The Perfectly Normal Family Friendly Circus

The Perfectly Normal Family Friendly Circus is exactly what the title suggests; a chaotic adult-only performance. With more f-bombs than a Tarantino movie, drugs, violence, and tricks it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted.

Think Playschool meets the circus with a dash of, scratch that a lot of, cocaine.

Your two hosts for the evening are Adelaide’s Murder clown the sane and YouTube star TK. The two have a disastrously intentional rapport and as the show develops so does their descent into madness and their escalation into chaos.

The “circus” side of the show is clearly where it shines the brightest. Expect card tricks, fire-breathing, rope escapes and perverse animal balloon making. These elements are the ultimate crowd-pleasers and come with quite a lot of unique skill and humour. The children’s show element is akin to that of Sammy J’s Playground Politics in its use of adult themes presented to the audience as if they were five. The utilisation of this theme gives us one particular long-winded joke that works quite well. There does seem to be a bit of a peculiar imbalance between the two elements, but you can quite easily accept it as an oddly twisted showcase.

The Perfectly Normal Family Friendly Circus brings familiar comedic stylings to that of The Eric Andre Show, Family Guy, and Monty Python albeit not at the same level. Certain jokes certainly overstay their welcome in their ambition. A “technical difficulty” drags out and its occasional moments of laughter ultimately become overshadowed by its enormity. A particular opening joke, unfortunately, matches the overly long formula and doesn’t necessarily land to well with audiences either. The closing joke involving a pie with a rather special ingredient doesn’t pay-off its effective set-up either. However, there are plenty of dead-pan moments, a political skit, and heated arguments that certainly do not escalate to where you expect them to (another bright moment). Ultimately there is great conflict within the show, as there are aspects that work brilliantly and others that don’t so much.

The obtuse aspects of this show are certainly commendable in taking great risks and ignoring the norm to deliver a unique experience. The Perfectly Normal Family Friendly Circus’s absurdist and unconventional approach is more likely to stay in one’s mind than other Fringe shows this year. But you might feel as though it needs just a little bit more fine-tuning.

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Isaac Freeman

The Perfectly Normal Family Friendly Circus is showing again at Ancient World on March 12

For more information and to purchase tickets click here

Down and Out in Paradise

Down and Out in Paradise

Luke Williams

Echo Publishing 2019

ISBN:978-1-76068-584-3


Luke Williams’ Down and Out in Paradise is an intriguing memoir exploring the years he spent in Southeast Asia as a recovering and relapsing drug addict and an alternately employed and unemployed journalist. Living cheap, and sometimes even on nothing, Luke explores some of the debatably unsavoury hang-outs in Southeast Asia.

The idea of dropping everything and getting on a flight somewhere else is something that many people find incredibly attractive, more so when life isn’t quite going your way. When Luke Williams hopped on the plane to Kuala Lumpur, he was coming down off crystal meth. It was the cheapest flight he could book. He made his way to Thailand, the land of the free, where he chased drugs, stories, and sex. In Bangkok he became a thief, in Pattaya he became a prostitute, and somewhere along the way he discovered Buddhism. The memoir covers Williams’s travels throughout Southeast Asia and his penchant for fully embracing his journey.

Williams is very open about his sexuality and his time in Pattaya spent frequenting Boyztown and its bars and clubs. He met a number of Westerners there and for a short time, William’s worked as a prostitute himself. Much of the book fluctuates between him being broke in Southeast Asia and the occasional splendour of an expensive hotel and a bender.

During his time in Indonesia, Williams develops a fascination with his grandfather’s suicide.  Williams spent a lot of time considering the prevalence of mental illness in his family. His father’s late onset schizophrenia, his uncle’s comatose state, and his cousin’s suicide. Concerned that this could be the reason for his various issues, Williams is determined to use his skills as a journalist to uncover the truth.

At times within the memoir, Williams is critical of the influence of Westerner tourism throughout Southeast Asia, even as he contemplates that many the local people rely on tourism just to get by. Williams writes about the variety of people on his travels who coloured his world-view; reaffirming his privilege as a white Australian male and putting his problems in perspective compared to people working on the street for twelve or more hours a day just to afford food for their families. Together with perspective, Williams found spirituality as he explored various religions by trying them on for size.

