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Fringe 2008

Ollie and the Minotaur
one forty five, Wed Feb 20

Three long-time girlfriends get away for the weekend and party hard. Alcohol takes a grip and the conversation gets deeper and darker. The constant stream of coarse semi-consciousness gives way to a savage raking of the coals of trauma past. No-one is innocent.
The first half of the performance develops the characters to a point that we understand where each of the three women is coming from. Ollie and the Minotaur really picks up from around the half-way mark. The climax is powerfully depicted and demonstrates that, more often than not, once things are said there’s no going back.
The three actors acquit themselves admirably, the play works well visually, and the story itself is a worthy effort. The intimate venue assists audience members in connecting with the performance.

by David Robinson

Ollie and the Minotaur continues at one forty five until Sat Mar 15.

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Tombola!
SA German Association, Tue Feb 26

Tombola! is a good old-fashioned love story hiding within some seriously strange goings on. From bingo hall to battleship to the fields of Flanders, this fast-moving performance will keep audiences entertained. Will true love prevail? Is the heroic sea captain all he is cracked up to be? Wearing a range of different masks, the two actors portray seven different characters. Writer Lia Como and Nigel Smith quickly switch from role to role, using minimal costume changes, maintaining the frantic pace of the show. With few props and a little audio support the show depends heavily on the delivery of the dialogue and the skilful movements of the players.
The world premiere season of Tombola! is underway; it’s quite novel, a little bit crazy, and will make you laugh.

by David Robinson

Tombola! continues at the SA German Association, 223 Flinders St, until Wed Mar 5.

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Under Milk Wood
Royalty Theatre, Mon Mar 3

Guy Masterson returns to The Fringe with his wonderful interpretation of Dylan Thomas’ story. Masterson handles the incredible workload expertly, and with great affection. He plays every part with meaning, from Captain Cat, the blind old sea captain, to the children playing in the schoolyard. The conversations between Mr and Mrs Pugh are marvellous, but it is probably foolish to single out any single aspect of the show. I could almost see the street scenes from the village as the residents went about their daily business. For two hours, Llareggub was there before me.
The simple, yet effective, lighting and sound augment Masterson’s performance, and the whole thing is a joy to watch. There’s one performance of Under Milk Wood to come – get your ticket now.

by David Robinson

Under Milk Wood continues at the Royalty Theatre, 65 Angas St, Mon Mar 10.

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Follow Me
Fringe Factory Theatre, Tue Mar 4

Ruth Ellis contemplates her imminent execution, and the motivations and mitigations for her crime. Executioner Albert Pierrepoint reflects on his abilities and ‘achievements’, as well as his worth to society. The two are destined to meet for the last minute or so of Ellis’ life.
Impressive performances are given by both actors, as they take turns delivering the thoughtful script. The set is well presented, conveying the loneliness and darkness of this situation, and of prison generally. This is a dark slice of life, powerfully conveyed, and ultimately I wasn’t sure which character I felt most sorry for.
Noise from people and events outside the theatre occasionally proved distracting, but this is hardly the fault of the director or actors. Follow Me is well worth seeing.

by David Robinson

Follow Me continues at Fringe Factory Theatre, Elizabeth St, until Sun Mar 16.

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We Could Live Here
What a Dish! Thu Mar 6

Perhaps this is a meditation on getting away from it all without leaving your room; quite possibly it is something else entirely. Nevertheless, ‘We could Live Here’ is an enjoyable 50 minute rollercoaster. Karina Smith and Bron Batten have combined a series of loosely related pieces and attempted to weave a thread through them. The differing personalities of the characters are well-projected. The show moves along quickly in terms of dialogue and action, and there’s a puppet show! Props are used imaginatively, and all the sound and lighting is managed by the performers. On the evening I attended, the volume of the recorded soundtrack interfered with the words being spoken but these things are easily fixed. Good fun and very Fringe.

by David Robinson

We Could Live Here continues at What a Dish!, 89 O’Connell St, until Sat Mar 15.

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An Irish Joke
Talbot Hotel (Saloon Bar), Sat Mar 8

What a lovely way to spend an evening; looking on as three fellows enjoy a drink and a bit of craic after closing-time at the pub. Episodes from this late-night session are punctuated with bicycle-oriented reminiscences of the town constable as he goes about his business, ensuring all is well.
Chris John’s adaptation of the writings of Flann O’Brien make for an entertaining, thoughtful and often funny portrayal of front bar philosophy, after hours, on a cold winter’s night in Dublin. The four actors acquit themselves very well; the conversation is natural, the drinking, singing, and playing are all skilfully interwoven. The beautiful rendition of The Parting Glass is a wonderful moment in what is an entirely enjoyable performance all around.

by David Robinson

An Irish Joke continues at Talbot Hotel (Saloon Bar), 204 Gouger St, until Mon Mar 17.

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La Dispute
Theatre on Ifould, Tue Mar 11

This production of Marivaux’ Garden of Eden-esque play is presented by the Company of Muses, and the young troupe does a good job of bringing life to the performance. The four actors portraying the ‘innocents’ do justice to the required range of emotions and urges, and the on-stage movements are largely well-choreographed. These four are well supported by the remaining cast, each of whom has appeal. There’s lust, anger, jealousy, and violence sprinkled with some occasional humour. This story of temptation, betrayal and fidelity is well told and easily understood.
The set, sound, special effects and lighting combine to create an atmosphere that moves from the tranquil to the tempestuous, and Director Amanda Portus can be pleased with the efforts of all.

by David Robinson

La Dispute continues at Theatre on Ifould – Christian Brothers College Gate, Ifould St, until Sat Mar 15.

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A Slip of a Boy
Fringe Factory Theatre, Tea Room, Tue Mar 11

This is a simple story regarding the folly of pursuing perfection. Like the getting of three wishes, the attempt to build the perfect partner is fraught with danger.
A Slip of a Boy is performed with passion and power by the two principles; a fact made even more noticeable in the sweltering Adelaide heat. Never shirking from the physical, the actors move around the stage, and around each other, with real meaning. The dialogue is interesting and thought-provoking, although at times it was a little difficult to discern – largely due to the venue’s acoustics.
The set and costumes are effectively minimal; the real strength of the performance lies with the two actors.

by David Robinson

A Slip of a Boy continues at Fringe Factory Theatre – Tea Room, Old Balfours Pie Factory, Elizabeth St, until Sun Mar 16.

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An Actor Prepares
Nexus Cabaret, Lions Arts Centre, Thu Mar 13

An Actor Prepares takes us into the dark world of the suicide bomber; into the tortured mind of one so troubled that the only way out lies in obliteration.
The performance is powerfully acted by James Adler, well-supported musically and theatrically by Nela Trifkovic. I found it a challenge to get a clear picture of the catalyst for the transformation of the lead character, and his motivations, but as a more abstract experience I found it very interesting. The play includes cabaret-style sing-along sitting side by side with outpourings of rage, and I’m not sure that I fully appreciated the wide range of emotion in such a short space of time. Nevertheless, there’s no escaping the power and passion of this performance.

by David Robinson

An Actor Prepares continues at Nexus Cabaret, Lions Arts Centre, until Sat Mar 15.