The sheer magnitude and diversity of shows at the Adelaide Fringe can be somewhat daunting. Making things more confusing, many of the best performances have short runs and stylistically don’t fit into one set category. As a result they fall through the gaps and unfortunately can be easy to miss. And we don’t want that!
But don’t stress because to make things easier, we will be bringing you bite sized Fringe guides to help you decide which shows you should see! And this one is all about the music!
Here are five shows that are predominantly music-based but offer something extra and unusual to varying extremes. Check out these under-the-radar Fringe shows that take live music performance to some new and interesting places:
Godfrey Uke’s Tin Pan Alley. The Popeye 3 – 26th, 27th and 28th of Feb.
What’s it all about? A solid hour-and-a-half of snappy riverboat jazz, razor-sharp comedy, local edible delicacies and a fully stocked bar. This show emulates a Great Gatsby-era party aboard the iconic Popeye, transformed into a floating cabaret venue for Fringe. ‘Tin Pan Alley’ is full of big laughs, great food and high-energy swing music from a bygone era.
What’s the music like? Whatever your age or tastes you’re sure to know many of these hugely influential songs by the likes of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin. You won’t be able to resist tapping your feet or even engaging in some unabashed chair-dancing to a non-stop string of catchy numbers that hark back to a time remembered for both inhibition and prohibition.
What makes it unique? It’s staged on a boat (The Popeye) cruising the River Torrens, specially stocked with a fine selection of food and alcoholic bevvies. The ticket price (just $50) includes a light three-course meal and drink on arrival.
A Night At The Musicals. Garden of Unearthly Delights – Studio 7 12 Feb – 13 March.
What’s it all about? When UK drag icon and artiste extraordinaire Jonny Woo teams up with Adelaide Festival darling Le Gateau Chocolat, you can expect fireworks. And hilarity. And shady shenanigans. Basically you can expect a night of unadulterated musical theatre nonsense. Sounds right up our alley!
What’s the music like? Jonny Wu and Le Gateau will drag through (pun totally intended) the back catalogue of fabulous musicals. Touching on some ballsy ballads, delightful duets and slaughtered show tunes. Heck, we might even join in! Especially when we hear that songs from The Lion King may feature in the show…
What makes it unique? Basically everything makes this show unique…
Counterpoint. The Jade Monkey – 14th and 20th of Feb. and 2nd of March.
What’s it all about? Counterpoint is the latest show from Adelaide collaborative, mixed-arts company ‘We As Art, We As Artists’, fresh from the 2016 Perth Fringe Festival. A sensual treat, Counterpoint combines dynamic movement, violin, percussion, voice, body paint, visual art and acro-yoga.
What’s the music like? This progressive show is founded upon twelve originally written songs drawing inspiration from a variety of musical styles, the songs are contrasting in mood, pace and form.
What makes it unique? Dancers Sarah Pearce and Antonio Inserra with their bodies vividly painted for the performance. Dynamic yoga and acro-yoga which accompanies the live music. Work by local visual artist Wendy Webb is also displayed during the performance. Expect an entirely synesthetic experience.
Old Tech New Decks. Hains and Co. – select dates 12th-25th of Feb.
What’s it all about? Awarded the Best Music prize at the 2015 Melbourne Fringe, ‘Old Tech New Decks’ is 60 minutes of quirky, nostalgic and playful New Music using the sounds of old technology. It’s a playful yet serious extravaganza.
What’s the music like? Ever wondered if typewriters make good percussion instruments? Or if a Nokia ring tone would have an emotive resonance with listeners? Or if a beeping DOS game could be live mixed into a musical score? These are just some of the sounds weaving their way through this blast from your aural past. While the music is admittedly playful, it still has a classical music approach.
What makes it unique? It’s strangely nostalgic. Audience members play computer games, and are immersed in a melodic musical score with memories of times and technology gone by. The audience is invited to join focus on each antiquated machine.
Facemeat. Ancient World – 26th, 27th and 28th of Feb.
What’s it all about? Not for the faint hearted. Following a successful 2015 Adelaide Fringe run, abrasive yet captivating Sydney based seven-piece ‘Facemeat’ returns for their second Adelaide Fringe Festival appearance. The band is touring its debut album ‘Questions For Men’, which deals with the more abject elements of modern masculinity, such as violence, jealousy, anxiety and rage. It is at times political and rarely sweet.
What’s the music like? Facemeat is uncompromising and unsettling. It’s close to an hour of challenging, exciting and energetic music delivered by a group composed of jazz regulars, a wedding singer, and a heavy and hard rhythm section.
What makes it unique? To be an audience member at a Facemeat show is to take on an unsettling emotional journey, ultimately to find yourself nodding your head or shaking your hips – perhaps even to your horror. It’s not a theatre show, although it is highly dramatized.
Facemeat is a free event – but are you prepared to take the plunge?
Happy Fringe Festival-ing! Also check out our guide with the five funny Fringe shows that you need to see this year!