Werewolves

“As night falls on the town of Millers Hollow, there’s trouble afoot and werewolves are stalking the innocent villagers.” – Nicholas Philips

Werewolves is an interactive party game, hosted by Nicholas Philips, in which the players must find and kill the werewolves before the village is decimated. I attended the February 19 performance given at the Ruby Room at Holden Street Theatres. The experience was nothing like I thought it would be.

The premise of Werewolves is pretty good to say the least. There are several different characters: Villagers, a Seers (who can see other people’s cards), Cupid (who can make two people lovers), a Witch (who can cure or kill someone), Hunter (can kill someone before dying) and Werewolves (who kill other players). I was given the Hunter card, which saved me halfway through the game.

Werewolves is a game where the enjoyment comes from the audience. My experience was enhanced by the great audience. The people overall were engaging and enthusiastic about it. One or two people brought some unnecessarily long-winded conversations into the game, which took me out of the experience and was irritating; however, the host handled it very professionally.

Due to low numbers, the event almost didn’t happen. Thankfully, some staff members from Holden Street Theatres joined in bringing their enthusiasm.

The Werewolves experience changes with each game, which makes it a refreshing change for the Fringe. In my game, for example, our village got decimated (thanks to yours truly) and I was the only one left alive. It was these tense moments which heightened my enjoyment. Could you trust your fellow player, or should you suspect everyone?

If you’re interested in giving something different a go, or just want a fun game with strangers or friends, then Werewolves is a must see. There is a lot of enjoyment to be found within this game and is both tense and edge-of-your-seat entertaining. I would love to play Werewolves again this Fringe to see how different it is.

 

4 / 5 stars


Words by Cameron Lowe

Werewolves is on until March 15

For more information and to buy tickets, click here

Bella Green is Charging For It

It would appear that the daily mainstream media has gotten sex work all wrong. Well, we all mostly knew that already; the Murdochracy in which we live works pretty hard to cast certain groups of people in some pretty harsh lights. The accepted theory about sex work is that it empowers people. It facilitates a transfer of power from the traditional wielder to a previously marginalised minority. Bella Green insists we’ve got it all wrong, what’s empowering about this line of work is gaining the ability to sleep in until midday whilst also being able to spend $7 on a punnet of blueberries in the middle of winter. Y’know, she’s actually pretty spot-on with that logic.

Green started as a dancer at 18, and progressed to other disciplines of the industry – dominatrix, escort, peep shows, brothels, nice strip clubs, bad strip clubs, gentrified strip clubs – and has gained a pretty extensive knowledge about the do’s, don’ts, and really don’ts about a pretty taboo topic, for both patrons and employees. Like, for example, how if a person asks a sex worker about what’s the freakiest/nastiest/weirdest thing they’ve ever done, in under ten minutes that patron will undoubtedly ask to do some seriously freaky/nasty/weird activity. Which, if they’re willing to pay appropriately & not be a douchebag, can absolutely be negotiated, because for Green, this is just a job. Why not do the easiest thing in the shortest amount of time for the most money? Again, she’s making some pertinent points. Having worked ‘real’ jobs for six years, she’s happy to compare conditions, and maintains that working in a call centre for a bank definitely comes dead last.

A lot of the humour is derived from the frankness of Green, and the ease at which she talks about and deconstructs her day job. There’s a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, but the pure stand-up portions of the show probably aren’t as strong as the unfiltered observations and commentary of her industry, being as candid, blunt, and thoroughly engaging as she is, and having discovered her interest in ‘these sorts of things’ early on, any stigma is long gone. She’s also not scared of drawing attention to the wild injustices that surround it, the criminalisation of sex workers and the opprobrium levelled at those that pay for their services. A comparison between her line of work and a doctor conducting an STI test pithily asks why there isn’t an ocean of pearls being clutched for the unfortunate gynaecologist.

Look, sex is fun. Sex is funny. Being a judgey little schmuck and maintaining outdated stereotypes about these things is decidedly unfunny. Bella Green’s here to set you straight.

