A truly unique Fringe experience
Reviewed at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre on 16 February 2019
Presented by Newtoy
It’s rare to find a Fringe show that is truly like no other. In Wet Sounds there is no plot, no narrative, no prescribed method of viewing. Instead, 50-odd bathers find themselves swimming around the Adelaide Aquatic Centre’s dive pool and enjoying a free-form light and sound show.
The performance begins half an hour late, which is a less than ideal start but when we finally do enter the deserted, blue-lit Aquatic Centre to moody ambient music, it’s an appropriately atmospheric beginning to the show. Speakers are set up around the pool and once we enter the water, we discover that different channels of music play above and below water. As we dive and play around we switch between them and make our own combination of the two – it’s a surreal feeling to hear a completely different soundtrack at the bottom of the pool, akin to entering another world. Both above and below water the soundtrack is electronic, though the ambient soundscapes, booming bass and harsh percussive beats of the surface give way to jaunty melodies at lower depths. Up close the speakers are powerful to send sound waves pulsating through each swimmer’s entire body, and the sound resonates through the entire pool.
The visual element is less captivating. The Centre is bathed in a range of lights and three scuba divers pirouette and occasionally perform routines but the beauty of this show is not watching their performances play out. Rather, the joy comes from the free-form nature of it all, from losing oneself entirely in the moment and watching everybody else do the same. The smaller ‘audience’ than last year’s overcrowded pool adds a layer of serenity to what is surely the most relaxing show at this year’s Fringe.
Reviewed by Alexis Buxton-Collins
Venue: Adelaide Aquatic Centre
Season: until Feb 23
Duration: 60 min