The Hipster- A musical for people who don’t like musicals

With the smell of freshly brewed beer in the air, man buns, and neck beards a plenty, I could sense the excitement of something outside of the cultural mainstream. This was the scene for The Hipster- A musical for people who don’t like musicals.

The Hipster is an enjoyable poke at our ritualistic Adelaide lives, with a focus on cliché Adelaide personas such as bearded hipsters, beloved bogans and mullet-wielding tradies.

Seated amongst the shiny silos of the Little Bang Brewing Company, the show made a strong entrance with the song ‘Adelaide’s Great’. Other cheeky tunes such as ‘Retro Dick’ and ‘The Centrelink Song’ were nearly overwhelmed by the laughter as they bounced off the brewery walls. The Hipster immediately connects with the innate Adelaide subculture inside each individual audience member and offers it a craft beer in a mason jar.

The show follows Chester as he decides to start his own craft beer brewery, the Brown Freckle Brewing Co, with his friends Wolfgang, Seb and Frankie. Unfortunately it’s not so easy as he competes with noisy neighbours, the local Hindley Street gentleman’s club, Fuzzy Holes.

The show’s accompanying music was high-quality, with an impressive range of vocal talent from the performers and a live band providing surround sound to each song, and in between, with gusto.

Hysterically unique and woven with a patchwork of Adelaide truths, The Hipster was enjoyable and all too relatable. An interesting mix of puns, gourmet food, and a journey to finding oneself; the show even featured some sultry burlesque!

The Hipster brought a breath of fresh, comedic air to the genre of musicals, and provided a perfect way to end my Fringe season this year. I recommend this show to anyone that lives in Adelaide (with parental guidance of course). The light-hearted nature of the show means that anyone can appreciate this hilarious humour. I give this show 4 and a half stars for making my night!

4.5 / 5 stars


Words by Sarah Ingham

The Hipster- A musical for people who don’t like musicals season has now ended
To find out more about this production, visit their website

The Ides of March

Writer’s block is the bane of many writers; whether you’re staring at a blank page, hitting a wall, or just simply losing your steam it’s no enviable experience. However, if said writing is based upon a historical event there’s a simple solution. Time travel.

The Ides of March is a meta, witty, fourth wall-breaking romp of intelligent theatre. The premise is simple, William Shakespeare (Kieran Bullock) travels back in time with Cardenio (Paul Brown) to witness the murder of Julius Caesar (also Bullock). Unfortunately, Shakespeare makes a grave mistake, he becomes a suspect to the Detectivus (Jennifer B Ashley) and the Pomodoro (James Rosier). Mayhem ensues as the real culprits Cassius (Ashley), Brutus (Rosier), and Casca (Brown) try to sabotage Shakespeare’s every move to cover up their crime.

Slightly akin to that of an episode of Doctor Who, the escapades of these time-travellers are much richer in comedy. With only four key actors playing numerous roles (a great source of laughter) it’s commendable how easy it is to follow. The four reinvent themselves with ease utilising either a noir-like accent, a costume change, or a shift in mannerisms to switch between them distinctly. Their props and stage dressing are minimal but creative, and the intricacies of character changeovers (particularly in the final act) are handled exceptionally.

The cast of performers are well-rounded and bring plenty of charisma and talent to the stage. Ashley beams as Detectivus and Bullock’s hilariously narcissistic interpretation of Shakespeare as a struggling writer constantly taking notes runs the risk of being tired, but never does.

Certain elements of the narrative are slightly predictable in points, there’s the odd moment where you can expect it to go a certain way and it does. There is plenty to love with the odd twist or surprise that you won’t see coming as The Ides of March is a fantastic stage production that is bound to entertain.

4.5 / 5 stars


Words by Isaac Freeman

The Ides of March is showing at the Bakehouse Theatre until March 14

For more information and to book tickets click here

Numinous Asylum

Numinous: Descriptive of persons, things or situations having a deep emotional resonance, psychologically associated with experiences of the self.