There are sections of the memoir where it is clear that Williams was relieved to be clean and other sections where he embraced the highs of his addiction. Having struggled with addiction his whole life, Williams knew he needed help but had issues admitting it.  While Williams had a number of boyfriends and sexual partners throughout his travels, few of them appeared to help Luke with his recovery from addiction or his trouble with jealousy. However, there is one man who inspired Luke to do better, to keep living, and to eventually return to Australia to get help.

There is so much to unpack in this book and Luke Williams, as the author, presents himself as a highly complex character who might not be mistaken for a good person but also shouldn’t be dismissed for a bad one. He is complicated and real, struggling and adapting to his situation as he goes; sometimes driven by his addiction, his mental health, or by altruistic desire. I would highly recommend this book as it is downright fascinating to read as Williams details the highs and lows of his time in Southeast Asia as a journalist, an addict, and a human being.

4/5 stars


Words and photography by Kayla Gaskell

 

The Truants

The Truants

Kate Weinberg

Bloomsbury 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5266-0012-7


 

Whether it’s as basic as skipping school or smoking a bit of pot in the toilets to theft or worse; doing the wrong thing can be alluring. One of the questions Kate Weinberg asks in her novel The Truants is, “could you be driven to kill someone?”

Following the move to University in Norfolk, Jess discovers a sense of freedom for the first time. Being the middle of five children, she’s always felt as if she were invisible, and has mastered the art of being unseen. Bookish and overshadowed by her siblings, university is Jess’s chance to shine. However, after being booted from Lorna’s class “The Devil has the Best Lines” during fresher’s week, Jess feels her world tumbling around her. After a rather intense enquiry to tutor herself, Jess finds herself enrolled in Lorna’s Agatha Christie course instead and is faced with her first challenge: securing the reading-list without blowing her meagre budget. And is it really theft if you plan on returning it? Drawn in by Lorna’s larger-than-life presence and quickly becoming a favourite, it’s almost as if Jess is being seen for the first time.

Having befriended Georgie, Jess finds a social life-line at uni, someone to force her towards the fun things living on campus has to offer. Georgie is wild-willed and Jess revels in her company, forming close bonds with not only Georgie but her mysterious South African boyfriend Alec, who drives a hearse and always thinks up the greatest schemes. Joined by second year geology student Nick, the group are almost inseparable. That is, until it all goes terribly wrong.

With Georgie’s growing drug problem and the rising tensions in South Africa, it seems the fun is over. Jess’s world is about to come crashing down and with no-one else to turn to but Lorna, will it all have been worth it? And who is Lorna, really? Why did she leave her esteemed position at Cambridge to work at Norfolk?

The thrill of doing wrong – and getting away with it – is ultimately captured in Weinberg’s novel as the reader delves into the increasingly complicated lives of Lorna, Alec, and Jess. With authentic, complex characters guaranteed to draw you in and extraordinary wit Weinberg’s writing is a refreshing look at the Christie mystery and the power a charismatic speaker has to influence the lives of those around them. Filled with secrets and mysteries to be solved, The Truants is enthralling. Dealing with a range of issues facing young people including drug abuse, mental and sexual health, and relationships, The Truants is perfect for anyone fifteen and up.

 


Words by Kayla Gaskell

The Secret History

The Secret History, published in 1992, is the debut novel of Donna Tartt. It’s written from the point of view of Richard Papen, the main character.

At the start of the story, Richard leaves his hometown in California to attend Hampden College, a college for wealthy, elite young adults. Having studied Ancient Greek in high school and loved it, he tries to enrol in the Ancient Greek class at Hampden but is told that it’s unlikely he’ll be accepted. This is because there’s only one Classics teacher who only accepts a limited number of students (five) for the Ancient Greek class, and the class is already full. But Richard manages to persuade the teacher, whose name is Julian Morrow, to let him join the class. Richard quickly finds that Julian is trying to breed intellectual elitism into his students.

Richard very quickly becomes fascinated by his classmates, who are each eccentric in their own unique way. They are also removed from the rest of the school population, and also have bizarre and slightly dangerous reputations, like the Greek scholars they’re trying to emulate. Richard becomes fascinated by two of the other students in particular: Henry Winter, an intelligent student who is the unofficial leader of the group; and Edward “Bunny” Corcoran, whose obnoxious and crass behaviour often causes tension. When Bunny discovers that the group (minus he and Richard) has murdered a stranger in their intellectual pursuits and strangeness gone wild, it’s Henry who proposes the they should kill him to keep him quiet.

