The Hipster- A musical for people who don’t like musicals

With the smell of freshly brewed beer in the air, man buns, and neck beards a plenty, I could sense the excitement of something outside of the cultural mainstream. This was the scene for The Hipster- A musical for people who don’t like musicals.

The Hipster is an enjoyable poke at our ritualistic Adelaide lives, with a focus on cliché Adelaide personas such as bearded hipsters, beloved bogans and mullet-wielding tradies.

Seated amongst the shiny silos of the Little Bang Brewing Company, the show made a strong entrance with the song ‘Adelaide’s Great’. Other cheeky tunes such as ‘Retro Dick’ and ‘The Centrelink Song’ were nearly overwhelmed by the laughter as they bounced off the brewery walls. The Hipster immediately connects with the innate Adelaide subculture inside each individual audience member and offers it a craft beer in a mason jar.

The show follows Chester as he decides to start his own craft beer brewery, the Brown Freckle Brewing Co, with his friends Wolfgang, Seb and Frankie. Unfortunately it’s not so easy as he competes with noisy neighbours, the local Hindley Street gentleman’s club, Fuzzy Holes.

The show’s accompanying music was high-quality, with an impressive range of vocal talent from the performers and a live band providing surround sound to each song, and in between, with gusto.

Hysterically unique and woven with a patchwork of Adelaide truths, The Hipster was enjoyable and all too relatable. An interesting mix of puns, gourmet food, and a journey to finding oneself; the show even featured some sultry burlesque!

The Hipster brought a breath of fresh, comedic air to the genre of musicals, and provided a perfect way to end my Fringe season this year. I recommend this show to anyone that lives in Adelaide (with parental guidance of course). The light-hearted nature of the show means that anyone can appreciate this hilarious humour. I give this show 4 and a half stars for making my night!

4.5 / 5 stars


Words by Sarah Ingham

The Hipster- A musical for people who don’t like musicals season has now ended
To find out more about this production, visit their website

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

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

Review: Wild Rose

Wild Rose follows Glaswegian Rose-Lynn Harlan on her journey to become a country star, despite being recently released from prison and being a single mother to two young children. This is a classic rags to riches narrative that country music is so fond of. Played by Jesse Buckley, Rose-Lynn is a bright disaster of a person – she’s talented but can’t seem to make her big break and doesn’t seem capable of taking on her own responsibilities, including caring for her children. The odds are stacked against her and we spend much of the film rooting for her.

 
Despite country music and Rose-Lynn’s deep love for the genre – she even has ‘three cords and the truth’ tattooed on her forearm – the film doesn’t take many pains to flesh that relationship out. Rose-Lynn doesn’t write her own music, or play guitar, or even seemingly to have an attachment to a specific musician. Country has a deep tradition of heartache and you could draw a parallel between the lives of Hank Williams and Rose-Lynn. Williams was the granddaddy of country and damaged many of his relationships with his mother, estranged wife, and his sobriety, in order to play at the Nashville Opry stage. Rose-Lynn has much of the same ambition and her goal throughout was to make it to Nashville, and when she succeeds she even sneaks onto the Opry stage and sings a song before being kicked out. However, because the film doesn’t discuss or show the importance of Nashville to stars like Hank Williams or Dolly Parton, the moment feels less than emphatic, lost in translation.

 
The same could be said of the relationships closer to Rose-Lynn’s day to day life. Her relationship with her children always feels slightly estranged, even when the film makes a turn and she makes more of an effort to know them. In part this is due to a lack of characterisation and history. We never really know very much about the children, other than they’re something tying Rose-Lynn to Scotland, stopping her from her pursuing her dreams full-time. We also never really understand the situation that saw Rose-Lynn with two young children under the age of ten. Rose-Lynn also has a boyfriend who seems to disappear entirely before the third-act and doesn’t offer much at all in the way narratively.