Wandering through the Hamilton Theatres, I was greeted by a man with electric blue eyes in a long white coat. The Numinous Asylum logo on the coats and the medical face masks lets me know that I will be experiencing something different for this Fringe show.

Greeted, I was ushered into the theatre on the wishes of a swift recovery. Handed a clipboard with information about the residential asylum patients before my entry, I familiarised myself with what was to come.

The act followed four patients and their stay in the asylum and introduced to audience their histories, explaining why they were in hospital. What were once normal people, the patients were effected by isolated, or not so isolated, traumatic events. The heavy hitting point of the show – that people are people, deep down, and they just desire connection.

Creepy and dark, Numinous Asylum was something that made me both curious and uncomfortable at the same time.

Numinous Asylum continuously broke the fourth wall during the performance. Being treated like one of the patients from the very first moment, the actors made us feel a part of the act itself. Lighting was projected into the seating to further include the audience into the show. To add another sensory layer to the performance, sound and loud noises were used to create a shock effect.

I was grateful for company that night, as I would not want to be alone in this Numinous Asylum.

I would recommend this show for people who would like to explore their darker side in a macabrely playful scenario. I would suggest there be a trigger warning for those who do suffer from some of the issues addressed in this performance, as it touched on many sensitive topics. I’d recommend bringing a friend.

I give this show four stars for the raw emotional performance. Well done.

4 / 5 stars


Words by Sarah Ingham

Numinous Asylum’s season has concluded

For more information visit their website

How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker 2020

How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker is not something I thought I needed coaching on. I’ve been doing that for years; nonetheless, Anna Thomas has opened the cellar doors to not just the elitist holiday-makers but to us catastrophic normal folk. Cinching together real-life anecdotes, grape facts, and wanky wine nomenclature, a new realm of wine tastings have been established.

It begins with entering the Treasury 1860 Bar – a modern, gold and marbled accented room attached to the Adina Hotel. Ordering a drink [palate cleanser] followed by the wine wankers flight [participatory aspect]. I was highly unprepared for the fact I was the only one alone and it’s very well lit. There are maybe 35 other people packed into the wall-clad lounges, and I wonder: what is this show actually about?

Shortly, I am put at ease with the likes of a socks-without-shoes sporting woman whose warm smile welcomes you to her space. A space that, through sincerity and grounded humour, allows you to reflect upon your own journey. Not truly knowing how it is ‘on the nose’ or what an ‘oaky finish’ is works in my favour – her (un)pretentious descriptions transform the crushed grape into an experience. Her experiences. We are held captive by Anna’s storytelling, silent and immersed into the saga she paints before us.

“I’m the Grenache of the corporate world!” she exclaims after her analysis of the underrated wine. The wine was brilliant and is something I would never have found if not for this show.

Ana scoops up every self-proclaimed wanky monologue of spicy, nutty accents with a hint of realism. She explores the trials and tribulations of her corporate career and the ominous big questions we all swirl around the bottom of the glass – Who am I? What do I want? Part theatric monologue, part conversive narrative, Ana pinpoints the crossroads of her life and creatively pairs them with the six South Australian wines in our flight.

The show delves deeper than grape juice antics as she unravels her path through the adversity and heartache of womanhood, self-discovery, and vino consumption before you. At times, I could see the vines of the Barossa valley open up before her as she led us through her musings of Merlot and being a woman amongst the corporate top dogs.

Three whites, three reds, an hour of powerful storytelling and the unmissable opportunity to be a Wine Wanker for an evening.

4/5


Words by Taylor Veltman

How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker is running a sold out season at Treasury 1860 until March 15

For more information click here and to see our 2018 interview with Anna Thomas click here

An Evening of Tom Waits Songs

Sunday night at the Gov saw a gruff-voiced, Betty Grable shirt-wearing Stewart D’Arrietta pay homage to Tom Waits in a two and a half hour show aptly titled ‘Belly of a Drunken Piano’. In true Waits style, the singer slurred his way through stories with punch lines in between piano-playing ballads like ‘Kentucky Avenue’, a song about a neighbourhood full of people up to no good but really they’re just people.

