Just Desserts

Opening night for Just Desserts had a bit of an abnormal hiccup. With an ambiguous location (The Park, Gluttony) and unfortunately some misdirection from Information staff, I found myself among perhaps thirty other show goers at a loss for where the show would actually be. Among fans of Michelle Pearson’s previous work, I heard stories about just how much they enjoyed last year’s Main Course and why they came back to witness her work once again. Thankfully, we were all able to make it to the show (which started late because of this hiccup) and enjoy the talents of Pearson, the band, and the night’s cooks.

With a comparatively high ticket-price, Pearson’s show is well worth the admission. She and the band work well together to present quite a neat cabaret about cooking, revenge, and the realities of being a new mum. While most of her songs are covers or simply altered covers, some like ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’ have been altered to have just a touch more political commentary about our revered role models: Trump, ScoMo, and Ms. Pauline Hanson.

What makes this show unique is that, as the title suggests, it is Just Desserts. Throughout the show Pearson serves up three desserts to the audience including a toffee and apple lollipop, a chocolate truffle, and a nipple-cupcake. With a small amount of audience participation (one male individual selected at random) this is the kind of cabaret you could bring your mum to.

It is incredibly impressive of Pearson to be performing after giving birth just six weeks previous and some of her show is devoted to speaking to that experience. Pearson, like any new mum, wanted it all: to have the healthiest, smartest, and best-sleeping baby around, and to be able to perfectly manage working and motherhood together. Of course, no one can be the perfect mother and just like everyone else Pearson does her best to be the best mother possible.

As much as I would love to give this show a higher rating because of the amazing band and the incredible vocal talents of Pearson, I have to acknowledge the lack of narrative cohesion and the unrealised potential of the show given they could go so much further with the Just Desserts theme. Of course, as it is, it is well worth a visit.

4 / 5 stars


Words by Kayla Gaskell

Just Desserts is playing at Gluttony until March 14

For more information and to book tickets click here

Please note for anyone confused by the show’s location, that it is at the very back of Gluttony near the food trucks

Right Here, Right Now

Incredibly talented and immensely creative, Josh Belperio is someone I’m privilaged to have seen perform. Despite this show being raw and a little unpolished that only serves to highlight his creativity and ability to improvise on stage.

Having attended Belperio’s show 30,000 Notes last year, I was keen to find out more about this introspective individual. Having produced such an emotive show, I was keen to see one of his more comical shows with Scarred for Life. Instead, shortly before the launch of Fringe, I discovered that Belperio was taking a different route again, turning away from his previous two introspective shows to produce something a little more off-beat. Something to showcase his anger at everything that has occurred across our recent and quite devastating summer. This made me even more intrigued to know what Belperio has been up to and just what kind of show he would produce.

Going to Holden Street Theatres in the evening just after the sun has set is quite a special experience, one I aim to have at least once throughout the Fringe season. With a number of shows on simultaneously, there’s always a vibe of quite anticipation waiting.

We were led into a room much smaller than I’d expected where we found Belperio waiting beside a keyboard with the calm enthusiasm of an experienced performer. Since the previous year where he was presenting his notes and those left behind by his beloved Nonna, Belperio’s character had undergone a transformation. The clean-cut man of yesteryear replaced by someone clear in his rebellion.

Belperio started the show discussing the recent bush-fire crisis in song, moving on to his criticism of PM Scott Morrison (which is available to watch online here), and discussing the link between the bush-fire crisis and how LGBTQIA+ rights have been challenged by the religious discrimination bill.

The show itself was engrossing, breath-taking, even awe-inspiring. Belperio had homed in on his anger in the last few months, distilling it into something resembling cabaret but also a little more. Raw and, in places, improvised, this performance was both authentic and compelling .

While certainly presenting a relevant show, Belperio opens the discussion with his audience about the current political climate and the issues with media scapegoating the LGBTQIA+ community as a way to avoid climate action. It should be a time for us to come together to work on a solution; however, Morrison seems set on creating further division at a time when time is running out.

