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

Girls Night

Comedy, particularly in Adelaide, is heavily dominated by men. Therefore, when you see Girls Night on at the Howling Owl, you rock up to check it out.

Our MC for the evening was Diana Nguyen, an established actor, comedian, and speaker who ran the show with enthusiasm and wit. Nguyen’s material generally focused on the influence her heritage has had on her love life and career achievements. This engaging lady has just wrapped up her own Fringe show, titled Dirty Diana, which received some stellar reviews.

The three acts of the evening brought unique stories of female experiences and proved to be an absolute hoot. First up was Emily Grace who humoured us with stories from her recent marriage. Grace has her own show this Fringe season, performing Circle of Wife at the Rhino Room; her feature at Girls Night offered audiences a taste of her delightful insight to married life.

Next up was Sharon Mahoney, a comedian from Canada with an immense amount of energy. From the moment she took the stage we were intrigued, and she had us laughing from start to finish with her perceptions of Australian life and hilarious stories of how the strong, independent women in her life have shaped her experiences.

Finally, Rose Callaghan. Let me tell you, her set was sensational – incredibly funny and even more relatable. Callaghan made us laugh with stories of sex, travel, and relationships, all awkward and highly amusing coupled with her quirky perception of the world. Callaghan is also presenting her own show 12 Rules for Life which is essentially a revised version of Jordan Peterson’s sexist self-help book. Like Grace, Callaghan is performing at the Rhino Room and is a must see.

This night proves to be a whole bucket-load of fun in a refreshing comedic space run by women. It is an accessible show, which steers clear of ‘man-hating’, extremist or aggressive material, making for a light-hearted and feel-good evening. Get around the gals in the comedy scene and enjoy a chuckle from the female perspective.

4 stars


Words by Michelle Wakim

You can catch Girls Night at The Howling Owl on the 15th and 16th of March. Tickets here.

Rebel

How do you pay homage to the late David Bowie? How do you put all of his greatness in a box? The answer: with a roller-skating trapeze artist and literal fire, that’s how.

I sincerely hope that you get the absolute pleasure of seeing the ultimate David Bowie tribute show, Rebel. The performance was theatrical beyond words, just like Bowie himself.

With an exceptionally multi-talented cast, you’ll be blown away by the amazing visual effects and beautifully done covers of Bowie’s music. The spectacular performance takes you out of your seat and on a journey through the decades. The stunning costumes range from patterns and elegance to space age and metallic, perfectly capturing the multi-faceted nature of Bowie’s many personas.

Release your inner rebel with the cast and sing along with the iconic Bowie songs throughout the ages. Looking through the crowd, there can be so many generations under one roof. The performance is for people of all ages, and there’s something for everyone to watch and enjoy. Who wouldn’t want to go and see a show so colourful and kaleidoscopic!

With high boots and high spirits, join the crew of Rebel and lose yourself for an hour in good music and good company.

Five stars from me.


Words by Sarah Ingham

You can catch Rebel at Wonderland Spiegeltent at Gluttony up until the 17th of March. Tickets and details here.

Ambispectrous

Eliza Thomas doesn’t even need to introduce herself for you to be able to see the eccentricity and uniqueness in her. You’ll feel immediately at home with the friendliness and relatability of the stories that she tells. Being on three different spectrums, Eliza Thomas is fully qualified to talk about all the things. She’ll tell you all about the great adventures of being autistic, having to encounter doctors who tell her that she isn’t narcoleptic (even though she is very narcoleptic), and if you’re lucky, she’ll tell you how she ‘caught’ the gay.

Ambispectrous caters for people of all mental shapes and sizes. Set in the Ballroom on North Terrace, there’s a choice of elegant seating or a pillow fort for those who would feel more comfortable amongst blankets. Eliza will introduce you to her thoughts, giving the audience a sneak peek into the deep, dark abyss that is the inner workings of her brain.


The show 
Ambispectrous is undoubtedly the best comedy performance that I’ve seen so far at the Fringe Festival, and if I could, I would see it again and again. The 6pm show time and 45-minute running time allows for an early night or the opportunity to see any other Fringe shows afterwards. For anyone who feels comfortable with sexual references and a bit a swearing, this show is a must see.

Absolutely amazing. Five stars from me!


Words by Sarah Ingham

You can find more information on Ambispectrous and buy tickets here.