 

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

Bella Green is Charging For It is on at Gluttony’s Masonic Lodge until March 1

For more information and to buy tickets please click here

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

The Devil Made Me Do It

An independent production by Write Me Originals, The Devil Made Me Do It is a theatre piece interrogating the pressures of being an actor/dancer in Hollywood or even just a woman in the 1950s.

Beginning as an intermission dancer, Nancy was offered the chance of a lifetime making films with director Robert Melva. Without much thought for the consequences, she signed on sacrificing not only her name but her independence, her body, and her life to the showbiz industry. Renamed as Nora Hudson, she’s cultivated into a glamorous starlet by the production company and encouraged to take a number of pills to enhance her suitability as at actor (eg pills for weight loss and energy). Eventually she loses herself along the way, realising that nobody in the industry valued her for herself, instead they valued her for being a sex symbol.

Nancy needs to break her contract with the devil – despite the fact he laughed in her face when she suggested it, she is determined to regain her soul. Given a challenge and a countdown, Nancy must revisit memories of her past and uncover what kind of person she truly is. It might be painful, but it’s necessary if she’s ever going to have a shot at regaining her soul.

While the story appears to be Nancy’s, it is more so about the haunting figure in the background. Both Nancy’s past and present selves are overshadowed by the devil. Nancy’s devil is the devil while Nora’s is her infamous manager, Melva, who is not only controlling and demanding, he is the person Nora must please daily to maintain her path to stardom.

With some dark turns this production explores a number of issues including drug-dependence, body-image issues, and gas-lighting. The Devil Made Me Do It is an engrossing piece of performance theatre with several quite talented young actors. The piece is a warning to performers, and people in general, to be wary of what you’re signing up for and the consequences of signing a contract that might exploit you later on/ bite you on the ass.

With costuming a throw-back to the 50s and the iconic blonde-bombshell archetype, the show is a delight to watch.

 

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Kayla Gaskell

The Devil Made Me Do It is playing at the Bakehouse Theatre until February 22

For more information and to book tickets, click here

DON’T SHOOT! I’m a Vegan

DON’T SHOOT! I’m a Vegan  is a show about being sick of all the same jokes from your omnivorous friends. A cabaret-comedy opening up the conversation about what it means to be vegan. Welcoming vegans, non-vegans, and closet vegans alike, this is a something for everyone to enjoy.

Vegan Smythe is a rambunctious character, eager to share his experience of being vegan in a world which believes the term synonymous with being gluten free. For every vegan reading this, you’ve probably experienced this. Inclusive of soon-to-be-popular music such as “Where Do Your Get Your Protein?” and “Hunters Are Punts”, the show devolves from cabaret-comedy into something a little more thought provoking when we discuss the true purpose of milk and the beautiful hypocrisy of ‘all natural yoghurt’.

Smythe’s show isn’t there to preach pro-vegan messages, more so to get a good laugh out of a diverse crowd and make a mockery of the day-to-day misunderstandings that occur. At the beginning of the show Smythe acknowledges he’s going to overuse the word ‘vegan’, but how else could you present a show with vegan in the title?

A highly charismatic speaker, Smythe quickly sets you at ease. While you might at first question the black tear drop beneath his eye, his stage presence quickly reassures you that this eccentricity is not there to distract from a lack of talent, but to further compliment his character.

Filled with musical numbers, I couldn’t help but wonder: what if it were socially acceptable not only to talk but to sing about the “humane” slaughter of animals and the day-to-day gripes of being a vegan?

With a mixed audience of vegans and non-vegans, Smythe had us all in stitches by the end. Familiar in all the right ways, I think it’s fair to say just about anyone will get a kick out of this almost Peter Combe-esque comedy. I certainly think it’s the perfect-pick-me-up for the end of a long day.

5 stars


 

Words by Kayla Gaskell

Don’t Shoot I’m a Vegan is on at The Jade until March 10

For more information and to book tickets, click here

All Growed Up

Watson comes out on to the stage brandishing a fine bottle of gin, sporting a leopard-print cape and a beard to rival Ned Kelly, and launches into a staccato, rambunctious soliloquy. At 25, he got engaged. Might’ve gone all the way, picked out names for the kids, bought a house, lock, stock, the whole lot. It’s funny, he muses aloud whilst dispensing shots of gin – note to self, sit front and centre for future Zach Watson shows – how he’s ended up miles from that.

