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

AN EVENING WITH FIONA O’LOUGHLIN (& MICKEY D)

There’s a pretty good drinking game I indulge in these days. Requires the right people, though, can’t just be a bunch of random weirdos you’ve met at the bar – there’s other, less cerebral games for that scenario. What this game entails is you get progressively drunker, and begin every third sentence with, “Hey, do you remember when…?” Rather riotous fun, depending on the mix of people and alcohol. Fiona O’Loughlin and Mickey D – in this setting probably more Mick Dwyer than his alter ego – indulge in a fair bit of this game, sitting across from each other on a bare stage.

The two friends met twenty-odd years ago at Adelaide Fringe when both were barely rookies in the scene. Both have gone on to become veritable comedy royalty, having done the fringe circuit – Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, NZ, Montreal, and Edinburgh, in that order – for many years. As you’d expect, they’ve picked up one or two stories in that time. Dwyer acts as a foil for O’Loughlin, throwing out prompts and helping the show along; O’Loughlin freely admits that the show is vastly different every night. It’s not so much a retrospective or greatest hits album, released to eke out one last payday for either of them, but more two old mates shooting the breeze. There’s a little of bit of This is Your Life to it, but the nostalgia is quick and more a sub-text to the actual stories they both share. When they get on a roll over a certain story where they bounce off each other, regularly cracking each other up, it’s clearly purely organic.

Neither pull any punches regarding their sobriety either, both having battled addiction issues quite infamously in the past. Dwyer recounts a story where he came to in a Melbourne hotel room, having already missed a flight. His producer was reading him the riot act, telling him “Other comics can pull this sort of stunt, they’ve already got a profile, but you’re a nobody – pull your sh*t together!” Both have now got several dry years under their belts, and are clearly doing better for it.

O’Loughlin has announced that this will be her last Fringe, according to her she’s done everything and said everything she wanted to with comedy, and as far as a last hurrah goes, this is a pretty good way to do it. More victory lap than anything else, O’Loughlin’s definitely earned a chance to wave a trophy around and bask in acclamation.

4 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta
An Evening with Fiona O’Loughlin is on until March 15

For more information and to purchase tickets click here

Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet

Some might argue that tackling Hamlet is a task best left to those who aren’t in danger of spilling their beer mid-monologue. If you’re looking for a performance free of dirty jokes, foul language, and sexual references you won’t find it at Shit-Faced Shakespeare. Instead, you’ll find a drunken cast member set loose for the specific purpose of derailing the Prince of Denmark’s search for vengeance with a little mischief.

This, of course, results in a keg load of hilarious unpredictability, showcasing the comedic brilliance and improvisational skills of both the drunk performer and the sober cast members, who must operate around the version of Hamlet the drunk cast member brings to life through a combination of actual Shakespeare and complete spit-balling.

The performance I attended featured a shit-faced Hamlet (played by James Murfitt), whose inebriated state resulted in a dramatic romantic sub-plot between Hamlet and Laertes,  the discovery of previously unearthed father and son issues between the dead king’s ghost and the prince, a brief chance for Ophelia to be an independent woman, and perhaps most surprisingly for one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, a happily ever after.

Despite the unpredictability of the sub-plots, the entire production operates like a well-oiled machine and any drunken detours taken toward jokes gone too far, or tangents carried on for too long, are quickly redirected by the sober cast, as well as the use of an air horn. The danger of the performer sobering up is likewise combated with a little audience participation, most of which is best left as a surprise.

So, if you don’t mind a little foul-mouthing and spilled beer, and if you’re looking for a show filled with an hour of riotous non-stop laughter, drunken shenanigans, a somewhat familiar story and a cast that’s having as much fun as the audience, then stop, and look no further; you’ll find it all in Shit-Faced Shakespeare.

4.5 / 5 stars


Words by Rachael Stapleton

Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet is running until March 15

For more information and to purchase tickets click here

Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory

If you’re planning on going to Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory in Gluttony this Fringe, bring someone gutsy with you, someone who likes to perform, and nudge them toward the stage when volunteers are asked to climb on up.

As Hale tells his audience at the beginning of his ‘Feelgood Factory’ show, hypnotism isn’t not mind-control or magic and he, as the hypnotist, really hasn’t any power at all. Hale is simply a guide. It’s the volunteers from the audience who have the authority to make the night a success. As a former ‘Crap Elvis’ impersonator travelling around the world and man-who-was-tied-to-the-bonnet-of-a-car-and-driven-through-fire and as a DJ in Ibiza for a six-month stint, Hale knows just how far enthusiasm to have a crack at things can get you.