I find it amazing that a song with lyrics like Eddie Grace’s Buick got four bullet holes in the side / And Charlie Delisle sittin’ at the top of an avocado tree / Mrs. Stormll stab you with a steak knife if you step on her lawn / I got a half pack of Lucky Strikes, man, so come along with me can be so full of beauty and nostalgia, but that’s what Waits does. He’s the crooner of the red light district, the poet laureate of drunkards and freaks, and D’Arrietta got everything right. Half-way through the show it occurred to me that one of the greatest miseries of my life is not having seen Tom Waits live, which I think is a testament to D’Arrietta. He played the part and sang the songs so sincerely and with such profound sentiment that he had me in a state of longing. Does that normally happen at Fringe?

SA Music Hall of Fame inductee Rob Pippan on guitar, Shaun Duncan on the double bass and Matt McNamee on the drums gave D’Arrietta and his keyboard centre stage and became that smoke-hazed lounge room backdrop of a band this type of performance demands, subtly seen though indispensible when you’re grooving along in your seat to ‘Romeo is Bleeding’ or having a shake in a dark corner to ‘Way Down in the Hole’. Other highlights were ‘The Piano Has Been Drinking’, ‘Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis’, ‘Martha (Closing Time)’, ‘The Heart of Saturday Night’ and ‘Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen)’, which is that heartbreaking song that has the ‘Waltzing Matilda’ refrain throughout, perfect for an encore.

Call-outs to Bruce Springsteen and Charles Bukowski didn’t go unnoticed, and I think Waits would’ve liked them. Perhaps, too, D’Arrietta’s few originals. I thought one had a slightly Elton John-caught-up-in-Waits feel to it, interesting enough for me to search up more of his originals when I got home. For the record, Stewart D’Arrietta’s good when he’s doing Stewart D’Arrietta, too. And apparently he’s very good as Leonard Cohen, which was another show he did as part of the Fringe, and quite the busy man this past month, he also accompanied Australian actor and musician John Waters in the Fringe’s ‘Lennon – Through A Glass Onion’. I considered both of those shows when I first got out the Fringe guide and a felt-tipped pen but I couldn’t go past Tom Waits, my absolute favourite, but even if I hadn’t have been familiar with Waits, I still would’ve loved the show – the whole atmosphere was infected with a gritty kind of class – and I no doubt would’ve left a fan.

5 / 5 stars


Words by Heather Taylor Johnson

An Evening of Tom Waits Songs season has ended

To find out more please visit this website

Tom Skelton 2020 Visions (What if I hadn’t gone blind?)

Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes means to completely put yourself in a different point of view. To imagine a life adjacent from your own and understand how it could be seen through another’s eyes. But what if that person only has 5% vision? Enter: Tom Skelton.

Tom Skelton: 2020 Visions (What if I hadn’t gone blind?) is an insightful, hilarious, and at times sombre narrative of one man’s journey. As a VIP (Visually Impaired Person), Skelton puts the audience in his shoes, taking them on a 10 year journey in just under an hour. 2020 Visions begins with a prelude to the tale ahead, providing some minor details and encouraging the audience to laugh at the jokes being made at his expense (after all it is a comedy). Skelton then takes us from his initial diagnosis to where he is today.

The years are filled with challenges, romance, growth, and laughter. But he weaves in and out of this reality with an alternate one. A reality where he is not a VIP but a person with 2020 vision. Skelton creates a brilliant contrast as he navigates between the two and dissects his own “What if?”

In the real world he is learning strategies to better handle day-to-day tasks (such as making cups of coffee). But in the alternate he has successfully eliminated the energy crisis, obesity, and climate change in America by implementing one simple machine in every home. While he is searching for love in one, he was having a publicised romance with Taylor Swift in the other. Skelton can show you the hard realities one minute and having you laugh the next at his alternate life fantasy.