 
The richest relationships Rose-Lynn has are between the woman she cleans for and her own mother. Rose-Lynn’s mother wants her to settle down and take responsibility for herself and her children, while her boss is the only person actively encouraging her to pursue her country career. The two women are opposing forces in the singer’s life, and ultimately she decides to try and find a middle ground.

 
Despite the wobbly characterisation, Wild Rose is home to some very funny, sweet moments. Jesse Buckley brings a lot of brightness and spunk to Rose-Lynn and sings very sweetly. Mostly, Wild Rose made me want to listen to Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ at volume and dance around my room. I’d recommend this film if you’re looking for some light fun and some country heartache.

 


Words by Riana Kinlough
3/5

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.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

After watching the original Mamma Mia, we were left feeling jolly and warm. Not only was I feeling jolly after Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, but I felt as if I had been filled to the brim with sunshine. Our good friend Ol Parker, director of both Mamma Mia extravaganzas, did the job, and did it well.

Our narrative picks up where we left off on the idyllic, fantasy Greek island of Kalokairi (yes I legitimately thought it was a real place too) – boy, is it good to be back! This time, in a 110-minute feature, viewers are gifted with both a prequel and a sequel in one – the holes in the past are filled, and the future is unravelling before our eyes. To the dismay of many, the character of Donna – Meryl Streep’s original role as the much loved, overall-wearing, ‘dancing queen’ – had passed on. Instead, we see Sophie, Donna’s daughter played by Amanda Seyfried, battle with the grief of losing her mother. Paralleling the events of the present, we see flashbacks to the late 1970s where a youthful Donna, portrayed by Lily James, lives out the events which lead to the ‘three-possible-dads’ scenario – Donna falls pregnant, but the father is unknown. Along the journey, you will see the downright awkwardness of young love, the allure of summer romances, and the enteral love that is found in a soul-mate (of the romantic, platonic, and filarial kind).

James had big boots to fill. Not only was she climbing into the character of Donna Sheridan, one of the most loved female protagonists in musical theatre history, but she was to be completing the backstory of a character once played by the queen of the craft herself: Meryl Streep. James’ ability to combine effortless charm with an attractive serenity, while including a side of youthful excitement, made for an endearing portrayal of young Donna. Her performance was the perfect complement to Steep’s work in the first film. You can’t help but fall in love with her character.

As the film rolls on, all the fan favourites come into focus and take us on a trip down memory lane – we loved the characters once, and we were more than ready to love them again. Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colin Firth return to the screen as Sam, Bill, and Harry, respectively, and are still in tip-top shape as they bumble about and bring interesting vocal qualities to the film. There is a continuity in the casting that is satisfying and appealing. We also get to know Harry, Sam and Bill in their youth; this casting was a spectacular feat. Jeremy Irvine, Josh Dylan, and Hugh Skinner took our collective breath away as our three dashing dudes: their performances effectively realised the imagined pasts of the leading men. And we cannot forget Julie Walters and Christine Baranski, who return as Rosie and Tanya, Donna’s greatest friends – Walters and Baranki’s performances have not withered with time. As fabulous in their old age as they were in their youth, these characters bring additional layers of sensitivity, sass, and sexiness to the smorgasbord of extraordinary personalities.

With every flare, platform shoe, and atrociously patterned outfit, the dance moves get better and better. They are groovy and visually appealing. They capture the past as well as the present, and appear to allow for the actors to genuinely enjoy their work. I speak specifically of the free-style dancing from Brosnan, Skarsgård and Firth, which generated laughs from every corner of the theatre. In case you were wondering, the soundtrack is available on all streaming platforms (I’ve checked and downloaded). Aside from a few classics – ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ included – the soundtrack is fresh, and the songs fit seamlessly amidst the storyline – credit must be given to the writers, Catherine Johnson, Richard Curtis, and Ol Parker.

This film finishes in a way that is uniquely Mamma Mia. The ensemble, dressed in ABBA themed costumes, crank out ‘Super-Trooper’ and viewers see the cast, half themselves and half in character, genuinely having the time of their lives. Old versions of characters are dancing with young versions of themselves, Cher is shuffling along in pumps, and even Streep is there joining in on the fun (just a warning, get the tissues out for her return…I sobbed a little).