 

Bin Laden: The One Man Show

Every year during the Fringe, Holden Street Theatres house a range of high quality and often compelling pieces of theatre. This year is no exception, particularly when it comes to Knaïve Theatre’s one-man show Bin Laden.

Any piece of art centered around such timely and delicate subject matter – terrorism, and more specifically the attack of the Twin Towers – can either help or hinder the way we perceive wider issues. There is always a risk when discussing such themes, but Bin Laden gets the biscuit. Sam Redway, who plays Osama Bin Laden, and Tyrell Jones, the co-creator and director, do a marvelous job in portraying the life of the West’s most infamous enemy. The depth, nuance, and delivery of this work are of the highest standard. I guarantee that this production sits outside any expectations you form prior to seeing it.

Bin Laden will move you in a variety of ways. In the same scene, you will laugh and be overcome with a unique kind of sadness – one that is slightly removed but still vivid. References to our pop culture icons such as Aladdin, Harry Potter, and Braveheart draw us in, allowing us to feel a true familiarity with the production, even though Bin Laden’s world is far from what we know. Redway’s engaging interaction with the audience makes the character of Bin Laden appear personable, and the use of cliché American victory music – the patriotic kind that is used to romanticise the idea of war and war-torn victory – when Bin Laden is triumphant confuses our pre-set alliances and understandings of good and evil.

The casting is initially the most surprising aspect of this piece of theatre. The role of Bin Laden is filled by Redway, a very fair Anglo-Saxon man: this instantly distances us for our stereotypical profiling of the ‘terrorist’ character. This casting decision dissolves some resistance Western audiences may have in receiving and properly processing Bin Laden’s story; even though we may not like to acknowledge it, the casting made the subject matter more comfortable, allowing us to feel ‘ok’ about sympathising with the character of Bin Laden. Redway’s spectacular performance in this role makes us painfully aware of our assumptions and perspectives, particularly towards physical profiling, and how this influences our reception of a story.

The play was structured so that Bin Laden is giving the audience a lecture on his life, almost like a seminar for success. The set was familiar, as it was simply a white man standing in a suit, with a board and markers to his right, and a tea and coffee station to his left. This space was non-threatening, though the props and costumes that appeared as the production progressed – such as a gun or a headscarf – served as key symbols that draw on the West’s indicators of terror, slowly transporting audiences away from the safety of the seminar space.

It is important to note that this production is written with immense sensitivity and with the aid of thorough research. This work does not support Bin Laden’s actions, nor does it condone his extremist viewpoints: it simply provides a platform for us to see Bin Laden as a complete human – as a student, a husband, a father, a freedom fighter and a terrorist. This encourages us to acknowledge that rebellions and extremist viewpoints are not born from nothing, but are a reaction, and not always the correct one, to tensions and experiences.

Bin Laden provides an exploration that is complex and stimulating. The fact that audiences can sympathise with Bin Laden’s character, and then walk away from this production without feeling judgment, offense or anger proves the quality and balance in this show.

At the show’s conclusion, when the lights come up, and Sinatra’s ‘Come Fly With Me’ starts playing in the background, you realise that this exquisite and intelligent piece of theatre subtly worked its way under your skin, leaving you with chills and a deeper understanding of the world we live in.

5 stars


Words by Michelle Wakim

You can catch Bin Laden: The One Man Show at Holden Street Theatres from the 12th-17th of March. You can find more information and buy tickets here.

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.

Galactic Trek: The Search for Zork

The cast of Giant Nerd Australia’s improv comedy Galactic Trek, returned to Fringe this year at the Rob Roy Hotel, this time with their show The Search for Zork. This show had the crew of the USS ImproCity visit a planet full of the undead, which they must try to stop from spreading across the galaxy. For an hour, they presented a story that was both fun and evoked a feeling of Star Trek: The Original Series.

A highlight of Galactic Trek is how it pays homage to low budget sci-fi films and TV shows. This was clear in their descriptions and sound effects. The doors would almost never open on time, the transporter sound would take some time to appear and the bridge is described as being held together by tape. For Star Trek fans, there were references galore, the Kirk vs. Spock battle music being a notable one. Being a fan of sci-fi myself, I found all these little references well done. Even with few props, the actors were able to convey everything effectively.

