Which shows at Adelaide Fringe have been earning accolades on the core fringe circuit over the last year?
The core fringe circuit consists of Edinburgh and the world's second-largest, in Adelaide. For many Australian and international shows and performers, the two festivals represent one highly effective and efficient creative incubator.
Adelaide’s unique role within this incubator explains a lot about why Australian performers are so prevalent in Edinburgh. Remarkably, Australians out represent Americans there, by roughly 800%, on a per capita basis. What emerges from this combined incubator must count as Australia’s most-significant ongoing contribution, bar none, to the evolving broader culture. Preview some of the shows here that are currently winning plaudits on this unique circuit, and see them as they begin making their broader impact.
Rouge invites you into an adult fantasy that is palpably-sumptuous and aesthetically-pleasing. With a liberating sense of comfortably shameless sexuality, it opens up all sorts of lush imaginings.
Yet Rouge is forever friendly.It’s happily playful; ever ready to goof and self-mock. That sexuality was always this safe.
From backstage, Rouge pulls-forward the radical inclusivity that has always been part of the travelling circus. In Rouge, it’s out now.
Rouge is so gorgeously subversive, in so many ways, it does not need to labour any inherent radicality.
Rouge was devised for the fading-postcard glamour of the original Spiegeltent. Its starting point was a circus-take on a 1920s jazz club. With modern overlays, Rouge would pleasantly impress the likes of a Marlene Dietrich, who once played such venues.
The Wee Review, Edinburgh ★★★★★
14 Feb- 15 Mar
Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Gluttony
Once, in the late nineteenth century, there was a fully human, “penny-for-a-song” street singer. One tragic day, a famous man recorded her voice. As he did, he stole it, disabling her humanity and condemning her forever to the mere existence of an automaton. These were the futuristic, human-like machines of the age.
Slumped asleep in her fin-de-siècle finery, she moves unknowingly forward to a new and foreboding century. At key points, she awakes with the divine passing of a human spark.
Through a limited range of mechanistic actions, she strives to reach beyond her bounded existence. With haunting, melancholic songs, she exudes an air of infinite sadness. She reports on what she sees; singing of misplaced expectations, hoped-for connections and abandoned loves. Honey, Can You Spare a Dime?
The spark of life eventually fails her, leaving her again in slumber till another epoch.
All Over Adelaide ★★★★★
Winner Innovation Award, Adelaide Fringe, 2019
19 Feb-6 Mar
With classical mime and clowning, the Latebloomer blast passages into our blocked-off imaginative mindscapes. Audiences are powerless to resist the troupe’s expert surgery. The Latebloomers succeed in reconnecting us to the joys and freedom that arise when we surrender to a pure child-like whimsy.
So, what’s Scotland about? Well, nothing... it’s absurd! Ostensibly, it’s a homage to all things Scottish. That is only a device to allow for an effective procedure. They do conjure-up all sorts of convenient Scottish constructs, but it’s to feed the ever-evolving mind-gallop to steadily disables the resistant adult mind.
Within the genre of English absurdism, it must be difficult to cast a shadow from under the monumental shade of M. Python. The Latebloomers, with their Continentally informed absurdity, may just be steering the genre into some newly sunlit uplands.
InDaily, Adelaide 2019, ★★★★★
Itsoutnow.com ★★★★★★ Six star—you won’t see better
18 Feb-1 Mar
Le Cascadeur, The Garden of Unearthly Delights:
22 Feb-23 Feb
Railed is an all-male, western-themed circus. It places alone in a (very) Wild West, four highly physicalised, very frisky, and uniquely hopeless bandits. With time to kill, they cook up all sorts of boys'-own tom-foolery. But, like landing on a horse backward, they never seem to get going.
Life at the outpost, is more like a derailed spaghetti western, with dollops from a demented Looney Tunes.
Pushed along by a Morricone-esque mash-up man-beat, Railed embraces a hipsterised form of male-bonding. These boys make mere bromance look lame. This is direct stuff. Gone are the seedy double-entendres and glitterised-campy devices of an earlier era, set to entrap the unwary Brads. Nor is there the guilt of the wind-swept high planes of a Broken Back Mountain. In Railed, there is no need for subterfuge because there is little resistance.
The Advertiser ★★★★1/2
18 Feb‑15 Mar
The Octagon, Gluttony
The Handlebards, an all-female troupe of pedalling troubadours, plonk Shakespeare back into the pit of the cabbage throwers.
The Tempest is a tall-tale, of wizardry and natural disorders. It's a comic face-off between good sorcery and wicked witchery. Even though Elizabeth I had outlawed magick; sorcery, spells and sprites were still real.
In playing on the Shakespearean delight in the topsy-turvy, this troupe gives a contemporary twist to that peculiarity of Elizabethan theatre—the single-sex cast.
Costumes and props are restricted to what the troupe can carry as they cycle between gigs. With few resources, their creative improvisations help propel an already rollicking pace. Their inventive repurposing of the props at hand, suggests one big Blyton-esq adventure.
The true contemporary magic is the way The HandleBards create an imaginative Shakespearean world out of virtually nothing.
Click to read more about The Tempest
Broadway Baby, Edinburgh ★★★★★
Itsoutnow.com ★★★★★★ Six star—you won’t see better
4 Mar-15 Mar
Ukiyo, The Bally, Gluttony