And to finish, beneath the ‘Waterloo’s and ‘Fernando’s, there is something empowering within this film. We see a young woman travel solo across the world to ‘make memories’ (a concept that still has fear surrounding it today). We see this same woman engage in relationships and catch feelings in ways that are familiar, but are not always accepted. We see this woman keep friendships (and female friendships at that) which last a lifetime. And finally, we see her raise a child, successfully, on her own. All the while we get an ABBA soundtrack as background music for this narrative (what a win).

The way I see it, this film wasn’t produced for critics, and it doesn’t demand to be showered with awards and accolades. It was made for the regular people out there who, amongst their busy and stressful lives, deserve to go and see a film that makes them want to groove their socks off.

Also, a penny for the thoughts of some Adelaide viewers:

‘We thought it was a lot more slick than the first movie. The choreography was polished, and the songs fit the storyline perfectly.’ – Rachael

‘Slow start but once you’re in, you’re in! And by in, we mean up and dancing.’ – Kat

‘It was so spectacular and so pure!’ – Andrew

‘It’s rare that a sequel is just as joyful and full of excitement and soul as the original!’ – Christina

‘It’s just pure, unadulterated fun!’ – Dana

 


Words by Michelle Wakim.

James Donald Forbes McCann: McCann-dle in the Wind

The creator of one of my favourite Fringe shows, Wolf Creek the Musical, as well as The Sound of Nazis the Musical, James McCann returns to the Adelaide Fringe with his latest stand up offering, McCann-dle in the Wind.

Cobbling together anecdotes, observations and self-depreciating ramblings, we are given a real insight into the trials and tribulations of the comedy world. McCann meanders from topics, not always in a logical order, but the journey is nonetheless entertaining.

His strength here lies in the brief inclusions of his musical comedy, especially his song featuring a particular pot plant. His tales of working in a call centre might hit a little too close to home for anyone else who has had the misfortune to find themselves in that environment, including this reviewer, but for everyone else it’s bound to prove a hilarious waypoint.

Rambling, disorganised comedy sets can definitely work as a structure, but it didn’t quite hit the mark this time. There are real gems in this show but the overall set could use a little more polishing to truly take off. Regardless, this is a good show. McCann is a skilled performer with natural charisma. And if you also want an excuse to check out this year’s hottest new venue, Raj House, then this show is certainly a great drawcard.

 


Words by Simone Corletto.

3/5 stars

James Donald Forbes McCann: McCann-dle in the Wind is playing at Rhino at Raj at 8pm every night until March 17th. Tickets available here.

Scarred for Life

As we went into the wonderful venue that is the Lab at Queen’s Theatre, hospital-style hair nets were handed out. This method of blurring the lines between performance and real life pays off in spades due to the strength of the show itself.

Being capable of eliciting anxiety, joy, and a whole gamut of emotions is a remarkable skill and one that Josh Belperio masters to great effect in Scarred for Life. A tour de force of musical talent, the performance balances both the intrinsic skill Belperio exhibits but also plays to his strengths to charm the audience. Quite a charismatic performer, Belperio is aided by excellent production to tell a story that weaves between emotional weight and lighter humorous turns. The shifting of tone could easily have been mismanaged but no emotional turn feels abrupt.

The production is perfectly geared to maximise the strength of Belperio’s story. Watching this performance is a powerful experience and is ultimately an uplifting one that will surely see the audience leave on an emotional high.

Charting trauma, anxiety, and recovery, it’s impossible to avoid the seriousness of the situations but Scarred for Life is able to measure the humour to perfection. The blend that results from this artistic measuring of themes is a special one. The story is a worthy one, the themes universal (even if not the actual experiences, hopefully) and the production pitched to perfection bring out the pre-existing strengths of the show. Undeniably, this is an engaging and charming performance mounted to perfectly play on the substantial strengths of Josh Belperio as a performer and Scarred for Life as a performance.