This unique perspective is one that sticks and ultimately poses an interesting question to Skelton where he asks himself what reality he wishes to inhabit. Tom Skelton: 2020 Visions (What if I hadn’t gone blind?) is an expertly crafted narrative and is a show that one takes pleasure in being in the seat for.

5 stars


Words by Isaac Freeman

Tom Skelton: 2020 Vision (What if I hadn’t gone Blind?) is showing until March 14

For more information and to purchase tickets click here

 

Singin’ in the Pain: A Disability and Chronic Illness Cabaret

Attending a show with ‘Disability and Chronic Illness Cabaret’ in the title, I was ready to experience something remarkably different from the staple Fringe offerings; however, nothing could have prepared me for the unstoppable train of emotions that was Singin’ in the Pain.

Singin’ in the Pain empowered women of all abilities, restrictions and restraints, shapes and sizes to show what they are made of. These self-coined disabilibabes and chronic cuties were not simply performing for the sake of performing, but providing an honest rendition of the struggles they face day-to-day.

Set centre stage of the bar-theatre hybrid that is the Nexus Arts Venue, this stunning display of passionate story-telling simply blew my mind. Presented by Diana Divine, cabaret producer, teacher, and performer and teacher at Hot Sauce Burlesque, the show was a sexy and empowering display of physical and emotional human strength.

Full of impressive and award-winning entertainers, the show was a devastatingly and hauntingly beautiful homage to the pure resilience of humans living with disabilities and chronic pain.

I experienced hair-raising vocals, racy costumes, seductive booty bumping, and acts ending with tantalising tassels. Every single movement was meaningful and came straight from a place of raw vulnerability. Get ready to leak from both eyes at this intimate peak at the lives of so many inspiring humans.

The show was accessible to people of varying abilities, and the session I attended was Auslan interpreted as well as a Relaxed Performance – a welcoming, sensory-reduced environment for patrons with a learning disability, and/or sensory and communication difficulties.

I would recommend this show to absolutely everyone over the age of 18. I will forever be in awe of the glittering beauty and strength that every single performer displayed on that stage, dazzling the audience one act at a time. I give this show five, well-earned stars, because it was a sensational experience that I would see again and again.

5 stars


Words by Sarah Ingham

Singin’ in the Pain’s season has ended

To find out more about disability cabaret click here

The Ballad of Mulan

A gritty, grown-up retelling of the original tale, The Ballad of Mulan follows alternate timelines that see a battle hardened Mulan look back over a decade of war and sacrifice on the eve of her final battle. Delving deep into the narrative’s inherent questions of gender, war and identity, this one-woman show is a homage to the courage and fortitude of a well-known icon, popularised in the West through Disney’s animated film.

The sparse set design illustrates Mulan’s isolation, both as a woman hidden in a male dominated world, and as a person who is set to transition to the next stage of her life and feels the unease and trepidation that come with the prospect of such change. Mulan’s isolation is also evident in the play’s use of reflective narration: At one point the character even acknowledges that she is talking to herself.

Michelle Yim is engaging as Mulan, and though some aspects of the hour-long performance’s delivery might benefit from a little refinement, Yim’s interpretation and portrayal of both the experienced general and the optimistic foot soldier is confident and dynamic.

The show’s writing is accomplished, offering a fresh but pragmatic examination of Mulan’s past motivations and future aspirations, with the dual timelines striking a perfect harmony between the terror and violence of battle, and the distraction and reflection that come in the moments before. Clever lighting and sound design also serve to emphasise this juxtaposition.

At its core, The Ballad of Mulan is a powerful exploration of gender, war, and identity, as relevant and timely today as ever. Expect a little humour, a lot of heart and a refreshing focus on the darker aspects of a familiar tale.

