Presented by Red Fez Productions
Reviewed 21 February 2017
Sometimes the sheer enormity of the Fringe can be overwhelming – where does one start among the thousands of shows? Red Fez Tours The Fringe takes care of that problem, taking us on a magical tour that crams an entire Fringe’s worth of entertainment into one night.
Focusing on self-produced shows, each night tour guides (in red fezzes, of course) lead a group around a range of different acts and venues as they try to unearth some of the festival’s hidden gems (and possibly a trainwreck or two along the way). The guides are Fringe insiders including artists, producers and venue managers, and they are more than happy to share their wealth of information liberally.
Our journey starts at The Producers with a quick tour through the artworks before we traipse upstairs for a slapdash skit show that none of us have heard of. Our group more than doubles the audience, and while it isn’t the most polished show any of us will see all season, the room is filled with laughter
After that, we get a brief rundown of the history of the Fringe as we powerwalk to the next venue for an unexpectedly moving show that muses on family, addiction and religion among other things (check out Jon Bennett: Fire In The Meth Lab if you get a chance).
Walking out raving, the conversation turns to the behind the scenes impact of various changes the Fringe has seen over the years. Artists pop in and out of the conversation and as the evening progresses, it’s clear that our guides’ boundless enthusiasm means they’ll stay up as late as we want checking out shows and soaking up the atmosphere.
While there are a few teething problems on the first night, it’s a wonderful concept that thrusts us right into the centre of the madness that is the Adelaide Fringe.
The nature of the festival has changed a lot over the years, but at its best it’s about taking a punt and discovering something new. That’s the Fringe that the Red Fez believes in, and it’s something worth celebrating.
Reviewed by Alexis Buxton-Collins
Rating out of 5: 4
Venue: various venues
Season: runs until Saturday 18 March
Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes