Tom Skelton 2020 Visions (What if I hadn’t gone blind?)

Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes means to completely put yourself in a different point of view. To imagine a life adjacent from your own and understand how it could be seen through another’s eyes. But what if that person only has 5% vision? Enter: Tom Skelton.

Tom Skelton: 2020 Visions (What if I hadn’t gone blind?) is an insightful, hilarious, and at times sombre narrative of one man’s journey. As a VIP (Visually Impaired Person), Skelton puts the audience in his shoes, taking them on a 10 year journey in just under an hour. 2020 Visions begins with a prelude to the tale ahead, providing some minor details and encouraging the audience to laugh at the jokes being made at his expense (after all it is a comedy). Skelton then takes us from his initial diagnosis to where he is today.

The years are filled with challenges, romance, growth, and laughter. But he weaves in and out of this reality with an alternate one. A reality where he is not a VIP but a person with 2020 vision. Skelton creates a brilliant contrast as he navigates between the two and dissects his own “What if?”

In the real world he is learning strategies to better handle day-to-day tasks (such as making cups of coffee). But in the alternate he has successfully eliminated the energy crisis, obesity, and climate change in America by implementing one simple machine in every home. While he is searching for love in one, he was having a publicised romance with Taylor Swift in the other. Skelton can show you the hard realities one minute and having you laugh the next at his alternate life fantasy.

This unique perspective is one that sticks and ultimately poses an interesting question to Skelton where he asks himself what reality he wishes to inhabit. Tom Skelton: 2020 Visions (What if I hadn’t gone blind?) is an expertly crafted narrative and is a show that one takes pleasure in being in the seat for.

5 stars


Words by Isaac Freeman

Tom Skelton: 2020 Vision (What if I hadn’t gone Blind?) is showing until March 14

For more information and to purchase tickets click 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.

One Year On: Deviant Women Gear Up For Fringe 2019

Last year we talked to Alicia Carter and Lauren Butterworth, creators of the podcast Deviant Women in the lead up to their knock-out Fringe debut. One year on, and they’re getting ready to bring Deviant Women to the stage again, this time exploring the lives and legends of the infamous female pirate duo Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

On the opening night of Fringe 2019, Tulpa’s Lisandra Linde caught up with Alicia and Lauren to talk about the experience of bringing Deviant Women to the stage and their upcoming show Pirate Ladies Give No F*cks.

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Last year you did two different stage shows – Julie D’Aubigny and Madame Blavatsky – how did that go?

Alicia: Really, really well.

Lauren: Surprisingly well received. I say surprisingly well received as though we were expecting it to be poorly received, but I think it did exceed our expectations.

Alicia: Yeah, definitely. We did two entirely different shows about a week and a half apart. For the first show [Julie D’Aubigny] we were going in blind. We didn’t have any idea what it was going to be like and we were really amazed that within the first five minutes of the show the audience was responding, like, audibly.

Lauren: I remember a moment a few minutes into the show where we could see the front row really well and their faces were just very smiley and there were these big body laughs and I was just like – ‘oh wow, this is going well’.

Alicia: If something bad happened to a character that they liked, the audience would just automatically boo, or something good would happen and they would just automatically cheer. There was actually a moment standing on the stage where I was like, ‘wow, you guys are really enthusiastic’.

Lauren: We fed off their energy and I think they fed off of our energy, so by the end of the night we came off the stage and we were totally on another planet.

Alicia: And then, of course, we were worried about whether or not the second show would live up to the standards of the first show.

Lauren: Especially because we’d had less time to rehearse the second show because we’d been concentrating so much of our efforts on the first show.

Alicia: Also, with the success of the first show, we got some pretty great reviews, a lot of word-of-mouth, so the second show sold out.

Lauren: Because [Blavatsky] was such a different show – well I guess the tone was similar but – the tone of the humour was very similar but the theme of the shows were really opposite, so we weren’t sure if what worked in D’Aubigny would work in Blavatsky. D’Aubigny was so colourful and bright and energetic and quite sexy and tongue-in-cheek, whereas Blavatsky was more spooky.