4/5 stars


Words by Rachael Stapleton

The Ballad of Mulan is playing until March 12 at the Bakehouse Theatre

For more information and to book tickets click here

Larry Dean – Fudnut

‘Fudnut’ is Glaswegian slang for ‘idiot’ and in Fudnut Larry Dean attempts to dissect where and how he was a fudnut in his recent string of relationship woes. For Dean, owning his sadness is the key to dissipating it. Personally, I like to use copious amounts of rum, liberally applied as required, to own my sadness, but different strokes and all that.

His most recent meaningful relationship ended in a familiar way; break-up, reconciliation, discovery of infidelity, second break-up, couple of rebounds to take the edge off. Peppered with his trademark observations, Dean tends to go off on tangent after tangent before dragging the story back to the original narrative. It’s all really rather funny, his off-handed comments consistently hitting the mark. His penchant for impressions and accents also regularly enhances the story – it takes it all from routine stand-up to another level, a bloke who’s clearly very good at what he does and very comfortable being on stage telling you stories rather than firing jokes at you and demanding you laugh.

Whilst most of the material lands solidly, there’s a few rough patches where it’s missed the target. Although Dean expertly moves straight on, you can tell that some of the jokes need a bit of work. It doesn’t detract from the overall show though, with plenty of genuinely laugh-out-loud moments.

It’s all part of his very charming, somewhat inoffensive delivery. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment, it really isn’t – the ability to be funny and make jokes that don’t require punching down or being needlessly controversial is quite a skill than many comics couldn’t locate if they were the AFP raiding a journalist’s house.

Fudnut is critical introspection without being woe-is-me-please-feel-sad-for-me, and his casual but skilful stage presence underlines the overall quality of the show. He’ll regularly get lost in a story, stumble upon something that he finds tremendously amusing and just has to let us in on the joke, and in turn cracks himself up. Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something about watching a very talented comedian who clearly loves his job.

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

Larry Dean’s Fudnut is playing until March 15

For more information and tickets click here

Tom Ballard – Enough

What is it with an abrupt tragedy being the best foundation for stand-up? I mean, are we all merely a horrendous break-up or vicious firing away from writing an hour of jokes and making a glorious festival run? Well, probably not, because like a lot of things, stand-up requires you to actually have some talent at being funny, and if you’re just not funny then you can simultaneously have your heart ripped out whilst being forcibly led out of your office by security, all while watching a live feed of your favourite pet being mashed under the J1 bus and you’re probably still not going to have five minutes’ worth of decent material. It’s nice to think you could though, right?

Luckily for Tom Ballard, he’s got some talent. Well, a fair bit of talent. Ballard is funny, and so when his rather amusing acerbic ABC show Tonightly got canned after a few skits upset the wrong people, most notably a) calling a political candidate a very bad name, and b) airing a skit containing a song highlighting the hypocrisy of a certain religion, he had some options following the traditional pints-for-schooner-prices celebratory soirée that generally marks the commencement of surprise unemployment. He wrote a stand-up show, and – as previously mentioned – because he’s actually talented at the whole comedy thing, it’s actually pretty good.

Clearly, he’s a bit miffed at that little sequence of events, and so he takes aim at a few things that he’s got to contend with in his frenzied, rapid-fire style. The housing market, the failings of modern capitalism, our inability to escape colossal digital companies, baby boomers, the pitfalls of taking drugs and attending gay saunas… it’s catharsis for Ballard. When he attempts to push the envelope out a bit it all goes up a few notches and he hits a number of high-water marks, but they’re a bit inconsistent. The few rough patches are navigated mostly scot-free.

Whether or not you agree with the sequence of events surrounding the cancellation of Tonightly, the sterilisation of Australian comedy is to be widely admonished; I’m not entirely certain when conservative politicians got placed on the protected species list, but here we are. Allow me to dispense a trade secret: comedy is subjective. Revelatory, I know. If you’re not a fan of modern manic stand-up comedy, then you probably won’t like Enough. It’s not ground-breaking nor does it purport to be, but there’s nothing wrong with some classic stand-up.

 

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

Tom Ballard – Enough is on until March 15

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here