And kill him they do.

Bunny’s murder is mentioned right at the start of the novel, so it’s not a typical whodunit story. It’s in fact an inverted detective story that delves into the reasons why Richard, Henry, and the other students kill Bunny, and how they deal the consequences.

The Secret History reminded me a lot of The Catcher in the Rye, mainly because Richard resembled, in my mind, Holden Caulfield. He’s not very trustworthy, often telling lies and creating excuses – traits that Holden possesses. But Richard does have a moral compass, shown when he experiences shock and guilt in his part of Bunny’s murder.

Richard and the other students also take drugs, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, and often don’t sleep unless they are incredibly sleep-deprived or have taken sleeping pills. Richard and Bunny are the only ones who are not rich and/or receiving trust fund payments.

You might think that I have a rather low opinion of The Secret History. But I actually have a high opinion of it. It’s really well-written. Tartt has a very conversational style, which I like. The dialogue is realistic as well, and there are good, lengthy descriptions of places, which I like. And even though most of the things Richard and the others do are questionable, they are fundamentally unique, each with their own personal history – they’re not just two-dimensional characters.

4/5


Words by Callum J. Jones

Photo by Dogancan Ozturan on Unsplash

IMG_0080Creative, honest, and reliable, Callum J. Jones loves writing fiction and non-fiction. In his spare time, he likes to read, watch movies and TV shows, and go on walks.

You can follow him on Facebook (@callum.j.jones.writer) and Twitter

New Wave Audio Theatre Season Two

New Wave Audio Theatre is a fairly new podcast developed by Connor Reidy (Director), Anita Sanders (Project Manager), Leah McKeown (Sound Engineer), and Aden Beaver (Graphic Designer). Having just concluded its second season, New Wave has three half hour sessions each made up of three separate audio-theatre pieces written by local authors.

Season Two: Episode One, Places, consistes of three short audio-theatre pieces by Jamie Hornsby, Simon-Peter Telford, and Taeghan Buggy. Each deal with the anxieties of three very different situations as well as addressing important issues such as murder, suicide, and drug use.

It is important to note that the issues that these pieces deal with can be hard hitting with the team providing contact details for support services such as Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36 and Lifeline: 13 11 14.

 
Marree

Written by Jamie Hornsby

Performed by Hannah Helbig

Marree is a deceptive story about a young woman looking for a lift to Adelaide. Hitch-hiking, she is hesitant to get in with a strange man, but with seemingly no choice she acquiesces. Hornsby’s writing paired with Helbig’s acting perfectly captures the anxiety of being in cars with strange men—particularly when you know about Wolf Creek. Too busy sympathising with the main character, the beautiful twist caught me by surprise.

Extremely intelligent and motivated, Hornbury’s character is the kind of resourceful person we all aspire to be.

 

Hush

Written by Simon-Peter Telford

Performed by John Khammash

A man is driving down the highway with his baby on the way to a fresh start. He blames himself for his wife’s death and worries that his words and actions will harm their child as he grows up. They stop in at a pub for a meal and the man considers his options. How can he ensure that he will do what’s right for the baby? What is right for the baby? The man knows that the boy deserves to have a whole, loving family. But what can he do now that the mother is dead?

This is a very full-on story to listen to as the man ruminates on his decisions, allowing his anxiety to take over.

 

Last Ride

Written by Taeghan Buggy

Performed by Max Kowalick

Last Ride follows a man seeking revenge on the man who got him into drugs when he was fifteen years old. He has a devastating plan because while “[he] is an idiot, [he] is not dumb”. As the piece goes on you learn the lengths he has gone to not just to entrap his boss but ensure that whether the boss dies or not, he is caught by the authorities. The narrator feels as if he is trapped and as if his involvement with the drug dealer has ruined his life to the point where at the age of twenty he has no other option but to seek revenge.

 

 

You can listen to New Wave Audio Theatre Season One and Two on their website: https://newwaveaudiotheatre.com/.

 

Alternately both seasons are available for download from iTunes, Soundcloud, or Whoshkaa.

 


Words by Kayla Gaskell.

Feature image from https://newwaveaudiotheatre.com/.