So – ff2014 is over. I saw 135 shows in all – 14 from the Festival, 121 from the Fringe (which, when combined with the 61 Visual Art exhibitions I checked out, constitutes 18.5% of the Fringe Guide… 19.2% if you take cancellations into account).
- Green Porno
- The Umbilical Brothers: A KiDs ShoW (Not Suitable for Children)
- The Kransky Sisters Piece of Cake
After the final show of the season came the Fringe Awards… and plenty of jovial drinking. Which spilled over into TuxCat. Which led to me getting home at 8:30 am. I’m still quite tangibly drunk now.
This was always going to be a tough day – not much sleep, and a lot of heavy theatre pieces (I’d originally planned on trying to squeeze in Virtual Solitaire, but it was unfortunately cancelled).
The end result? A really sluggish Pete. Though the Bunker shows were fantastic.
- The Breakfast Club
- Needles & Opium
- The Bunker Trilogy: Agamemnon
- The Bunker Trilogy: Macbeth
- Fight Night
Probably only three shows left. And a little thing called the “Fringe Awards”. And I have a 9am appointment Monday morning. That should be fun.
A busy day! Tight changeovers between shows necessitated two cab rides.
And then there’s the little matter of a photo shoot. More on that later!
- Rip, Drag & Ruminate
- Some Funny C*nt from New York
- A Gaggle of Saints
Zorn@60 was, quite frankly, fucking magnificent. Lights dropped at 7:30pm; they came up for the last time at 12:15am. Nearly every minute inbetween (except for the intervals) belongs in a highlights reel somewhere. Simply astonishing musicianship by musicians that appeared to be incredibly happy performing their art.
So – John Zorn.
Of the three performances in the Triple Bill, one of them didn’t really work for me at all… but the other two were so good that I leapt to my feet, Standing-O-style. Cobra was everything I’d ever hoped for, and more: it was genuinely exciting to see it played. How often are you sitting on the edge of your seat in a music show?
- La Leçon
- Zorn Triple Bill
- Come Heckle Christ
The flip-side of the Zorn high is, of course, some issues with “friends”. Sigh.
I turn up to Gaga v Assange expecting a ninety-minute show; I’ve got half-an-hour buffer up my sleeve to get to my next (Festival) show. Still, as I’m greeted at the top of Arcade Lane, I ask what time I can expect the performance to finish.
Eight-twenty, I’m told. A twenty-minute overrun.
I bite my lip; I don’t want to commit to a ten-minute changeover. I tell them I might have to bail; they suggest I just stay for the first Act. What about closure, I ask? “There’s a lot of songs, so you can get a pretty good feel for it,” I am told.
I was genuinely surprised at how much that comment rankled me. That there was so little care about the integrity of the piece annoyed the fuck out of me, and when they tried to placate me by telling me to go to FringeTIX for a refund (never going to happen) or to go to TuxCat for another show (they’re closed today)… well, consider me a little (lot) annoyed.
Still, at least it gave me the opportunity to see HolePunch, which I otherwise would have missed… it was the highlight of the day (after the lovely Take a Closer Look exhibition).
- The Luck Child
- Rime of the Ancient Mariner
- A Nightmare On Love Street
Tomorrow is all about one thing: Zorn. John fucking Zorn. I bumped into two people today (of very different persuasions) who both saw his Masada Marathon last night and regard it as one of the best shows they’d ever seen. Cannot wait.
A lot of running around today. Shows that start and run late don’t lend themselves to smooth changeovers; shows that cancel don’t lead to being watched.
- History of Autism
- Xavier Toby – ‘Mining’ My Own Business
- Glenn Wool
- RUN GIRL RUN
- Pat Burtscher’s Overwhelmed
- Rhino Room Late Show (#3)
Ah, Monday. Poor, neglected, dead Monday.
No matter how I prodded my Scheduling Spreadsheet, I couldn’t do any better than three shows today, so I opted to tackle Dawson Nichols’ two-hour modern classic I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe at the tail end of the evening. And what an absolute belter it is; it’s one of the shows that I saw way back in 1998 that got me interested in this Fringe theatre stuff, and it’s still easy to see why.
- True Story
- I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe
I spent some serious time trying to plan out the rest of the Festival season; as a result, I’ve started squirelling away money for cab fares, because there’s some silly hopping between shows coming up. Friday is going to be a bit nerve-wracking; I’m hoping it’ll be worth it.
That was a pretty fun birthday, I must say. After grabbing some k-pop presents for myself (another tradition I’m going to cultivate), I was opportunistically interviewed by Jane for The Guardian, met a Honey Pot attendee (and learnt a lot about that program as we shuffled between the three-shows-in-a-row that we saw together), and generally just chatted with a lot of lovely people.