Alicia: But no, it ended up being just as much of a success as the first show and, again, we got some excellent reviews – five-star reviews – and yeah, really good feedback. I think that when we say surprisingly well, it’s not because we expected them to be a flop but it’s just that they did a lot better than we’d hoped.

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You’re back again this year with a show about Anne Bonny and Mary Read called Pirate Ladies Give No F*cks. You’ve talked about both these swashbuckling ladies in your podcast in the past – what was it that made you choose to do a stage show about them?

Lauren: The thing that we learned from the last Fringe was that while we had an amazing time doing two different shows, there’s a reason why theatrical groups tend to do a show multiple times. Not two shows once each. We just wrecked ourselves doing that, so this time we wanted to do a show that had two primary characters. We didn’t just want one of us to be the main figure, and the other one of us to be the side characters like we did in the last shows. We wanted to choose a pair of women. We actually looked at a few different pairs of women from history but, to be honest, and I think that this is saying something, there weren’t that many stories that we came across of female duos. There are a lot of male duos, and every time you did find a female duo they were either just celebrity pairings or they were frenemies. You know, like the Joan Crawford and Betty Davis sort of frenemies. And we just really wanted to tell a story about female friendship as well, because that’s something that I think is really quite underrepresented.

Alicia: If you look up something like ‘best male duos’ there’s so many from history that you can find that were real men. Whereas with women, the majority of the results that we get are of fictional characters like Thelma and Louise. It wasn’t that we couldn’t find other examples, because we did find a few, but the information that was available to us about a lot of these other female duos was very limited. With Anne and Mary, where we’re lucky that we do have so much about their lives, that’s actually really quite uncommon. We loved their story as well, and we are both big fans of pirates. We like the aesthetic of being a pirate, so it didn’t take us long to decide that it was probably going to be a lot of fun and it was also going to be a lot of material that we could use.

Lauren: A lot of their exploits are quite outrageous. Their story is one that could be turned into a really fun romp, you know? It’s also a story that shows the various shades of these women as well. They’re not just pirates who were fighting alongside men on ships. They were best friends, they were potentially lovers, they had romances, they had heartbreak… They were so amazing in so many ways, but they are also full of contradictions and full of things that make people interesting. I think a big part of the Deviant Women project is trying to think of women as being three-dimensional creatures who are full of shades of light and dark – dare I say, human?

Alicia: I think that’s a part of the podcast as well as the stage show. A lot of what we do is celebrating women from history. Sometimes we think of celebrating in terms of uncovering and finding them and knowing that they exist. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re celebrating them because we’re holding them up as paragons of being amazingly wonderful people. Like, a lot of these women were quite bad people.

Lauren: To me, it’s just about breaking down those myths of femininity, breaking down those dualities and binaries that confine women to being one thing or another.

Alicia: It’s about finding that area where you don’t have to be a wonderful person in order for us to celebrate your existence.

Lauren: And these two women are really good examples of that.

Your shows mix a lot of elements, from sketch comedy to animation and even audience participation. How much work goes into creating a show with this much stuff going on?

Alicia: Actually, we’ve added a new element to this [year’s] show. We’ve branched out into the world of musicals.

Lauren: Song and dance numbers are now making their debut on the Deviant Women stage.

Alicia: We didn’t think we had enough crammed into the shows last year. So this time we thought we’d do a bit of a musical number.

Lauren: We were also really lucky this year to have another couple of artists approach us and want to get involved in the show as well so we’ve got two designers and animators who have come onboard to help us out with some of our visuals and animations this year – Levi George and Lisa Vertudaches – we’ve been able to work with them which has been really fun.

Alicia: They’ve been very generous with their time and they’ve given us some really awesome animations that we’ve thrown into the mix with some of our own crap animations.

Lauren: Of course, we couldn’t not try our hand at animation. A different form this time. So last year we had stop-motion claymation and shadow puppets. There’s a new one in the mix this year.

 

You obviously do a lot of historical research for every show (and podcast). How do you find the balance between the information you want to share about these women and the more comedic elements of the show?

