Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: Chamber Pot Opera

The Adelaide Fringe is an opportunity to experience theatrical events unlike those that would normally be presented here. Chamber Pot Opera is one of those.

Presented by bontom
Reviewed 21 February 2017

The Adelaide Fringe is an opportunity to experience theatrical events unlike those that would normally be presented here. Chamber Pot Opera is one of those aiming to explore the intimate relationships of three woman live inside a public bathroom. This production is undoubtedly unique and brings wonderful performances to the table despite the technical limitations of the venue.

As the three women Sally Alrich- Smythe, Camilla Wright and Britt Lewis sing and act their roles to perfection. Each character is going about their lives when they are forever changed by their chance meetings in the bathroom. Alrich-Smythe is stuck in an abusive relationship and portrays the desperation and fear in a way that draws empathy from the audience. As a woman preparing herself for a romantic meeting, Wright revels in the joyous abandon of her performance and of the arias she gets to sing. Perhaps the most charming is Lewis who asks for help as she nervously messages her new girlfriend. This role makes the most of her fantastic physical comedy skills.

Each of these perforers is blessed with a beautiful voice worked wonderfully by musical director Keiren Brandt-Sawdy. Interestingly, despite this vocal styling usually being used to fill large performance spaces, their voices never seem overpowered for the small space. This production utilises songs from several different operas in more than one language. They perform each of these with conviction and there isn’t a weak link among them. On piano, Viet Nguyen accompanies the performers well reacting flawlessly to a tech issue on the night.

In such an odd venue there are bound to be complications and this production features several. Lighting is provided by a series of bars set around the stage. These effectively light the stage but offer only two settings – on and off. This change often occurs in the middle of a song and is jarring and distracting. Maintaining one lighting state throughout may have been a cleaner option. Another small issue is with the surtitles used to translate the songs. These were projected cleanly and clearly onto the back wall but often fell out of time with the music. At the end of the show, a translation was left up instead of returning to its blank state. These issues, however, are few and far between and the tech otherwise does a solid job within the unusual space.

Chamber Pot Opera makes the most of its unique venue creating an immersive experience that celebrates beautiful voices singing beautiful music. If you are a fan of opera or unique theatrical experiences this is one to put high on your Fringe-viewing list.

Reviewed by Nathan Quadrio

Rating out of 5:  4.5

Venue:  Powder Room at Picadilly Cinemas
Season:  February 21st – March 5th
Duration:  45 mintues
Tickets:  $29


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