Drawing in new information to the discussion daily, Belperio’s improvisation for this show is impressive. Part cabaret, part honest discussion, this is a show you need to see to fully grasp. I would highly recommend seeing Belperio perform. He is such a talented person and I look forward to watching his career progress.

5 / 5 stars


 

Words by Kayla Gaskell

Right Here, Right Now is playing at Holden Street Theatres until February 28

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here

DON’T SHOOT! I’m a Vegan

DON’T SHOOT! I’m a Vegan  is a show about being sick of all the same jokes from your omnivorous friends. A cabaret-comedy opening up the conversation about what it means to be vegan. Welcoming vegans, non-vegans, and closet vegans alike, this is a something for everyone to enjoy.

Vegan Smythe is a rambunctious character, eager to share his experience of being vegan in a world which believes the term synonymous with being gluten free. For every vegan reading this, you’ve probably experienced this. Inclusive of soon-to-be-popular music such as “Where Do Your Get Your Protein?” and “Hunters Are Punts”, the show devolves from cabaret-comedy into something a little more thought provoking when we discuss the true purpose of milk and the beautiful hypocrisy of ‘all natural yoghurt’.

Smythe’s show isn’t there to preach pro-vegan messages, more so to get a good laugh out of a diverse crowd and make a mockery of the day-to-day misunderstandings that occur. At the beginning of the show Smythe acknowledges he’s going to overuse the word ‘vegan’, but how else could you present a show with vegan in the title?

A highly charismatic speaker, Smythe quickly sets you at ease. While you might at first question the black tear drop beneath his eye, his stage presence quickly reassures you that this eccentricity is not there to distract from a lack of talent, but to further compliment his character.

Filled with musical numbers, I couldn’t help but wonder: what if it were socially acceptable not only to talk but to sing about the “humane” slaughter of animals and the day-to-day gripes of being a vegan?

With a mixed audience of vegans and non-vegans, Smythe had us all in stitches by the end. Familiar in all the right ways, I think it’s fair to say just about anyone will get a kick out of this almost Peter Combe-esque comedy. I certainly think it’s the perfect-pick-me-up for the end of a long day.

5 stars


 

Words by Kayla Gaskell

Don’t Shoot I’m a Vegan is on at The Jade until March 10

For more information and to book tickets, click here

Rouge

Rouge, presented by Gluttony and Highwire Entertainment, incorporates beautiful acrobats, incredible physique, and tantalizing burlesque to create a show just as suggestive and blush-inducing as the powder it was named after.

The line for Rouge was long. Squished into our seats, the anticipation was thick. We were not disappointed, it was absolutely spectacular.

There were a number of role reversals between traditional men and women’s gender roles threaded throughout the performance. Where there would usually be more of a focus on men and women dancing or doing acts together, there were men dancing with men, women with women, and women leading men. Huge male acrobats on the shoulders of a female, women with whips and men in underwear are just a few of the surprising things that make Rouge stand out.

With amazingly spectacular costumes, flashing lights and an incredible opera singer, Rouge engaged the senses. From the very moment you enter the tent, you’ll feel at home with the boisterous and cheeky performers. Engaging and friendly, their characters will keep you laughing throughout the show.

With the slogan ‘circus for grown-ups’, you can guess that the sexual references and nudity might be prevalent; and you would be right. Anyone who would like a good time and a good laugh, book in to see Rouge. Perfect for a good night out with friends who will be able to chuckle and gasp along with you.

Five stars from me!


Words by Sarah Ingham

Silence of the Labia

How does one go about reviewing a show like Silence of the Labia? How does a review capture the vast amount of reactions that I felt during the show?

As insinuated by the name, Silence of the Labia is not a show for the faint-hearted. Or children. Or anyone with any kind of squeamishness. Contrary to the name, the labias were not silenced in this show; they had their say and they shouted out loud!

Silence of the Labia is an unapologetic celebration of the female body, especially where we all came from: the vagina. Taking away the stigma around the ‘downstairs garden’, Simone Springer and her lovely assistant, Miss V, open the audience to the seriously humorous side of female genitals.