And I saw some shows. That’s right, I remember now. Mind you, I could only tolerate a bit over an hour of the Crap Music Rave Party; the Royal Croquet Club was abominable. Dry and dusty, packed with young people (centres of their universes, one and all), and just plain unwelcoming to old fogies like myself.
- FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out
- Pants Down Circus – Rock
- A Simple Space
- Notoriously Yours
- Jack Druce – Adventure Peach
- Crap Music Rave Party
A Simple Space, on the other hand… amazing. No matter how many times I see the GOM guys and gals, they leave me weeping tears of delight and wonder. And today, I even got to be onstage during one of their tricks. Heaven.
So – One Hundred Shows for the year.
So – SADEH21. Fucking magnificent, it was, despite a few little flaws.
So – Jacques Barrett. Fucking magnificent, he was, despite a few quieter moments.
- SNUG & VENT
- Em Rusciano in ‘Divorce – The Musical’
- Jacques Barrett is The Contrarian: Part Deux
- EUROWISION Adelaide 2014
Anyway – it’s currently 3:54am on March the 9th. And you know what that means, right? My birthday.
And so, in a tradition that I started last year, here’s a photo of me and my bestest Birthday Buddy, the gorgeous Taeyeon from Girls’ Generation:
Sigh. So beautiful.
Wow, what a day. After a relatively sleepless night, I went on a 14km, 13-stop ArtWalk around the northwestern inner suburbs and city; then, because I was feeling a little knackered, decided that an all-comedy evening would be the go.
Normally, I try to avoid all-comedy days like this, but this one turned out to be an absolute pearler. Chris Turner upped the ante, Chris Wainhouse fucking dominated, and Pete Johansson completely smashed it with a set that he forewarned would be patchy. And then came the Rhino Late Show, with Dave Hughes, Jacques Barrett, and Lindsay Webb just blowing the place apart. Brilliant stuff.
- An American’s Guide to being like totally British
- Chris Turner: Pretty Fly
- Chris Wainhouse – The Anti-Chris
- Pete Johansson
- Rhino Room Late Show (#2)
But now starts the long slog home: I’ve got thirteen shows in the next two days. Red Bull to the rescue!
So: I’m having a lovely chat with the woman running the Face Your Selfie exhibition, and I notice it’s 9pm – time for my next show. Dash to the venue; I’m the only ticket sale, so regrettably they’re cancelling. Bugger. Out comes the phone; great, there’s a 9:15pm show on The Shortlist nearby. A quick dash, only to discover that it, too, is cancelled.
Last chance: another 9:15pm show, the return of Red Bastard. Having seen his show in 2010, I was wary of the small (and largely drunk, and largely non-English-as-a-first-language) crowd that assembled… I couldn’t see how the show could work as well with the small crowd.
And it didn’t. It worked better.
- Maybe you could crack my sternum
- Sam Simmons – Death Of A Sails-Man
- Red Bastard
- GLORY BOX!
You know that feeling when you’ve got something (emotional – let’s keep it clean and abstract, folks) buried deep inside and you need to spit it out, but the opportunity to do so never presents itself? Yep, I’ve got that right now. Fun.
I remember the good old days when you could see five or six shows on a weeknight. Maybe it’s my own standards – and a desire to not see a lot of repeat performances – that is limiting my options, though I’m certain late-night shows are thin on the ground.
- They Saw a Thylacine
- Alexis Dubus – Cars And Girls
- Lindsay Webb in ‘What’s Your Name? What Do You Do?’
- Wendy House
That was a pretty reasonable day, all up; Thylacine and Cars And Girls are both beautifully poetic pieces. Pity about the apres-shows end of the day, though.
Only the one show today: the five-and-a-half hour long River of Fundament. Apparently there’s been a bit written in the press about this being “pornography” – and there’s certainly some segments that absolutely count as porn (if you’re into those particular acts). But there’s a whole lot more to it than that; in fact, the biggest fucking that goes on is in your own brain.
- River of Fundament
To make up for the single show, I darted out to see two visual art exhibitions that were closing soon. So glad I did: both Side By Side and Heart Nature were great, with Nigel Liefrink’s paintings in the latter being superb.
All the hype (and hope, in my case) surrounding Roman Tragedies was completely justified; it was an incredible experience, even though I only spent a short amount of time onstage (whilst it was fun having the performers work around the crowd, I couldn’t find a spot that made the surtitles work easily for me).
And that means I’ve given two standing ovations in two days (for a total of four in my lifetime). So it’s fair to say that I’m pretty fired up about the Festival at the moment.
- Roman Tragedies
- WOODCOURT: Encounter
Having said that: River of Fundament is tomorrow. The most recent timing I can find is that it’s 5h52m long, with two twenty-minute intervals. Go durational entertainment!