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Fringe 2009

The Tailor of Inverness – Krawiec z Inverness
The Studio, Holden Street Theatres, 34 Holden St Hindmarsh, Sat Feb 28

The Tailor of Inverness combines affectionate remembrances, stark tales of upheaval and the notion that, fundamentally, we can never be quite sure from where we have come.
Matthew Zajac presents the story of his father’s journey from Eastern Europe to Inverness, where he arrived to start a new life in 1948. Do the conflicting accounts of his trek suggest guilt, confusion or simply the desire to forget?
Zajac delivers the play with passion and humanity, supported by Gavin Marwick’s evocative violin. Despite the myriad sights and sounds that appear on stage, it is with one voice that the play speaks to its audience.
The performance is handled with skill and care by all involved.
By looking deeply into the history of his father and his extended family, Zajac has ultimately learned more about himself.

David Robinson

The Tailor of Inverness continues at The Studio, Holden Street Theatres, until Sun Mar 22

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Scarborough
The Manse, Holden Street Theatres, 34 Holden St Hindmarsh, Sun Mar 1

Two lovers, Lauren and Daz, are away on a dirty weekend to celebrate his approaching 16th birthday. There is, however, a complication - Lauren is nearly thirty, and she’s his teacher. This issue is at the heart of Fiona Evans’ 40 minute emotional rollercoaster.
The audience, doubling as flies-on-the-wall, stand silently wherever there is space on the set. Undoubtedly, this weekend will challenge the nascent relationship, and there is more than a hint of inevitability about the outcome.
Evans doesn’t judge too harshly and her slice of life covers somewhat familiar, and potentially dangerous, ground without preaching. The writing is expressive and powerful yet it remains believable in the main. The actors do a fine job in an intimate and unusual setting, and every once in a while I forgot I was watching a play.

David Robinson

Scarborough continues at The Manse, Holden Street Theatres, until Sun Mar 22

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The Planets
Pilgrim Uniting Church in the City, 12 Flinders St Adelaide, Fri March 6

Despite the piano duet score being the original version of English Composer Gustav Holst’s best-known work, I took my seat wondering just how two instruments could possibly convey the myriad aspects of the orchestral work. I needn’t have wondered; Thomas Saunders and Andrew Georg played beautifully, the mood of each of the seven movements was effectively conveyed.
I was amazed that the nuances of the orchestral suite could still largely be found in this performance. It is a credit to Holst as a composer, and to the two gentlemen playing on Friday evening, that the full majesty of the piece was readily apparent.
The house lights could have been turned off to enhance the ambience, and those who chose to bring young children might have been better advised to stay home, but the music won the day.

David Robinson

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Renee Geyer
Garden of Unearthly Delights – The Spiegeltent, Rundle Park Adelaide, Sat March 7

Renee Geyer, by her own admission, has been performing to appreciative crowds for the best part of four decades. I could feel the crackle of anticipation in the air as a tightly-packed Spiegeltent awaited her arrival.
Backed by the accomplished Jeff Burstin and Bruce Haymes, Geyer delivered a solid set of eight songs that showcased what she does best – sing. Geyer possesses a great voice and she used it well, presenting a range of standards and a couple of her hits to keep the punters happy. There was plenty of banter, and a little audience participation, but it was the presentation of the songs that remained the key to the evening’s success. The band built their sound around Geyer’s soulful vocals, while still allowing themselves to show their musical worth to the audience.

David Robinson

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Shaggy Doo Beats’ Book Launch
Imprints Booksellers, 107 Hindley St Adelaide, Fri March 13

Charles Crompton launched his book ‘Readings from the Little Yellow Book’ at Imprints on Friday night, realising an ambition he has held ever since hosting Beat Route in the late 1990s.
Introduced by Geoff Goodfellow, Crompton began the reading with his poem ‘Adelaide’, before handing over the reins to his alter ego, Shaggy Doo Beats. Dressed to impress, Shaggy took us through passages from the book, all delivered in a familiar, yet fresh, bop style. The prose was dotted with humour and delivered in short staccato bursts. Jazz trio The Jazzcateers provided some cool vibes throughout the evening, supporting the readings and adding to the ambience. This medium is ideal for the work, arguably better than simply reading the words from a page.
We had wine, we had jazz, and we had beat poetry. I had visions of Cody.
Cool.

David Robinson

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Rough for Theatre II by Samuel Beckett
Holden Street Theatres (The Studio), 34 Holden Street, Tue March 17

Rough for Theatre II, a one act play, is Samuel Beckett’s simple yet powerful look at the apparent worth of a human life. Two unearthly auditors determine whether or not Croker, a man contemplating suicide, should jump.
Guy O’Grady and Kym Begg do a fine job as Morven and Bertrand respectively, demonstrating the characters’ perfunctory approach to their work and lack of insight into the plight of Croker (played by John Ho). The dialogue is, in the main, delivered with a sense of familiarity with the work. The serious undercurrent is still apparent despite the often comic interchanges.
The minimalist sound and lighting effects are well managed and the simple set perfectly suits the mood of the play.

David Robinson

Rough for Theatre II by Samuel Beckett continues at Holden Street Theatres until March 22
 

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Free Man of Colour
The Odeon, 57A Queen Street Norwood, Wed March 18

This is no smash-and-grab cavalcade of lights, sounds and action; this is a play for people willing to sit down and listen. Rob Croser directs this tale of the first African-American to attend the University of Ohio. John Newton Templeton is an ex-slave who, under the mentorship of university president Robert Wilson and his wife Jane, gradually discovers the true reason for his being there.
Free Man of Colour runs for over two hours and is driven almost exclusively by dialogue. The three actors do a great job in moving towards the climax of the story, delivering incisive and moving performances. The effective costumes and attractive set help paint the full picture, but ultimately it is the strength of the principles that carry this work off.
Free Man of Colour deserves to be watched by attentive audiences.

David Robinson

Free Man of Colour continues at The Odeon until March 21

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All Nude Dolphin Love Energy
Jade Monkey, 29A Twin Street Adelaide, Thu March 19

Brett Stokes provides a welcome musical alternative to the normal and mundane. As he puts it, he is “on the fringe of The Fringe”. Stokes songs are thoughtful, sometimes gentle, often meandering and always engaging. Unconsciously, I am sure, Stokes reprises the vocal and musical sound of Ian Curtis and Joy Division, if not the mood.
For this series of performances, Stokes is joined by regular on-stage partner Costa, who provides percussive encouragement for each song. Djembe and bongos are the perfect accompaniment for Stokes’ innovative acoustic guitar and vocals.
All Nude Dolphin Love Energy, an hour of Stokes’ aural soundscapes, begins at 6.00 PM each night. Set in the comfortable surrounds of the Jade Monkey, this show provides an ideal kick start to a night’s entertainment.

David Robinson

All Nude Dolphin Love Energy continues at Jade Monkey until March 21