[20000012] Rod Quantock – Utopia

Rod Quantock – Utopia

Nova (Cinema 1)

7:00pm, Tue 29 Feb 2000

Score: 7

Short Review: Down

I think Rod Quantock is one of Australia’s best comedians. There, I said it. However, tonite he was a little… flat? disappointing? down? Hmmmm.

I’d been looking forward to this show for ages, and for all you RQ fans out there, there are a few surprises: No blackboard (gasp!), but a long diatribe about the lack of chalk in todays society, and how this impacts our social wellbeing. Very few Kennett jokes, replaced by the far more vitriolic Howard jokes. And the presence of toilet humour! …literally.

As I said previously, I think Quantock is brilliant, and so the show was still very enjoyable. Compared to previous RQ experiences, however, it seemed to be lacking a little spark… maybe Rod just needs some more chalk and a Nazi-esque Victorian Premier again.

[20000011] Tired Cliches

Tired Cliches

International Brigade (Cosmopolitan Centre)

10:00pm, Mon 28 Feb 2000

Score: 9

Short Review: Cyclic

“Stand-Up meets Storytelling meets Beat Poetry” says the Fringe Guide on this, the second of TJ Dawe’s works in this Fringe (the other being the exceptional Labrador). The Guide was right. It’s a reasonable simple storyline, but the manner in which the show is delivered – using, at times, a very Beat-ish style – makes the piece a very enjoyable experience.

Once again, Dawe rapid-fires through another piece of his life, repeatedly using certain situations which, as a spectator, you know are significant – and the final 2 minutes ties all the loose ends together (oops, spoiled it). Dawe’s style, especially after having seen Labrador, is great for the audience – it makes for very satisfying viewing.

I’m going to rave again – TJ Dawe is the man. Brilliant writing… better than brilliant. Words cannot express, yada yada yada. See it. See it. See it.

[20000010] The Kiwi Standup Show

The Kiwi Standup Show

WorldsEnd Cabaret

8:30pm, Mon 28 Feb 2000

Score: 6

Short Review: Amusing

Obviously Monday nights aren’t big comedy nights in Adelaide. For the 16 people who turned up, these two Kiwis (Mark and Mike, apparently… why can’t I remember their names? what a crap reviewer…) put in a reasonable show overall.

Mark (I think… again, apologies for the names) opened up with the usual “flight over” gags, and I think the audience all inwardly moaned. The pace picked up, thought, and the highlight of his set was undoubtedly the ode to JFK Jr set to “Candle In The Wind”. Piss funny.

The second Kiwi, Mike, was far more memorable, and dealt with “comedy death” situations with great style. He also managed to dig himself into a corner when he proclaimed that New Zealand’s only poisonous spider was, in fact, a myth – until an audience member mentioned that she had, in fact, been bitten by one. Again, the escape was very amusing.

Overall, reasonable material, crappy venue – which bore the brunt of a large number of jokes in the show. Go for a beer, stay for the show.

[20000009] Cello Recital

Cello Recital

Pilgrim Church

6:30pm, Mon 28 Feb 2000

Score: 6

Short Review: Patchy

I love the cello. Love it. Unashamedly, unreservedly. I know squat about classical music, but the tones of the cello just fire me up. So it was with great anticipation that I cruised into the Pilgrim Church on a sultry Monday evening to attend my first cello recital.

Problem 1: it was hot that night and, due to the extensive (albeit attractive) amount of stained glass in the church, it was quite warm inside. Thus it was necessary to strategically place a large number of fans around the inside of the church to try and keep the air moving & the patrons cool(ish). Unfortunately, the aforementioned fans also managed to flip the pages of cellist Belinda Manwaring’s sheet music. Stutter, pause, recovery… but it didn’t do much for the piece.

That said, the Vivaldi Allegros (with Lesley Lewis accompanying on harpsichord) were exceptional, and Paul Hindemith’s “Solo Sonata op.25 No.3” was likewise excellent. The highlight of the recital, however, came from Manwaring’s rendition of Australian Peter Sculthorpe’s “Threnody for solo cello”… this work was incredible, and the cello belied the Aboriginal underpinnings of the work by managing to sound very didgereedoo-esque (!) at some points.

However, the rest of the works left a less palatable taste in the mouth. Maybe I was missing something, not being a huge classical buff… but some parts of the de Fesch and Bononcini sonatas seemed positively devoid of tonal sensibilities. Bummer, because half the program was exceptional.

[20000008] The Exhibitionists

The Exhibitionists

Nexus Theatre

11:00pm, Sun 27 Feb 2000

Score: 8

Short Review: Wacky

“The Exhibitionists” is a madcap bit of theatre exploring what may go on when gallery attendants are bored. Upon entry to the performance space, I was accosted by one of the performers, in character, who insisted my bag be placed in the cloak room. 5 minutes into the performance, the contents of said bag were being used as props :) In fact, one of the highlights of the show was watching other people be “checked” by the attendants upon entering the space. Be warned!!

The four players of the Irish company, Ridiculusmus, all play their multiple roles with a great sense of comedic timing. The play is, for the most part, an over-the-top, outlandish production, but it’s sheer wackiness kept everyone entertained. Suspend disbelief and roll along for a good laugh.

