Tulpa Looks Back Over A Month of Fringe

Another year and another Fringe has passed us by. Hundreds of acts, some of which we at Tulpa were lucky enough to go and see. A festival of passionate creatives, wonderful venues, and great celebrations of art – the Fringe is a month in which the arts take over the city. After all of this, the Tulpa team got together to enjoy and share our memories of a remarkable series of arts events.

Reviewing over thirty shows, and going to several more, we at Tulpa were able to enjoy a busy and thrilling few weeks. Recently, in the wash-up from the several weeks of late nights and enjoyable oddities, we decided to discuss what we thought of the famed Mad March.

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Just a selection of Fringe tix.

We nominated our favourite shows of the Fringe. For Taeghan Buggy, it was The Displaced of which ‘the comedic strangeness, attention to space, and skill of the performers was top notch’. For Liam McNally, How to Drink Wine Like a Wanker, a unique performance running a broad and deep range of experiences. Kayla Gaskell recalls her favourite shows as ‘a toss-up between the sexy-circus of Fuego Carnal (which I saw independent of reviewing), the classy cabaret of Anya Anastasia (which will be showcased at the Port Noarlunga Arts Centre in August), and of course, the magical musical theatre production, Little Shop of Horrors.’ Simone Corletto elects The Adelaide Office Live as her own personal favourite show.

 

The Fringe brings with it a lot of interesting shows that offer unique experiences. Where else would one have the opportunity to stroke would a 17th century man get you to stroke their sword, as was Lisandra Linde’s experience at Deviant Women: Julie d’Aubigny? Or perhaps at The Bacchae, where as Teaghan Buggy recalls, they ‘got all the men to leave the room for the final scene because they “did not have permission to see it”’, to which Taeghan adds, ‘It was so odd because that’s never happened in a play before but it was also a really great moment with the play.’ Simone notes as one of the more remarkable events of the 2018 Adelaide Fringe as when the city got its Seymour Skinner on with North Terrace’s ‘lights installation and basking under the aurora borealis, at this time of year, in this part of the country, located entirely in our museum courtyard’.

A month-long series of remarkable shows and special oddities that very certainly did not disappoint with well over one thousand shows, the Fringe was an event we all got some remarkable experiences from. Shows aplenty, Adelaide utterly transformed into the global arts hub for a city, we looked back on our shared and separate memories with fondness and another eleven months to wait until our city is once again transformed. Taking in a host of comedy, cabaret, theatre, arts installations and other thought-provoking events, the Fringe opened up a wonderful host of local and imported artists to bring their respective stories to Adelaide to share. Where else would you find a velvet-clad Shakespeare, a nun-burning pirate, and The Office come to Adelaide?

 


Words by Liam McNally with Simone Corletto, Taeghan Buggy, Kayla Gaskell, and Lisandra Linde.

A Paper Tale: The Adelaide Office Live

Corporate environments exist in their own twilight zones of meaningless buzzwords and petty politics, and as an underemployed Arts grad, I find them endlessly fascinating. What a novel idea, a stable full-time job with regular super contributions and a literal watercooler around which to gossip with co-workers!

This is the world explored in this exciting and immersive production, The Adelaide Office Live – A Paper Tale. Forget the stage, this show takes place in an actual working office, for that extra authenticity, and treats you as a part of the story, under the guise of being recruited as interns, which results in a true fly-on-the-wall experience reminiscent of its inspiration, Rickey Gervais’ highly awarded The Office. And the references to the hit TV shows (especially the superior U.S. version) are indeed heavily embedded into every aspect of the performance; from the OTT charming but barely competent boss, the prank-loving slacker pining over the cardigan-wearing receptionist, the intense and loyal-to-a-fault assistant (to the) regional manager, the tight-laced and deeply dismissive HR rep, and an overly enthusiastic young MBA grad who takes every mistake in his stride. It’s not a shot-for-shot remake, of course, but fans of the TV show will delight in each and every reference.

It’s really the little details that make this show work; the way characters continue to react and interact “off screen”, sitting amongst the audience in the sales meeting, or exchanging eye-rolls and glances while other characters are giving a lecture on the origin of paper, or having to read and sign a literal binder of HR forms for insurance purposes, and of course the classic office memes and memos littered through the performance space that very neatly mirror the politely passive aggressive ones found in every generic office (is it really a workspace if a cat isn’t telling you to hang in there?). My co-reviewer’s favourite sign was the one reminding employees not to sing in the elevator, which you quickly realise is due to the fact it echoes. All. The way. Down.

All the acting in this show is convincing and delightful. Everyone inhabits their caricatures so well that there were moments where I wasn’t sure that this wasn’t a real group interview. Special mention goes to Dwayne, and his ambushing of unsuspecting “interns” with some odd survey questions upon arrival – trust me when I say it pays off to give interesting responses – in true Schrute style, to Tim and Sam as the only two normal people in the office, and of course to the fittingly cringeworthy and overbearing Mark, who played his archetype so well he even bought his own “World’s Best Boss” mug.

This show takes all best aspects of Rickey Gervais’ creations, satirising corporate office culture by focusing on the weird and wonderful characters, and brings it to life all around you. If you love The Office, or if you work in an office and need to cathartically laugh at how ridiculous it is, you’re going to love The Adelaide Office Live – A Paper Tale.


Words by Simone Corletto.

4.5/5 stars

The Adelaide Office Live – A Paper Tale performs at 70 Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide, on the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 23rd of Feb, and the 2nd, 8th and 9th of March.

Tickets available here.