Adelaide Fringe

Based On A True Story

Happy son and his fatherMulti-award winning local theatre company Ladykillers are presenting a show in this year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival.  This work, entitled Based On A True Story will be playing at The Ed Castle; and best coined as indie-rock-music-theatre, it has been created in an exceptional way.

“We are intrigued by fathers – the complex roles they play in our lives, whether present or absent, beloved or estranged. The show grew from an idea from Ladykillers’ director Ingrid Voorendt; what would happen if we set up a website and got people to anonymously contribute stories about fathers, then took this text, put a theatre company and a rock band in a rehearsal room together and started playing? We wanted to make a show that had the intensity of a rock gig combined with the subtlety and complexity of a theatre production” (Ladykillers).

Ladykillers asked celebrated Melbourne art-indie rock band Hope Diamond to come on board, and the project was launched at the 2008 Adelaide Fringe when 2000 fortune cookies were released, all containing cryptic questions about fathers and a website address: On this website, members of the public were invited to anonymously submit stories, musings, secrets, late night confessions, pictures, memories and dreams about fathers. The response has been huge. 

This gathering of information fed three intensive periods of research and development, through residencies at The Performance Space, Sydney; The Arts Centre, Melbourne (through Full Tilt); and Arthur Boyd’s artist residency program at Bundanon, NSW. The result is a performance that defies convention; a theatrical production disguised as a pub gig containing Ladykillers’ trademark complexity, compassion, sophistication and dark humour.

Audiences will be treated to renowned performers Astrid Pill (Adelaide Critics Circle Award Winner) and Vincent Crowley (Where the Wild Things Are, 2009) joined on stage by Hope Diamond – Zoë Barry, Jed Palmer and Richard Andrew. Hope Diamond’s unique style of lush, filmic, shoegaze pop and rock will feature in a song cycle written specially for the production. 

“We are interested in the power and emotional intensity of live music and the performative possibilities inherent in this medium.  We are using a performance style common to stand-up and live music and not so common in theatre” director Ingrid Voorendt says. 

Ladykillers’ multi award winning designer Gaelle Mellis has transformed the band room at The Ed Castle to the scene of a family celebration that has perhaps gone on a little too long – the decorations looking worn, people are getting tired and emotional…

If Ladykillers proven track record in delivering evocative, engaging, curious and compelling theatre is not enough in itself to entice one to see this work, then let it be to witness this new kind of performance montage: a highly musical, spatially composed series of connected, overlapping images, songs and texts; or let it be for an exploration into our perceptions of fathers; how does your relationship with your father really compare to that of others? 

If you’re really brave, why not bring your own dad along?

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