[20000007] Tripod


Nova (Cinema 3)

8:30pm, Sun 27 Feb 2000

Score: 7

Short Review: Wiggles-meets-DAAS

Tripod opened up with a wonderful musical ode to mucus which was, for a Tripod virgin such as myself, a hilarious introduction into the trio’s exploits. They then rattled through a series of songs (including the brilliant “political song”, which I haven’t been able to get out of my head all day ;) and, along the way, managed to insert large chunks of dialogue from “The Empire Strikes Back” (neat, since Yon was referred to more than once as “Yoda”).

Their songs were brilliant – rollicking, hilarious, entertaining, always on the mark, and reminding me of a tasty blend of The Wiggles and the late Doug Anthony All-Stars (not a bad thing, I assure you). However, when they strayed into the non-musical aspects of their show, their grip on me slipped. A lot of the stand-up/spoken word stuff fell flat, and they suffered from the “ad-libbed versus rehearsed ad-libbed” problem.

Don’t worry about that too much, though – for a roaring good laugh, they manage to hit the right notes often enough.

[20000006] Anandamine (Visual Arts)

Anandamine (Visual Arts)

Top Floor, 27 Gresham Street

6:00pm, Sun 27 Feb 2000

Score: 2

Short Review: Thoughtless

If visual art is your thing, don’t bother climbing the stairs to the top floor of 27 Gresham St. The viewing of the “works of art” takes almost as much time as the ascension.

The opening of the Anandamine visual arts exhibition seemed poorly conceived; one “work” consisted of a bead G-string hung over a talcum powder “canvas” into which a simple vagina had been drawn. Problem was, many guests at the opening were shuffling through the talcum, essentially ruining the intention of the piece (unless, of course, it was meant to represent the downtrodden nature of women in society… hmmm, maybe not). No-one seemed to care… where was the artist protecting the sanctity of their work?

This seemed indicative of the whole exhibition – everything presented seemed to have no real thought involved, simply the feeling of “product” being shifted in time for the Fringe.

Let’s hope the other aspects of the Anandamine project are a bit more successful. Positives? Errrm… the free booze was nice :)

[20000005] Hunting For Moby Dick

Hunting For Moby Dick

The Foreign Legion (Cartoons)

5:00pm, Sat 26 Feb 2000

Score: 9

Short Review: Existential

theater simple return to Adelaide accompanied by Ghostlight Theatre, in a Ghostlight-inspired production. As usual, the set was sparse and the content was dense :)

The main players were stellar, with Amy Augustine as Spouter entering the audience for a nice bit of improv. Bill Peters and Craig Neibaur were exceptional as the writer, Herman Melville, and the fun Stubb; Llysa Holland was a solid Starbuck.

So what did Moby Dick have to tell? As usual with theater simple’s works, the currents ran deep… “Hunting for Moby Dick” was a pretty involved work that, despite perhaps not shining as brightly as theater simple’s 1998 Fringe classics (“The Master and Margarita”, “Escher’s Hands”), still leaves a lasting impression. The influence of Ghostlight’s direction is evident, but theater simple’s innovative use of sparse props remains a delight.

[20000004] Dark Love

Dark Love

Promethean Theatre

2:00pm, Sat 26 Feb 2000

Score: 6

Short Review: Competent

Dark Love consisted of 2 plays by English playwright Harold Pinter, and were presented in a very “english” manner which suited both plays well. Billed as a “psycho-sexual voyage”, neither of the plays really approached that description, but proved to be entertaining nonetheless.

The Lover

This was the better of the two works, due in no small part to the great script – very clever writing. Martin Welsh is excellent, giving his character a great refinement and dignity. Kerry-Anne James is adequate, but appears less self assured in her delivery.
This piece is at its’ best when the characters allowed extended, pregnant pauses in between their lines. Though this had a very stoccato effect, it heightened the tensions present in the play.

Ashes to Ashes

The playbill cites this as being the “more cerebral” of the two plays, and it wasn’t far wrong. No pauses between delivery here – Kerry-Anne James (looking far more at home here) and director Glen Christie churned through the dialogue at a steady rate. Whilst a “deeper” piece of work, unfortunately there was no real tension generated between the characters.

Overall, this pair of plays provides an interesting introduction to Pinter’s work. Whilst not outstanding, this local production was competent and entertaining.

[20000003] Labrador


The Foreign Legion (Cartoons)

11:59pm, Fri 25 Feb 2000

Score: 9

Short Review: Enticing

The promo info tells all there is to know about this one-man show, but TJ Dawe’s delivery is incredible. Whilst the plot does appear to be both minimalistic, and indeed the performance peters out to a trite ending, it is the journey that Dawe takes you on that makes this show the first big show for this Fringe.

Dawe has the spectacular ability to turn the audience on a 10 cent piece – so while the majority of the performance is devoted to pure, gut-wrenching laughter, he occasionally reminds all present that there is sorrow to be found, too – for a second – then it’s back to the laughter. The manner in which Dawe controls this pacing of this show simply must be seen.