Seeing Scarred for Life in the same day as Mental as Everything only added to the experience as both shows complimented each other with their shared themes and ethos. I’m sorry to say that both shows are now ended but hopefully they will not keep us waiting and the wonderful and unique performance staged at the Lab at Queen’s Theatre will return before long and not starve the audiences of such great marvels.

 


Words by Liam McNally

4½ stars.

Little Shop of Horrors

Little shop… Little shoppa horrors… Little shop… Little shoppa terrors…

 

Oh right. The review!

Without a doubt this has to be one of my favourite musicals. In saying that I am probably biased as I’ve seen three separate performances in the last three years.

 

The storyline follows the meek Seymour, an ex-street-urchin-come-shop-assistant at Mushnick’s Flowers after he discovers a strange an interesting new plant: the Audrey II. Naming the plant after the beautiful shop-girl Seymour is crushing on, things appear to be looking up for Seymour. That is, until Audrey’s boyfriend, an abusive dentist appears to take her away. Meanwhile the Audrey II is suffering and while tending to the plant Seymour discovers its dark secret, the plant has a taste for blood! Before he can do anything, Seymour is swept up in a whirlwind of interviews and lecturing tours as his discovery of a new and interesting plant is publicised. Where would he be without the plant?

 

Unlike either of the performances I’ve seen previously, The Adelaide Theatre Company uses a massive cast of junior dancers and singers as backup dancers, adding to the fun of the show.

 

Being part of the audience on Saturday night was a privilege and a wonder. There was so much energy in the hall and it was clear that may of the performers onstage were enjoying themselves. It was an almost flawless performance, the only slip up being well recovered from. Throughout the show the whole crowd was buzzing with energy, even dancing along as the theme music returned signalling the end of intermission and giving a standing ovation at the conclusion of the show.

 

Just remember folks, whatever you do, don’t feed the plants!

 


Words by Kayla Gaskell.

Five stars.

Little Shop of Horrors is playing at the Norwood Concert Hall at 2:30pm and 7:30pm Sunday 4th of March. Tickets available here.

Scientology the Musical

I have a blanket rule to always check out any show at the Fringe titled “____ the Musical”. This has so far always led to a good, entertaining 50 minute spectacle combining excellent original music and solid character performances parodying or mocking their subject. Scientology the Musical is no exception.

Presented by local production group George Glass, this production spends a good deal pointing out the ridiculousness of Scientology as well as everyone’s favourite legal religion, including its founder, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. We are presented with four characters, Susan (Alister McMichael), Steve ‘O’ (Daniel Murnane), Cookie (Nicolas Conway) and their leader Braden (Brad Price), as four loyal believers in the teachings of Dianetics. These characters also double as band members, joined by Henry Gazzola on drums, jumping seamlessly from jokes to music and an impressive number of costume changes. The music was reminiscent of a variety of rock bands, from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to the Beatles, proving themselves versatile musicians. There were some sound issues, where the instruments seemed to overpower the vocalists, making it difficult to understand some of the lyrics, but this improved over the course of the evening. The drone of outside noise was also an issue, but that can hardly be helped when performing in a tent – so sit in the front rows if you want the best experience.

The story itself was a lot looser than a traditional musical. Instead of a clear plot, we’re introduced to each character and their reason for embracing Scientology, a whole lot of jokes and monologues, and why they each are eager to uncover the secrets inside the briefcase of the totally true origins of the universe. And the payoff here is well worth it, especially if you’ve never seen or read anything about Scientology before.

There were times when jokes stretched on a little too long, and characters were a bit too over the top, but overall this was a thoroughly enjoyable show. Regardless of your beliefs (unless you’re a Scientologist, I suppose) you’ll enjoy this light-hearted and witty comedy musical.


Words by Simone Corletto

Four stars.

Scientology the Musical is performing at The Speakeasy in Gluttony on the 17th of Feb to the 4th of March. Tickets available here.