[2014029] In Canberra Tonight in Adelaide Tonight

[2014029] In Canberra Tonight in Adelaide Tonight

Adventure Club @ Gluttony – The Bally

6:30pm, Wed 19 Feb 2014

Presented as a late-night variety show hosted by Chris Endrey (who was on crutches with one ankle heavily strapped), In Canberra Tonight in Adelaide Tonight is an Adelaide presentation of the nine-year old In Canberra Tonight variety show; I was expecting yet another Fringe ensemble performance, but the name of one guest sold me on this evening’s performance immediately: Philip Nitschke.

As the Big Name on the bill, Nitschke was the last guest to appear (although he sat in the front row for the rest of the show); the show opened up with some gentle keys (by the gorgeous Keyboard Girl, whose name I didn’t catch), and some warm-up banter from the Announcer (a somewhat less gorgeous – though cheesily suited – guy whose name I also failed to grasp). Endrey hobbled out for a bit of a chat before the first guests – the guys from Cirque du Bloke – performed some of their strength and balance tricks for the crowd. Whilst their material was de rigueur, their presentation – chock full of little winks to the women (and one surprised man) in the audience – had an appealing charm.

Next up was Glitta Supernova (from Pretty Peepers – The Untraditional Cabaret), whose domesticity-laced electro-strip presented my first bare breasts of this Fringe (and yet, there’s been male appendages galore… I wonder if my subconscious selections are trying to tell me something?). It was a pretty garish performance that seemed utterly at odds with the daylight; but the real surprise came when Glitta sat down with Endrey for a bit of a chat. What eventuated was a frank and blunt description of the drug scene that co-exists with the strip & burlesque scene in Sydney; a fascinating conversation.

The next segment was the delightfully titled Pitchionary, where another Fringe act got to pitch their show through the medium of Pictionary. Given the fact that I read the Fringe Guide cover-to-cover, I’ve got an unfair advantage when it comes to the names of shows, so I was able to guess all the pictorial clues and guess that the show in question was Luminous (although I went there via Illuminate – how embarrassing). The Luminous artist – was it Jessica Watson Miller? – was really engaging in her brief description of the show; I kinda regret not bumping it higher up the Shortlist.

The final guest was the aforementioned Philip Nitschke, a well-known vocal advocate of euthanasia. His interview with Endrey was completely engrossing: I forgot that I was sitting in a tent in the middle of a Fringe for a few minutes. Of course, most of the discussion was a bit sombre, but Nitschke seemed to be quite forthcoming with information about how he helps people takes their own lives; Endrey carefully asked about the mental weight of assisted suicide, and Nitschke answered that nothing made him appreciate life more than watching someone else die. (Typing those words out makes it seem like a sadistic glee may have been involved there, but nothing could be further from the truth that I observed.)

As host, Chris Endrey was bloody brilliant: far from pandering to his guests with soft questions allowing show pimpage, his questions were quite insightful: the careful prodding of Glitta Supernova and Philip Nitschke was masterful work. There was also an odd faux ad break in the middle of the Nitschke interview – funny in itself, but maybe too much of a tonal shift? – and a bizarre audience singalong at the end of the show; I’ve got the feeling everyone left on a high.

Adventure Club‘s home-town productions of In Canberra Tonight are, according to their producer Meg (who I chatted with later in the Fringe), elaborate undertakings: they’re two hours long, a month apart, and immaculately planned. Their Adelaide Fringe versions of the show require a significantly quicker turnaround: a nightly, one-hour show is a bit of a change.

Not that it seemed to affect the show – or, if it did, the Canberran shows must be magical… because the show this evening was a compelling collection of insightful interviews laced with snippets of performances and comedy. This is the type of show I’d attend every day if I could; the mix of Fringe and non-Fringe was just perfect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *