Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: True Crime Walking Tour – A comedians guide to Adelaide’s dark past

A darker look into Adelaide’s history

A darker look into Adelaide's history

Presented by: Shayne Hunter
Reviewed: 11 March, 2023

Shayne Hunter is a very funny man with a quick wit and a wonderfully oddball way of connecting random dots to spin a good yarn. Sadly, his walking tour has much less thought put into it and needs a major rethink.

The tour began on Vaughan Place, off Rundle Street, and after a few minutes of warm up comedy where he failed to introduce himself, the tour party set off for a 10-minute silent walk to Hindmarsh Square for the first of five stops in this 90-minute guided tour. Why he didn’t just start at Hindmarsh Square is anyone’s guess.

At the first location, he tells the tale of Jean Eric Gassy, a psychiatrist with issues of his own, who murdered Dr Margaret Tobin in 2002, the head of mental health services for South Australia. Always respectful, Hunter nonetheless finds ample humour in the macabre and horrifying stories he tells, and this opening set provides a high comedy bar he keeps throughout the tour. But while the humour is plentiful, the details are not. Each set is short, and Hunter focusses on style over content, providing very little in the way of detailed information.

The tour moves around the CBD, from Gawler Place to Government House, and finally down to the riverside on Victoria Drive where he talks about the murder of gay politician Dr George Duncan and the law reforms that came from it. The walks between each destination vary from 5 to 10 minutes each, during which there is no commentary or broader interaction with the group. This sums up to potentially half an hour of content at a guess, across the entire 75-90 minute tour. The rest of the time is just walking in a pack.

The tour concludes by the Adelaide University Footbridge with no instructions for tourists on how to find their way back to the starting point, which is some 15 minutes’ walk away. Nor is the crowd advised at the beginning that the end point will be so far away from the starting point.

With his comedy nous, Hunter has a potentially good tour on his hands but in its current state, there’s too little substance and too little planning to make it little more than a light fitness class.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis

Venue: Meet outside The Howling Owl, Vaughan Pl, Adelaide
Season: 12-19 March 2023
Duration: 75-90 minutes
Tickets: $22.50 – $35

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