Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 25th February 2017
Amanda Palmer is her own genre.
Sometimes described as a “punk-cabaret artist”, Palmer is a singer-songwriter-performer-writer-subversivemadwoman and all-round babe. A frequent, happy, visitor to Australia, Adelaide welcomed her back with generous and adoring arms for this year’s Fringe.
Kicking off proceedings last night was Australian performer and composer, Brendan MacLean. After a couple of his funny, brilliant, moving, numbers, such as Thought I’d Cry For You Forever, we were treated to a surprise visit from another Fringe performer: Mikelangelo. A friend of Palmer’s, Mikel gave us a bluegrassy version of Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Time, as a taster for his Cave-Waits-Cohen gig at La Boheme.
Warmed up by the “value-addeds”, the audience was pumping for Palmer to come on stage, when her voice was heard drifting from the balcony. There she was, one leg draped over the railing, strumming her ukulele in the dark, until some kind patrons shone their phones at her while she belted out In My Mind.
After coming screaming down the stairs, and flying onto the stage, she regaled us with some numbers on uke, including Gaga, Palmer, Madonna: A Polemic, her TEDTalk-like, musical apologia for pop. A few more numbers such as the ever-popular My Map of Tasmania, she took to the grand and moved into her attacking, unpredictable and faultless, piano work. Numbers at the keyboard included The Killing Type from Theatre is Evil, Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle, and her more recent, A Mother’s Confession. The latter is a raw, funny and honest portrait of new parenthood, inspired by Palmer and husband Neil Gaiman’s recent foray into that particular state. The crowd sang along lustily to the chorus “at least the baby didn’t die”!!
Finishing her set with two joint numbers with MacLean, Palmer, despite confessing to illness, came back for an encore with Ukulele Anthem.
Palmer is fearless, unapologetic, brilliant, funny and very, very real. She is the epitome of the term “performer”.
Adelaide loves you, Ms Palmer. Come back soon.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Rating out of 5: 5