Lauren: Okay, so this story, as with our two previous stories (D’Aubigny and Blavatsky), had historical facts about them that were verifiable in the historical record, but they were also both surrounded in myth and legend as well. I think it’s that space [between fact and myth] that allows us that creativity and a chance to play and have fun with their stories. We’re very upfront about the fact that A, B, and C is historical fact, and D and E are apocryphal stories. I think we’re both really interested in not simply the historical figures, but we’re interested in storytelling. We’re interested in the ways that stories about women are told, and the way that historical figures become mythologised.

Alicia: When we find gaps in the narrative, or we find interactions with other people that have been merely suggested or hinted at, it’s taking those other characters around them as well and then creating something out of it. So one of them might have a dalliance with a lover or something, and that’s about as much as you get. And that gives you so much freedom to make anything you like out of that lover because there’s nothing in the history books to tell you about them. We kind of create these characters that would have been around them as well.

Lauren: And those characters often become symbols for the feminist undercurrent of the show. Quite often we’re lampooning particular stereotypes. Particularly around things like toxic masculinity or sexual politics.

What’s your favourite part of bringing these shows to life? And what do you look forward to most in doing the show this year?

Alicia: I’m looking forward to it being over so that we can sleep [laughs]. No, my favourite part of the show is bringing to life the visual aspects. I love it when we get stuck into the costuming and the sets. What I like is the idea that you come along to the show and hopefully we can transport you to a different time. I really enjoy putting together those visual cues.

Lauren: I kind just live for that moment on stage. Performing transports you to a totally different dimension, you know? I’m a totally different person on stage than I am in face-to-face conversation. I’m really in love with the Lauren that comes out when she’s on stage. I wish she would come out more in everyday life because she is very confident, she’s very playful and she’s very over-the-top. I really love being her. Having the chance to really lean into the performing and feeding off of the energy of people, kind of getting that sense that you’re sharing an experience with people through this thing that you’re doing. That’s just such an enormous high, and I really love it.

Alicia: That’s why we came back and decided to do it again this year. That’s the thing about live performance in general, isn’t it? That you create something there in the moment that’s very ephemeral but that everyone in the room is sharing. So I think that’s what keeps us going.

 


Deviant Women will be performing at the Adelaide Fringe on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of February. You can grab your tickets here. You can learn more about Deviant Women and their podcast on their website, or listen on iTunes. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Tulpa thanks Deviant Women creators Alicia Carter and Lauren Butterworth for taking the time to speak with us. Interview conducted and transcribed by Lisandra Linde.

Maggot

Maggot is plainly and simply one of those oddities the Fringe is so good at offering up. Confusing, bizarre, and thoroughly enjoyable, it’s a show to seek out in its short run at Raj House. The three performers, Elle Wootton, Angela Fouhy and Freya Finch, offer up a series of unusual characters in truly strange situations, with some characters recurring throughout the sketch series.

It’s a polished performance but the quick wit of the performers allows for unexpected events and audience responses to add to the show rather than interfere. I’m somewhat at a loss of how to describe the show as it sits apart quite separate from nearly anything else. Using enigmatic sketches and blurring the lines between scenes, it has something Monty Python like about it and something quite like British cult classic Absolutely Fabulous. Maggot is never derivative, though. It is, unashamedly, utterly, its own thing and all the better for it. It expertly plays to the three performers’ substantial talents.

The show is delightfully strange, confusing, and absurd. A thorough triumph of absurdist comedy like this is a rare treat. They kept the audience laughing from beginning to end with their unique blend of absurdist comedy.

Plenty of audience interaction ensures everything is kept fresh and unpredictable which seems the perfect state for a performance of this nature. The venue, the Board Room at Raj House, keeps the setting close and only aids in breaking down the barriers between performer and audience, between one sketch and the next, between the normal and the bizarre. This show takes the audience to a strange and wonderful place that is at times too weird to fully understand, but always enjoyable.

If you’re prepared to delight in the strange and let your expectations be frequently thwarted, this is the show for you.

 


Words by Liam McNally

4 stars.

Maggott is playing at RAJOPOLIS on March 18. Tickets available here.

In Conversation with: BAD [w]OMEN

After a tremendous performance of BAD [w]OMEN: Mirrors, Tulpa wanted to get in contact with BAD [w]OMEN’s Jennie Hall to have a chat and find out how their show came to be. 