This show displays the amazing tricks of the female body and the good, clean fun that you can have with a labia that may or may not involve googly eyes. The beautiful hostess interacts and involves the audience with games such as labelling the parts of the vagina and a song guessing using body parts. Definitely a show for a late night out with the girls, Silence of the Labia is a memorable performance that will provide you with endless dirty jokes for your repertoire.

Riddled with many innuendos, puns, and dirty jokes, the laughs just kept on coming during the sixty-minute show. This Fringe show is definitely an adult show with very strong nudity, and the viewer should be ready for this when they enter the tent. Before you see this show, make sure that you think you’re ready for what is to come; because I can pretty much guarantee that you aren’t.

Three and a half stars from me.


Words by Sarah Ingham

Unfortunately, Silence of the Labia has finished it’s Fringe run. You can learn more about the show and presenter Simone Springer via the Fringe website.

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

The premise of Justass League’s Singin’ in the Pain is innovative. It’s a burlesque show based around disability, chronic pain and mental health being two disabilities covered. Like the disabilities, the acts themselves were diverse which included fan dancing, singing, and more.

The performance was deeply personal, the performers spoke of their pain, struggle, and trauma. Be it through singing about mental health or society’s views on what a disability should be, it was an incredibly emotive performance. They opened up about their vulnerabilities and themselves to a wider audience. It was beautiful and empowering to see this unfold.

The stand out performer for me was US disability advocate and burlesque performer Jacqueline Box. Performing two acts, Box gave performances that were jaw-droppingly sexy both from her wheelchair and the ground. As she danced, comments from non-disabled members of society appeared on a screen behind her. Some of the comments included were “You don’t look disabled” and “Have you tried walking around?”. She screamed about her trauma and society’s views on her disability while continuing to dance and strip down. Having a disability myself, I connected with her words as they hit close to home.

Another standout performer was Madam Savage, who spoke of chronic pain and diabetes. Her portrayal showcased how having these disabilities has affected her life, right to the bedroom. She even incorporates her daily diabetic treatment into the act. This was both an interesting and unique twist to the performance.

A must-see performance at the Fringe, Singin’ in the Pain conveys so much emotion and trauma, spreading a message of empowerment to the people with disabilities viewing it. Singin’ in the Pain is a unique, wonderfully crafted burlesque performance.

 


4.5 stars

Words by Cameron Lowe.

To find out more and book tickets, click here.

The Talents of Darkness

The Loft in The A Club on Waymouth Street was turned into a room full of magical acts, drag, and fire by the team behind The Talents of Darkness. For an hour, they treated attendees to a variety of acts from many different performers. It was a show which was both entertaining and thrilling.

One of the best performances of the evening came from the main presenter, Bebe Trixc. For one of their acts, Trixc got a volunteer from the audience to give them $50 which would then be sealed in an envelope. A set of envelopes were put into a paper shredder, narrowing down to the one with the money in it. The tension built as each envelope was shredded, wondering if they’d shredded the wrong one or not. This was made even tenser when they told another volunteer to check the shredder.

Other great acts included the hip-hop hula hoop by performer Phoenix and a fire-breathing act by Murder Clown the Sane. All the costumes were also very well done and evoked a classic circus and cabaret feeling, from mime to dancer.

Another thrilling act was fire-spinning, performed by Abyss. Even if they were thrilling, the fire acts didn’t seem to break new ground. My enjoyment was also dampened by the confinements of the room itself. These fire acts made the room hot and at one stage it was difficult to breathe. The room also concerned me, safety wise, especially when one of the acts accidentally dropped their fire stick. If it was more of an open area then I would have enjoyed these fire acts a lot more.

The Talents of Darkness is a show full of fun and thrilling acts. All the performers did well and made for an entertaining evening. The only real let-downs were the fire acts and the room itself, but these were only minor issues. It was an enjoyable show with a lot of thrilling action and tension. Definitely go check it out if you can. They will be playing until March 3 at the A Club.

