Australia: Adelaide Fringe Festival

Friday, April 8, 2016

Waiting for "Essential Edith"

Nothing like coming to Adelaide for the last week of their Fringe Festival! While during my internship in Edinburgh a loooong time ago, I saw 22 Edinburgh Fringe Festival shows in 3 weeks, I wasn't quite able to keep pace with those numbers. But I did manage to see 4 shows in 2 weeks! I was pretty much working, eating, or sleeping, 24/7 on this trip, so there wasn't much time to research shows. But upon review, I chose pretty well. I love the goofy rapidity of Fringe shows, it worked especially well with my jet lag!

Garden of Unearthly Delights (Fringe Festival Venue)
Garden of Unearthly Delights (Fringe Festival Venue)
Garden of Unearthly Delights (Fringe Festival Venue)
Garden of Unearthly Delights (Fringe Festival Venue)
Garden of Unearthly Delights (Fringe Festival Venue)
First I went to see Exposing Edith a two person cabaret summarizing the trials and tribulations of Edith Piaf's life. It was a fantastic show. The two performers met while busking at the Adelaide Central Markets and came together and made this absolutely lovely little play+musical. My 30 minute walk back from the venue had me humming "La Vie En Rose all the way home.

I stuck with the same venue for the next three shows, there were so many shows and so many venues, venue was a bit of a filtering function as well as accommodating for my laziness. The Garden of Unearthly Delights was pretty much heaven, anyways, no need to go elsewhere! Tents with retro wooden facades and some interiors with leaded mirrors and wooden booths. Outside there were fancy food trucks and trees strung with twinkle lights. Jacket potatoes! Poffertjes! Bottles of wine! The Lebowski Club had bowling and a bar that no one else seemed to know about. On the weekdays, The Garden was delightfully undercrowded. It was just so, so pleasant!

The second show I went to see was Tessa Waters: Over Promises. The tent was rather undercrowded, it was a Wednesday. Tessa's show was...awkward and at times funny? She relied heavily on miming and moving her body through physical space in an uncommon way. In the midst of miming some scene in which her character was dehydrated, Tessa drank from my water bottle. A bit sophomoric, but still light and fun. While leaving the venue for the second time, a venue flyer caught my eye. Puddles Pity Party was in town, too!

Garden of Unearthly Delights (Fringe Festival Venue)
Puddles Pity Party Potluck
YOU GUYS, I SAW PUDDLES PITY PARTY.
I had seen him perform via YouTube on Postmodern Jukebox but had just missed one of his local performances, years ago. Well. It must've been fate, because here I was at the right venue in the right country! My family came to town, and this was where I took them on the first night. We went through two bottles of wine first, which was appropriate preparation for a seven foot tall clown who does not talk in between sets. Oh, man. It was lovely.

Have you heard of Puddles Pity Party before? He opened his show with his classic cover of 'Royals'. But it got so much better than that. Singing "Fix You" to a back drop of videos of million dollar Boston Dynamics robots falling over. A weird hero-worship of Kevin Costner who sent a video that doesn't make sense. "We Don't Need Another Hero" while odd clips of Waterworld played in the background. Singing a tribute song to coffee while an audience member sits on stage drinking coffee. My dad was eventually called on stage and was handed a pie to eat. And then Puddles began to sing "Under Pressure." Puddles is an experienced showman, and it came through in his brilliant delivery.

The last show, my sister and I attended upon realization that the entire Adelaide Botanic Park was closed due to WOMADelaide. Butt Kapinski was a spur-of-the-moment selection, and was awkward with occasional moments of humor. A film noir murder mystery with lots of audience participation and only a little bit of plot. An over-reliance on racial and gender-crossing humor made the show rather predictable and somewhat uncomfortable (for those of us who live in the politically correct version of the world), but that's life. Still entertaining.

Puddles Pity Party Potluck


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