Another highlight was the characters. Captain Bill Jamieson, one of the main characters, had a very Captain Kirk essence to him, in both appearance and acting. The character of Zork had a very ’80s sci-fi appearance, particularly with his green head and horns. The standout character though was a red shirt called Jones Jonesy. Jonesy is how I imagine Blackadder’s Baldric would be if he were in outer space.

The show wasn’t without its shortcomings. While it did have a lot of funny moments, a lot of these were based on sci-fi references. This did not affect me as I already knew the jokes, but not everyone would understand them. For a show about searching for Zork, there was little actual searching for him. The actual search for Zork was minor to the plot, which made me wonder why they would call it the search for Zork. It should also be noted that Zork’s actor’s pants ripped during the performance, which was by no means the actor’s fault but did detract from the experience slightly.

Galactic Trek: The Search for Zork is a whole lot of improv sci-fi fun. It had many great references and a very Original Series plot. While there were a few shortcomings, it was still a fun time. Fans of sci-fi would really enjoy this show and its unique spin on Star Trek.

3.5/5


Words by Cameron Lowe

You can catch Galactic Trek: The Search for Zork at Rob Roy Hotel until the 10th of March. For ticketing and more click here.

Jon Bennett: How I Learned to Hug

Jon Bennett’s How I Learned to Hug is an exceptional fusion of comedy, music, multi-media and peculiar physical portrayals. Returning home to this year’s Fringe Festival, the award-winning comedian can be seen at Gluttony’s The Piglet. Such a venue offers a quaint space for Bennett to stand before audiences and discuss his experiences of love, sex, and intimacy. Bennett offers us a highly intelligent piece of work that is engaging in its writing and entertaining in its performance.

Comedy is often revealing and exposing, with How I Learned to Hug being no exception; I have never seen a performance quite so heart-warming and simultaneously confronting in its honesty. I will tell you straight up that this comedy is for the open-minded, as very few stones are left unturned in the discussion of sex and relationships. You will find yourself laughing because the artist in front of you – who looks very pretty in pink – gifts you with frank perceptions of human intimacy and sexual explorations. Half of the humour comes from the fact that Bennett’s thoughts and experiences are embarrassingly accurate, and his ideas hold a certain truth to them which is difficult to dispute and often awkward to discuss. Although you may relate to Bennett’s narratives, these stories can be told by Bennett alone, as his material and fast-paced, almost chaotic delivery suits the subject matter to a ‘T’.

At the beginning of this show, our vibrant storyteller anchors us at one point in time. However, expect to be led on an intricately structured journey, moving back and forth between this anchor and Bennett’s memories from the past. The progression keeps you on your toes as the show is ultimately Bennett telling us a story about how he told a memorable airport security guard, ‘Bey-Z’, the details of his relationship history.

To enhance the comedy, Bennett draws on common behavioural tropes that are shared by many of his audience members – ‘Forrest Gumping’ away your problems and being ‘wasted’ for many of your early intimate experiences are two notable examples. Such recurring moments, and the physicality Bennett applies to them, aren’t simply comical, but a perceptive reflection of the way we handle our relationship dilemmas.

What made this show have such an impact was Bennett’s transition between humour and sensitivity. As the majority of the show is delivered in a hyped and speedy fashion, Bennett’s contrast in tone and pace when discussing themes of deeper sentiment bring you to a halt. Bennett befriends his audience, drawing us in with his humour, before striking with a moment of emotional appeal – pathos as described so well by my friend – in order to persuade us to recognise the significance of the feelings behind each experience.

In summary, Bennett highlights the carnage that accompanies a broken heart, and how the people we love play an intrinsic role in shaping the people we become. He urges us to laugh at these moments and acknowledge their ridiculousness as a way of making them palatable. Shows such as How I Learned to Hug contribute to our wider understandings of our most important relationships, whether they be romantic, platonic or familial.

When seeing this show, I encourage you to approach it willing to embrace the obscurity that comes with Bennett’s storytelling. If you resist it or expect the conventional you will be closing yourself off to a spectacular and refreshing exploration of love.

Finally, see this piece of work with someone who will laugh with you. It will immediately make it all the more comfortable and enjoyable.


You can catch Jon Bennett: How I Learned to Hug until March 3rd. Details and tickets here.

Review by Michelle Wakim