On the surface, All Growed Up is Watson’s musings on how it feels to be 33 and clawing back from the windswept par-6 that was 2019 for him. Having Evel Knievel’d himself over a planter box (that’s his story and he’s sticking to it), he shattered his wrist requiring a few month’s whack of workcover and some prescription narcotics, and the introspection that creeps in when you’ve only got the two cats that your housemates have adopted to talk to. See, by 33, his old man was married with kids and a house, and it vexed him; where was his high-school sweetheart with a meal plan? His three kids with ludicrous names? His bricklaying job in a quiet country town? How did he get here? Where is that large automobile? Watson’s debut Fringe show last year was The Zachelor, about his attempts to move on from the aforementioned fiancée and find love, so it’s only natural that All Growed Up is the realisation that adhering to some universally mandated syllabus really isn’t the solution.

Part ode to his father, part love-letter to the fine art of blazing one’s own trail, Watson clearly revels in stripping himself bare, the self-deprecation leading to the acceptance that if you’re happy telling jokes, slinging drinks, and going on the occasional surfing trip with some good mates whilst sinking biblical amounts of Cooper’s finest, then how can that be a bad thing?

Delivered with a sort of nervous energy, Watson won’t have you rolling in the aisles, he’s not that sort of comic. Some people just won’t get him, the dishevelled shirt, the wild pogoing from one topic to the other, the gleeful smile when describing his ex-boss going bankrupt, but you ain’t gotta like him. He’s Big Lebowski’s The Dude, the affable anti-hero, and really, that’s pretty alright by me.

 

3.5 / 5 stars


Words by Mikey Della Porta

All Growed Up is playing at Rhino Room until February 22

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster

It may be somewhat difficult to comprehend what can come of the words ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘beatboxing’.

Is there someone dressed like Frankenstein beatboxing? Is it just beatboxing with the word ‘Frankenstein’ thrown in? If you assumed either of those you’re be dead wrong.

In reality, what you get is an 80-minute musical spectacle from six diversely skilled and exceptionally talented performers. If beatboxing ensembles where superheroes these guys and girls would be the Avengers.

London’s very own BAC Beatbox Academy brings it’s ‘On Tour’ group to the Adelaide Fringe for Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster. Showcasing a multi-talented crew consisting of young rappers, beatboxers, and vocalists, this is a show which has to be heard to be believed.

Their approach to Mary Shelley’s original is incredibly unique, breaking down the content to three playful, entertaining, and quite socially relevant chapters. They deal with what exactly makes a monster in the modern age and how current behaviours and activities impact today’s youth. Dealing with themes of social media, body image, and mental health the show gives plenty of food for thought.

That alone is not all that Frankenstein has on offer; in addition to their narrative, they take plenty of time to interact and engage with the audience. You may find yourself part of a literal human drum machine at the hands of the group’s director, Conrad Murray (who really knows how to work a crowd). You’ll also witness plenty of tongue in cheek banter, improvisation, and short but sweet beatbox renditions of well-known songs such as Prodigy’s “Firestarter” and Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road Jack”. While the ending of the show won’t be spoiled, it is certainly a fun and heavily entertaining conclusion that guarantees no two shows will be the same.

One aspect of Frankenstein that needs to be commended is its ability to balance tone. The group can have you chuckling with glee one minute and deeply contemplative the next, a true feat in itself.

You will be scratching your head in utter bewilderment throughout as you think “how exactly are they doing that with their voices?”. You may think there is a backing track, you may think there is a DJ somewhere backstage, but there is not, they are just that damn talented.

Without a doubt, this show is a must-see for any Fringe goer in 2020.

 

5 stars


Words and photography by Isaac Freeman

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster is playing at RCC until March 15

For more information and to book tickets, click here

Kingdom of Heaven (Director’s Cut) (2005)

Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven is set in the twelfth century and follows the story of Balian (played by Orlando Bloom), loosely based on Balian of Ibelin, a crusader nobleman who lived from approximately 1143 to 1193 CE.

