Presented by Red Phoenix Theatre and Holden Street Theatres
Reviewed 22 October 2020
With COVID restrictions making economically-viable live theatre difficult, Red Phoenix and Holden Street have come up with an ingenious solution. And like many of these solutions, it has resulted in a creative and delightful experience.
Promenade of Shorts comprises nine short theatrical pieces. The audience is divided into three groups of twenty, and these groups are circulated around the three venues at Holden Street: The Arch, The Bar and The Studio. Three pieces are performed in each. In between, while the wonderful staff get to sanitizing, the audience mingles outside, with drinks and snacks available for purchase, street performers, and plenty of under-cover seating.
The program is a mix of dramatic, comedic, and thought-provoking works. Words that Matter was developed specially for the production, and consists of three famous political speeches, performed fugue-style. A great idea, it would have been improved by the choice of three more interrelated speeches. However, Sharon Malujlo’srendition of Gillard’s Misogyny speech is worth the price of admission. Up Close and Personal is a two hander that takes place in a bar, so was perfectly suited to its venue. Petra Schulenburg gives one of her trademark intense and authentic performances as the widow finding herself at a singles night. Attack of the Killer Banana Spider! is a comedic sketch, filled with fascinating facts about the eponymous arachnid. Electric Roses is perhaps the most intense of all the works, with measured and moving performances by Lyn Wilson, John Rosen, and Brant Eustice. Intermission charms with the world of Broadway opening nights. Driving Mr Diddy is another humorous piece, and a great vehicle (pun not intended!) for the comedic talents of Joanne St Clair, Brian Godfrey, and Nick Fagan. The Book of Leviticus Show is perhaps the most disturbing of the pieces: a great piece of black humour, it raises enormous issues in just a few minutes. Auto Incorrect is really just an extended comedy sketch. As a one-joke piece it is pretty weak but serves as a palate cleanser between Leviticus and Loyalties. The latter is a very wordy piece, set in Germany during the rise of the National Socialists. The cast seemed out of their depth, but still put the words across in a way which reached the audience.
If you have been jonesing for some live theatre, then this is the show for you. Along with some fabulous writing and performances, Red Phoenix deliver a whole experience. Director Michael Eustice has put together a great night. This is a truly delightful evening in (and out of!) the theatre, and a format which should be used more often.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Venue: Holden Street Theatres
Season: 22nd-31st October
Duration: 2 hours
Disclaimer: Brian Godfrey is the Arts editor for Glam Adelaide
Photo Credit: Richard Parkhill