3.5/5


Click here for more on The Talents of Darkness, including ticketing information.

Review by Cameron Lowe

Anya Anastasia and a Decade of Fringe

Late last year I had the opportunity to meet Anya Anastasia, a cabaret performer celebrating a decade of performing in the Adelaide Fringe. Anastasia has a diverse range of skills including riding a unicycle or maintaining perfect pitch while doing a handstand—something not many of us could do, I’m sure.

Since first seeing Anastasia perform in 2015 with Torte-e-Mort: Songs of Cake and Death, I have been eagerly following her career and booking tickets for each of her new shows at the Adelaide Fringe. For the past few years Anastasia has presented two shows: one new and the other back from touring. This year brings the premiere of The Show and the return of The Executioners—both shows that are a departure from her previous work. I was eager to talk to Anastasia about this in her show The Executioners which has a strong environmentalist message.

The Executioners is a collaboration between Anastasia and Gareth Chin, both very socially aware individuals, they want the show to effectively to open up conversation about the power of the individual to contribute to change. Anastasia’s character is presented much in the “millennial fashion” while Chin maintains the humble authenticity of a man who knows not just to take care but repair all of his possessions. The onstage dynamic of these two is described by Anastasia as “the gift that just keeps giving”.

“The show explores the hypocrisy or the dilemma of modern life; where we’re so aware of the damage we’re doing to the planet and the impact of all of our little actions and aware of all the little things we can be doing. But then at the same time we do live in this world where it’s a consumer society. Where there is still a demand to participate and be present in that if you want to thrive.”

While admittedly quite cynical and confronting, Anastasia wanted to showcase these social issues surrounding environmentalism and politics as well as produce music that could be enjoyed. She also wanted to reflect the digital world that we live in and the influence that technology has (both positive and negative) on society.

With a soundtrack of entirely original music, Anastasia and Chin put their musical talents together to present a diverse range of music, from acoustic through to electronic, designed to accompany the performance and their characters. “We wanted everything to be still tied together in a coherent style, even though it goes from acoustic numbers through to a raging fight scene with digital accompaniment.”

Anastasia wants to “create a whole aesthetic and soundscape that did that and reflected how much technology is a part of our lives” through incorporating both traditional and electronic compositions. Chin was responsible for crafting the piano parts and incorporating the accordion, but they also had another collaborator who is based in Berlin and responsible for more of the electronic side of things.

Anastasia’s second show, premiering for the first time at the Adelaide Fringe in 2019, is simply titled The Show. Anastasia told me a little about what we can expect from this new performance—an even greater departure from her previous work. The Show explores some big “what if” ideas about Anastasia’s life as a performer and what she would have left if she quit. She interrogates ideas about what cabaret is and the ridiculous things that make up her life. She says it’s “it’s quite funny, self-deprecating, and very honest.” I for one, am quite keen to see it.

As a fan of Anastasia, I would highly recommend seeing The Executioners and/or The Show while they’re in town!


The Executioners is playing at Gluttony’s Masonic Lodge until March 3 nightly.

The Show is playing at Gluttony’s Masonic Lodge across selected dates from March 5.

Words by Kayla Gaskell.