In the film, Balian leaves his job as a blacksmith in France in 1184 CE and goes to help the Kingdom of Jerusalem (a crusader state created in 1099 CE after the First Crusade) defend itself against Saladin, the Ayyubid Muslim Sultan.

If you haven’t seen the film before, you may think that it beats you around the head with religion, but it doesn’t. There are other elements of it that make it interesting and compelling. These include family, friendship, and politics. I think Kingdom of Heaven has a strong Game of Thrones vibe to it.

The film premiered in May 2005 and was met with mixed reviews. But director Ridley Scott disliked the theatrical cut. Before the film’s release, studio executives ordered him to cut the film down by forty-five minutes, which inevitably streamlined its narrative and placed a spotlight on Balian. Neither of these were what Scott had intended.

A few months after theatrical version was released, a director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven was released. There’s more of a focus on all the characters, not just Balian. The narrative is also more complex and has deeper meanings to it, like the bond between a mother’s love for her children, as displayed by Princess Sibylla’s (Eva Green) love for her son.

Many people agree that the director’s cut is far better than the original theatrical version. Reviewer James Berardinelli even says that “there’s no reason for anyone to watch the […] theatrical edition” since the director’s cut has been made available. I agree with Berardinelli. The director’s cut should be version of Kingdom of Heaven that people watch.

Like all films, the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven isn’t perfect. Despite having more depth and scope than the theatrical version, it can be slow at times.

The cinematography and the film’s overall production design is spectacular. Kingdom of Heaven was filmed entirely on location in Morroco and Spain. The landscapes that feature in the film mirror that of France and Jerusalem (the primary settings of the film) and seem to not have aged at all since the twelfth century. The props and costumes appear authentic, almost as if they were plucked right from the twelfth century. All this completes the ‘feel’ of the film.

Despite this, Kingdom of Heaven’s flaws hold it down. I want to like it, but it didn’t quite hit the mark in the end. But the director’s cut is still superior to the theatrical version.

I give Kingdom of Heaven three out of five.


Words by Callum J. Jones

 

References

Balian of Ibelin – A Biography, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CnJDfdLayA&gt;.

Kingdom of Jerusalem, <https://historica.fandom.com/wiki/Kingdom_of_Jerusalem&gt;.

Kingdom of Heaven (Director’s Cut) (United States/United Kingdom/Spain/Germany, 2005), <http://www.reelviews.net/reelviews/kingdom-of-heaven-director-s-cut&gt;.

 

 

A Novel Idea

A Novel Idea
Fiona McGregor

Giramondo Publishing 2019


Fiona McGregor’s photo-essay ‘A Novel Idea’ is a witty and honest examination of the often thankless and tedious work of writing a novel. From 2007 to 2010, McGregor documented herself and her workspace through photographs.

The reader follows her from her small home office to Estonia and Germany, from a desk in a secluded hut in the wilderness to sneaky photos taken in a library in Berlin. Alongside images of her workspace, and her old hand-me-down computer, McGregor ruminates on her life. Her relationship with her girlfriend, its breakdown, and her struggle to write when builders are working outside her apartment – made all the worse when they accidentally smash a hole through her wall.

She writes about the ways that her novel and life begin to intertwine, through violent dreams and the grief of loss in her life that mirrors a slow and painful death in her novel.

At times the text is raw, exposing the reader to the intimate details of McGregor’s mind and personal life. Other times her reflections are witty, tongue-in-cheek and relatable to anyone who has ever wrestled with a creative project. We see her seek out new places to work, and watch as the same struggle continues no matter where in the world she sets up her computer. Her narration gives the reader insight into the ways in which writing becomes an act of isolation, yet is still affected by the happenings of the outside world.

‘A Novel Idea’ is an interesting look into the writing process as well as a superb piece of life writing. Perhaps a little unusual, but definitely worth a read if you enjoy life writing with an experimental twist.

 

4 stars


Words by Lisandra Linde

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