No doubt that understanding what hypnosis really is takes the childlike wonder out of it because, honestly, it’s rather mundane. People fall in and out of various states of hypnosis every day. We ‘zone out’ while we drive a common route to work then suddenly ask ourselves, ‘How did I just get here?’ We meditate while doing yoga and sometimes, if we consider ourselves experts at self-hypnosis, we can get ourselves into a transitive state, preferably in places like an Ashram in India if we have heaps of money.

So what about the people we’ve seen on television or even on stage who, at the snap of a finger, can turn into an ape or an opera singer then, at another snap of the finger, will be asleep standing up? They’re either trained to do so for the audience, hence the whole thing is fake, or they’re really game participants.

Our show had people giving orders in screechy voices and singing Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer’ and substituting ‘prayer’ for a fruit or vegetable. They weren’t faking. They were in ultra-relaxed states when given the instructions and then, when they were ‘snapped out of it’ they were the friends and family members we know and love who don’t really mind being the centre of attention. Could this be you or someone you know? Then you need to join Matt Hale in the Empire Tent for Fringe. He’ll be the one cracking up, getting his body right into it and making sure a stage-full of people join him. It’s what you want from Fringe: a sixty-minute party.

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Heather Taylor Johnson

Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory is showing in the Empire Tent at Gluttony until 15 March

For more information and to book tickets click here

Electric Dreams: VR Cinema – Cosmic

The future of entertainment arrived at the Great Hall at North Terrace’s Masonic Lodge with Electric Dreams: Cosmic. As part of the Electric Dreams VR Cinema experience, Cosmic showcases Virtual Reality in a 360-degree environment. Brought to the Fringe by Crossover Labs, it is fascinating technology with so much potential. Unfortunately, Cosmic as a show was somewhat underwhelming.

The two films shown with cosmic are Kembla Mela and Conscious Existence, both connected to the idea of cosmic and space. Kembla Mela is a BBC feature on the Indian festival of the same name, one which is so large it is visible from space. This was my favourite film of the two. It did an effective job at telling the story of the festival and the people who attend it. I really did feel as though I was taken to this festival through the effectiveness of its filming.

Conscious Encounters was what I found the most underwhelming part of the experience. Admittedly, it has fantastic visuals. The Earth and Moon together is an example of this. It transported me to space in this time. The wandering through the forest was also another highlight moment. Some moments I even tried reaching out for things like leaves and shooting stars, like I was watching a modern 3-D film. The 360-degree experience really worked well in this moment, bringing me into the forest.

While impressive, all of this isn’t new to me, on a VR standpoint. The film too felt very linear sometimes and didn’t utilise the 360-degree experience to its full potential. It too felt more like an example of what it could do rather than what it can do.

The VR technology itself is impressive. The VR sets offered from Oculus were just the goggles with an audio jack, similar to the PlayStation VR. They’re not the most impressive VR goggles available, but they’re not bad. I was really immersed in the world. It’s just a shame that Conscious Encounters was underwhelming.

Electric Dreams: Cosmic was a good but underwhelming experience for me. It didn’t really show me anything new in the VR world and what it can do. If you’re new to VR, Cosmic will more than likely blow you away.

This review is only for Cosmic, not the larger Electric Dreams Experience, one made up of other cinema experiences and a conference (running Feb 19-23). For more on the Electric Dreams Experience, check out their Fringe page here.

3 / 5 stars


Words by Cameron Lowe

Electric Dreams: VR Cinema – Cosmic is on at Gluttony’s Masonic Lodge until February 23

For more information and to book tickets click here

A J Holmes: Yeah, But Not Right Now

The 10pm slot in Gluttony means that the crowd is varied in the demographic and levels of sobriety. The cosy tent was filled with laughter, singing, and playful banter with the crowd throughout the show.

Previously featured on Broadway in the hit show The Book of Mormon, AJ Holmes serenades the audience with his angelic voice, enthusiastic piano playing, a guitar, and a loop pedal.

Gloriously reminiscent of high-school musical theatre, Yeah, But Not Right Now has it all: awkwardness, validation tension, and overconfidence galore. Sit back while Holmes sings you stories about horrible things with a smile on his face, or joyful things in a sulk. This one man show conveys the highs and lows of showbiz, dating apps, and just being in your 20s.

AJ Holmes opens up about his grandma, his life on Broadway, his Facebook-posting mother, and his revelations along the way. I found myself laughing with sympathy, awkwardness, and sentimentality in this unique show.

Uncomfortably intimate at times, the show spans an hour of deep, and not so deep, soul gazing at AJ’s life: a kaleidoscope of joy, love, epiphanies, eroticism, and a riot of laughs. Aimed at an audience in their 20s and above, I found myself relating to every word with a knowing chuckle.