Gorelesque

A Sexily Goretastic Time
In a darkened theatre in the Mosaic Lodge on North Terrace, six performers brought a sexy and bloody burlesque performance in Gorelesque. For an hour, the audience were treated to six burlesque performances ranging from the incredibly sexy to the outright freaky. I didn’t know what to expect when I first took my seat. Little did I know that I would have a sexily goretastic time.
Gorelesque is a show that is not short of nudity whatsoever. All performers would strip down to the bare essentials, sending the audience into a roar catcalling and applauding. Most of these performances would keep their bare essentials, but one performer went all out, stripping down to absolutely nothing. This was a big surprise to me, I didn’t expect to see someone strip completely naked on the stage. It really upped the ante and made the show more thrilling. I was expecting only a tease, not someone getting completely naked.
My highlight acts were given by one performer who went all out in costume. Her first act (the third act), had her dressed in funeral veils concealing her face as she entered the stage. Stripping over time, she revealed her face which was nothing short of horrifying. Blood spurted from vampire teeth as she revealed her forehead, which to me was one of a demonic Klingon. Her second act (final act) had her emerge on the stage dressed in all white and on crutches with a rabbit mask reminiscent of a BioShock splicer. These costumes really took me back, they were frightening but also strangely sexy.
Cabaret performer Laurie Black (Space Cadette) stood in as host for the show I attended. She performed an intermission piece, which was a song about alcohol. While I found this song to be intriguing, it felt out of place in a show with gore as the theme. This is about the only criticism that I can give about the show, although she did well as a host.
If you’re looking for a Fringe show that’s both scary and sexy, Gorelesque is the show for you. I really enjoyed it, with the costume design and music being very fitting. The aged look of the Mosaic Lodge only enhances the horrifying experience further. I also recommend this show to any horror fans who want something to see at the Fringe this year.

 


Words by Cameron Lowe.
4.5/5 Stars

Gorelesque is playing at the Masonic Lodge February 16-17, 21-24, and March 7-10. Tickets available here.

Tulpa Looks Back Over A Month of Fringe

Another year and another Fringe has passed us by. Hundreds of acts, some of which we at Tulpa were lucky enough to go and see. A festival of passionate creatives, wonderful venues, and great celebrations of art – the Fringe is a month in which the arts take over the city. After all of this, the Tulpa team got together to enjoy and share our memories of a remarkable series of arts events.

Reviewing over thirty shows, and going to several more, we at Tulpa were able to enjoy a busy and thrilling few weeks. Recently, in the wash-up from the several weeks of late nights and enjoyable oddities, we decided to discuss what we thought of the famed Mad March.

tix-pic.jpg
Just a selection of Fringe tix.

We nominated our favourite shows of the Fringe. For Taeghan Buggy, it was The Displaced of which ‘the comedic strangeness, attention to space, and skill of the performers was top notch’. For Liam McNally, How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker, a unique performance running a broad and deep range of experiences. Kayla Gaskell recalls her favourite shows as ‘a toss-up between the sexy-circus of Fuego Carnal (which I saw independent of reviewing), the classy cabaret of Anya Anastasia (which will be showcased at the Port Noarlunga Arts Centre in August), and of course, the magical musical theatre production, Little Shop of Horrors.’ Simone Corletto elects The Adelaide Office Live as her own personal favourite show.

 

The Fringe brings with it a lot of interesting shows that offer unique experiences. Where else would one have the opportunity to stroke would a 17th century man get you to stroke their sword, as was Lisandra Linde’s experience at Deviant Women: Julie d’Aubigny? Or perhaps at The Bacchae, where as Teaghan Buggy recalls, they ‘got all the men to leave the room for the final scene because they “did not have permission to see it”’, to which Taeghan adds, ‘It was so odd because that’s never happened in a play before but it was also a really great moment with the play.’ Simone notes as one of the more remarkable events of the 2018 Adelaide Fringe as when the city got its Seymour Skinner on with North Terrace’s ‘lights installation and basking under the aurora borealis, at this time of year, in this part of the country, located entirely in our museum courtyard’.

A month-long series of remarkable shows and special oddities that very certainly did not disappoint with well over one thousand shows, the Fringe was an event we all got some remarkable experiences from. Shows aplenty, Adelaide utterly transformed into the global arts hub for a city, we looked back on our shared and separate memories with fondness and another eleven months to wait until our city is once again transformed. Taking in a host of comedy, cabaret, theatre, arts installations and other thought-provoking events, the Fringe opened up a wonderful host of local and imported artists to bring their respective stories to Adelaide to share. Where else would you find a velvet-clad Shakespeare, a nun-burning pirate, and The Office come to Adelaide?

 


Words by Liam McNally with Simone Corletto, Taeghan Buggy, Kayla Gaskell, and Lisandra Linde.