 

Why the Adelaide Fringe as a place for your show?

We love the Adelaide Fringe – two of us have worked as staff here for the last few years and it’s such a unique and exciting festival. Given our history working for the festival too, we felt like we understood its dynamic and had enough good people behind us here. It’s also not quite as intimidating as Edinburgh in terms of a place to debut a show, so it was a no brainer!


How did the show originate? All three of you? A conversation? Did you seek out other collaborators after the original idea? 

We all separately wanted to do a show, and then one drunken night at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, we just committed to it together. The group has always been just us three – we all had such a similar idea about what we wanted the show to be, and Chloe and Rosie had previously done comedy together, so it seemed perfect!



What’s the deal with the silver morphsuits? It’s an Adelaide summer!

Yeah look, we didn’t think that one through properly – haha! There’s a couple of reasons. The show is called Mirrors because we hope that audiences see something of themselves or a world they recognise in our satire, so getting reflective suits was a fun way to visualise that. Also it’s important to us to have a brand and visibility. A lot of people stop us and ask what we’re doing, or say they’ve seen us around and it’s because we’re recognisable.

 


Why should people come to see your show? What sets it apart?

Our show is a sketch show with a twist – it’s an attempt at something new, and at making something that sends a message without being preachy. We’re massive on taking the piss out of people to take away the power they hold and I think that’s quite unique in terms of a Fringe show. Also there’s party poppers, glitter and amazing tunes!!

 


If you could go back in time, what would you tell/warn yourselves of, in the making of the show? 

Potentially get more breathable costumes!! Honestly think if we could go back in time, we’d maybe actually give ourselves a little more time. Doing a season with a brand new show is always hard, and inevitably it gets really intense. We’d probably tell ourselves to just give ourselves a break a little bit more – rest, spend time alone, eat well and try and stay healthy mentally and physically!

 


Interview by Liam McNally.

Thanks to Jennie Hall and the BAD [w]OMEN team.

BAD [w]OMEN: Mirrors

You know what takes dedication? Wearing a silver latex jumpsuit outdoors on a sticky Adelaide evening. The ladies of BAD w[OMEN] had no trouble running, jumping, dancing and beating one another up with plastic baseball bats in their silver outfits, even with the humidity bearing down on us like a musty cave bear.

 

BAD w[OMEN] has all the trademarks of a standard sketch show – from handmade props and costumes to slapstick and easily recognisable archetypes of characters for each scene. But this show also went beyond the standard – tying all the seemingly unrelated sketches together into an insanely interconnected storyline.

 

What’s more, sketch by sketch the audience was exposed to a strong underlying theme of feminism and women’s struggles against workplace sexism – dished out left, right and centre by the recurring voice-over of sketch-show boss and first-class sleaze-bag ‘Dave’. The show tackled the really meaty issues of women’s day-to-day struggles through punchy and provoking humour that never felt preachy yet stuck with us well after the show was finished. This was definitely more than a run-of-the-mill sketch show. This was something more ambitious, and more satisfying to watch. It was comedy with substance – and that’s always something worth sticking around for.

 

This is a show that gets the audience engaged with the characters of the story – something which is unusual for a sketch show but which played out triumphantly for BAD w[OMEN]. With each passing scene the audience found themselves wondering what would happen to our Spanish lesson heroine Maria, or the book club of bubbly-guzzling newly-minted feminists. And when we weren’t seeing the strings of these stories come together we were treated to some sensual Fringe box-office service, an intense Harry Potter rendition and the antics of the Producers’ own resident ghost.

 

Over-the-top, sharp, timely and non-stop funny, this show is a must-see for lovers of comedy and people looking for something rather different yet oddly familiar to sink their teeth into. It’s comedy with heart and balls (the lady kind). In BAD w[OMEN]’s own words, ‘join us as we tackle the big stuff. And the small stuff. Because when you take the piss, you take the power.’

 


Words by Lisandra Linde

4.5 Stars.

BAD [w]OMEN is playing at The Producers until March 2 (except Mondays). Tickets are available here.