical Theatre Festival, but with the submission deadline only three weeks away the boys worry about what they can possibly write in that time. With nothing to lose, they decide to enlist the help of their friends Susan, Heidi and Larry to create an original musical. They make a pact to keep writing until the deadline and submit whatever they have on paper. Throughout the show they suffer writer’s block, dream about the show changing their lives, fight metaphorical vampires, and learn valuable lessons about themselves as people, artists and friends."

Yet another show put on by people I know - and who I expect great things from, since everyone involved has a track record of impressive performances/creative decisions.Opening night has already sold out, so get in or miss out!

Tickets and info here.

The Next Big Thing

February 13-14
Producers - Garden

"Oprah was a checkout chick, Madonna sold donuts, Jennifer Hudson made burgers and Cindy Crawford shucked corn, all divas start somewhere. With the growing love and popularity of burlesque there are many young or new artists emerging onto the scene. 

Already winning awards and national recognition, come and see the spirit and new visions of the emerging artists in this arena.

The Next Big Thing celebrates the up and coming, the new, the fangled and the sexiest of the new breed of burlesque babes.

Say you saw them FIRST!"

Burlesque is a big thing in Adelaide, and I've a few friends in the scene - they take it very seriously, so this is likely to be good.

Tickets and info here.

Showgirl Addiction

March 5-7
Producers Warehouse

"With performances from nationally award winning burlesque and cabaret artists we do warn you, you may get hooked.

See our performers work through their addictions one piece of clothing at a time."

More burlesque, from the same people doing The Next Big Thing.

Tickets and info here.

Further information

Read about my previews and adventures in Fringes past in these posts - one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten and eleven.

I'll be trying to make regular updates here on the blog, but it'll depend on how busy I am. Proper reviews will appear on the ATG website – you can also follow the ATG on Twitter to get frequent updates on when reviews are posted. I'll no doubt be tweeting regularly, so feel free to follow me if you don't already. The Twitter hashtag for the Fringe is #adlfringe and for the Festival it's #adlfest.

If you think I see a lot of shows, you should follow Pete Muller on Twitter. He doesn't go by the handle Festival Freak for nothing; the man is an absolute machine and always gets to triple figures each season. I always keep an eye on his feed to see what he's seen and liked.

Also check out Kryztoff Raw for their reviews.

The Fringe ticketing website – where you can search for show information as well as buy tickets – is here. Also check out TalkFringe, which is where people post their own short reviews of shows, with ratings – and, since the ratings are aggregated, there's always a list of the most popular shows, which is handy if you aren't sure what to see.

Hope to see you out and about during Adelaide's fantastic festival season!

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