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.

Thrones! The Musical Parody

If, like me, you have spent the past year and a half sitting around wondering how to fill that Game of Thrones-shaped void in your life, I cannot recommend Thrones! The Musical Parody highly enough to carry you through to April.

Set in the home of Linda, a freshly divorced Game of Thrones virgin, but more importantly the person with the best TV, a group of friends quickly try to catch their pal up on the past seven seasons’ worth of content before the premiere of the final season.

Over the course of 75 minutes the cast takes Linda and the audience through the 70-odd characters essential to the plot; a vast array of deaths; the complex (and often sexual) relationships between characters; the many titles of Daenerys Targaryen; more deaths; the power struggles and ever-changing internal balance of good and evil; and of course, the deaths. The songs were well-written, witty and infectious as well as brilliantly delivered; you’ll want to download the soundtrack immediately. Some personal favourites were ‘Stabbin’ and ‘You Know Nothing’ although if I stop and think about it, I can keep adding to my list of favourite songs in the same way that I keep adding to my list of favourite GoT characters.

Although the set was minimalistic, the actors were able to be inventive and resourceful with their props, creating memorable wardrobe choices and taking us from Linda’s living room to Westeros in the blink of an eye. They offered a hilarious take on what has occurred so far on GoT and further explored what may be yet to come.

The endless puns and jokes in the show will be best appreciated by fans of Game of Thrones, but the delivery and dexterity of the cast can certainly be appreciated by all. Go to this show for a good belly laugh, catchy songs that will remain in your head for weeks, and one more hit of Game of Thrones before the final season.

 


Words by Kirsty van der Veer

Five stars.

Thrones! The Musical Parody every day (except Mondays) until March 17. Tickets available here.

Alex Cofield: Supernova

Wonderfully, joyfully, powerfully a success, Supernova is an odd blend of musical comedy and storytelling. It underpins a fundamentally affirming story with magnificent and seamless wordplay.

Raj House makes for a perfect setting for this bright, glorious, and robust musical comedy, reflecting the nature of the show as it does. Having been to another production of Wild Pony Productions (Bad Women), the expectations were high. It should have been difficult to match expectation but Alex Cofield does it brilliantly.

The success of the show is made all the more remarkable by the inherent challenges of a one man show. An hour of intricate and intelligent wordplay so complex it occasionally borders on the realm of tongue twisters, Alex Cofield somehow makes it seem easy. His performance exudes professionalism and skill to such an extent that the challenges of a solo play are breezed over and seem insignificant in the face of his success.
Throughout the show, he is able to show his vocal talents extend to just about any challenge one could think to put up. The performance is a thoroughly enjoyable one, mounted with excellent results from Cofield, the sound, and the lighting teams. With such quick fire wordplay, that in itself is to be admired.
The impression one is left mostly with, however, is the joyous heart and soul of the show. It’s a joy to behold not only a show so well produced but also something of such a good and affirming nature.
The story itself is an interesting one with similarities to Hot Fuzz, and Twin Peaks (though maybe that was just the red curtains?) with its exploration of small-town eccentricities and keeps the audience thoroughly engaged right up to the rapturous applause that greeted the conclusion of the performance.

Words by Liam McNally

4½ stars.
Alex Cofield: Supernova is playing at Raj House until March 4. Tickets available here.