A musical born out of procrastination, this show is for any procrastinator, Casanova, wanna-be-actor or chronic over sleeper.

I give this show a four out of five stars, because I haven’t seen anything that left me grinning throughout and with an echo of that laughter pinching my cheeks hours later.

 


Words by Sarah Ingham

Yeah, But Not Right Now is playing at Gluttony until March 15

For more information and to purchase 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

Under the Covers

Under the Covers is presented by our home-grown adult circus school Zigzag Circus. The performers were met with an enthusiastic and supportive audience, contributing to the warm vibe of the Empyrean, a charming circus tent.

I am always truly fascinated by physical theatre and I have a great deal of respect for those with the skills and capabilities to perform in remarkable ways with their bodies. This applies to Under the Covers as students from Zigzag displayed raw talent with dances, ribbon routines, balancing atcs, and aerial arts. The individual showcases of talent were impressive and entertaining, and the students had appeared to be granted artistic license and freedom over their work, resulting in a show full of integrity.

Under the Covers as a title holds double meaning, as it is not only reference to the show’s description as a ‘late night pyjama party’, but it is making comment on the fact that the routines are performed to the best and worst cover songs of our time. This is an appealing idea, but if audiences had not read up on the show and had no prior recognition of the connection between cover songs and performance acts, this cheeky layer of Under the Covers may have been lost. It would have been good to have a reference to the covers within the performance.

As a collective production Under the Covers could have been smoother and more refined as there was the occasional technical hiccup or display of nerves. But credit should be given to the performers’ commitment to their artistic endeavours. This was also the ensembles’ first Fringe show, yet they generally handled themselves with control and composure. I take my hat off to Zigzag Circus; they are made up of a group of performers who rehearse once a week on top of life’s other commitments. We need to keep supporting these local acts as with greater experience and exposure in festivals like the Fringe, these already enjoyable shows with continue to grow, the fine-tuning and polishing will become more prominent, and the professionalism will be enhanced.

Overall, Under the Covers is an amusing show to add to your Fringe calendar.


Three stars

Under the Covers is playing at Gluttony until March 3.

Words by Michelle Wakim

By a Thread

By a Thread is a beautiful acrobatic show that emphasises the importance of teamwork with an elegance that I’ve never seen before. For an hour-long show, the performers captivate the entire audience with just one very long rope and two pulleys. Having the rope suspended with two sides of the rope dangling from the roof, it echoes simple symmetry that is aesthetically pleasing and easy to watch.

I was drawn in by the playful nature of the team, how they all worked together to create such anxiety-inducing acrobatic acts. Fun, sharp and comedic at times, you can see the pleasure and adrenaline on the gymnast’s faces as they fly, scurry, and fall around the stage. I was lucky to be sitting close enough to see the sweat on their backs and the concentration on their faces.

From young to experienced, the seven performers put their lives on the line and in the trust of one another to show off their skills on the rope. The show is an incredible testament to the human body and the feats that it can accomplish.

With music varying from orchestral masterpieces to modern techno along with a mesmerising light show, the seasoned professionals play the rope like second nature.

Overall, an entertaining act nestled back of Gluttony in an airconditioned tent. Absolutely anyone can go and see this wholesome show and leave with a full heart and a smile on your face.

Four stars from me!


Words by Sarah Ingham

By a Thread is showing at Gluttony until March 17.

Mutating Roots

The main performer of Mutating Roots is Japanese Australian circus artist Mayu Muto. She uses dance and acrobatics to weave her story of cultural loss, gendered assumptions, and becoming cross cultural.

Muto’s physical performances are amazing. Her dance and acrobatic skills were mesmerizing. Watching her spin around and descend I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Muto’s performance was complimented by her incorporation of a wooden cage. This cage helped convey feelings of helpless-ness and being trapped.

Dressing up as a Japanese schoolgirl was another highlight, it offered both a comedic relief while also discussing a wider issue in terms of gender stereotype, particularly with Japanese women.

Although kept to a minimum, the dialogue that was used was powerful. They spoke of fear and anger that the performer had encountered. Those few words conveyed so much feeling and emotion while only being extremely short.

While I did find the show enjoyable, I had a lot of trouble with following the overall story. I found myself lost throughout the performance and wasn’t sure I knew what was happening. Unfortunately, I only grasped the story two-thirds the way through which was disappointing.

Mutating Roots is an intriguing performance. Muto has some heart-stoppingly amazing dances and her spoken word section is well done. However, my confusion as to what was happening did dampen my experience.

 


Mutating Roots is playing at Gluttony’s Empire Theatre until March 3, to find out more follow the link.

3.5 Stars

Words by Cameron Lowe