The 2014 Adelaide Fringe features a record 966 events, including 342 Fringe events outside the CBD. It gets bigger each year and for many, it gets more and more overwhelming, especially when there’s the Adelaide Festival, WOMADelaide and Writers’ Week to choose from too.
Returning favourites are easy to choose, but arts festivals are also about taking a chance and finding new favourites for the future. There are too many events to mention so I thought it might help if I could summarise many of the media releases we’re receiving, in no particular order, to help you make more informed choices about what to see and do. Naturally, I won’t be able to cover every show, but I’ll do my best to highlight those shows which are sending us their information.
Today, I thought I’d start with some of my own personal recommendations. Albeit, most are comedies, but in coming editions, I’ll be letting you know about a much wider range. At the top of my personal list this year is I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe, written and performed by Dawson Nichols. He brought this show to the Fringe around 10 or more years ago and it has stuck with me all these years. It’s a one-man tour de force about a psychiatric patient who believes he might be the famous author. The writing and acting is incredibly powerful and poetic. Dawson is also reprising his original play Virtual Solitaire, which is another show that I highly recommend.
On the flip side is The Joy Protocol. Local comedian and Life Coach, Maggie Wood, is using her skills in both arenas to entertain and teach us how happiness can help us thrive. Maggie is an acquaintance of mine but I’ve seen her in action with both hats on and I’ve always been impressed. I’m all for self-improvement and laughter, and she knows her stuff.
More than half a century ago, The Golden Girls of the day were Ada & Elsie, two cheeky, risqué and sharp tongued dames that ruled the radio airwaves. Listening to old recordings, I can’t help but laugh out loud so this world premiere stage production is a revival that’s in my personal top three!
For campy comedy, I’m bouncing with anticipation for the South Australian premier of Xanadu – The Musical. Who can forget the Olivia Newton-John film about a Muse who falls for a human and roller-skates into his heart?! This production is coming to us from the same team who presented two successful seasons of Altar Boyz – The Musical last year.
Melbourne troupe, Drags Aloud, have never disappointed me and, although I’ve never been a huge fan of drag, these gals always have me falling out of my chair with laughter. Two of the troupe are back this year with Drags Aloud Mandy and Ca Ca Show and while it sounds like a different format from usual, I’d recommend giving them a go based on the strength of their past shows.
In decades gone by when I tread the boards, one of the most fun shows I performed in was a touring production of Speakeasy: An Extravaganster. It’s a no-brain, cheeky musical-comedy set during prohibition. The same troupe who wrote and produced it back then have updated the story and are reviving it after all these years! It’s going to be a hoot seeing it from the audience this time and laughing as hard as they did back in my time!
If you missed the premiere of Wolf Creek The Musical last year, you’ve got a second chance to die laughing this year (right about the same time that the movie sequel is hitting our cinema screens). I expected a disaster but came away talking and laughing about it for weeks afterwards. It was my surprise hit of 2013. Let it be yours this year but be prepared for the most insane riot of nonsense and cheap sets that you can imagine!
Stand-up comedians are always rife at the Fringe but thankfully there’s something for all ages including my favourite kid’s comedian Mr Snot-Bottom. His Stinky Silly Show had me screeching like the six year olds, so his new show is one that’s bound to please families with young kids. Other great comedians I love (for adults) include the very naughty Lori Bell and the innovative Jason Chong.
Last year, the spectacular circus show, Limbo, sold out but you’ve got another chance this year. It’s one of the bigger, pricier shows of the Fringe, but it will simply take your breath away with both its stunts and overall presentation.
I sit on my butt enough at work so I’m always keen to stretch my legs, making the Walking Tours of great interest to me. Xavier Toby’s comedy walking tour, When We Were Idiots, and Guru Dudu’s twist on an old favourite, the Silent Disco Walking Tour both sound like they’re worth a try.
In the end it all comes down to personal taste, time and money but if you’re short on the last two requisites, make a point of catching a couple of those wonderful 15-minute, $5 pop-up shows at The Garden of Unearthly Delights. They start every half hour or so and you can only buy your tickets at the venue door. They’re usually great value and lots of fun.
There’s so many more shows I’d love to recommend but instead, keep a watch for more round-ups coming soon.