Showing posts with label adelaide fringe 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adelaide fringe 2013. Show all posts

Monday, 25 February 2013

2013 Adelaide Fringe Review - Charles Barrington in One Character or Less

2013 Adelaide Fringe Review - Charles Barrington in One Character or Less
The Tuxedo Cat until 2 March

I can't help thinking that Adelaide punters are constantly missing a trick with Charles Barrington.  I have seen his last couple of shows here and the audiences have been - I am sure Mr Barrington won't mind me saying this - poor.  Not in terms of quality, of course (indeed, when I have been there the shows have been enthusiastically received), but certainly in terms of quantity.  I may be under a misapprehension here, and on nights when I haven't been in the house has been full, but it seems that Adelaide theatre-goers are depriving themselves of the real treat that is Anthony Rogers' delightful comic creation.

Part esoteric musings, part pseudo-Hollywood gossip, part lecture on bees, the actor-producer-writer-director Charles Barrington (he started as a child actor when he was very young...) has a unique way with a punchline; he will often not only lead you to it, but will sometimes wait for you to get there before him.  The show has a distinct, easy-paced, almost shambolic rhythm to it and there is undoubtedly more than a whiff of substance or alcohol abuse in Mr Barrington's past that goes some way to accounting for this.  The performance has spontaneity and charm and, as one would expect from an international star of Mr Barrington's stature, he has an easy - and yet arm's length - rapport with the audience.

I think Charles Barrington is one of the most unique comic personas to have appeared in Australia in the last few years, and one that has the potential to really grow.  The jokes are funny, the character has depth, and there is a rich vein of comic material to be mined in parodying the pomposity of the self-absorbed performer.  If a less frantic, more reflective style of comedy is what you are yearning for, I would urge you to pay Mr Barrington a visit, as I think an undiscovered gem is being hidden in full view, while Adelaide just doesn't seem to be looking.


Thursday, 21 February 2013

2013 Adelaide Fringe Review - The Blue Room

2013 Adelaide Fringe Review - The Blue Room 
by David Hare
Presented by 5 Pound Theatre, directed by Jason Cavanagh
Starring Kaitlyn Clare and Zak Zavod
At Urban Spaceman Vintage, 2/27 Gresham Street @ 9.00pm until 2 March

Standing out in a somewhat down-at-heel Gresham Street watching a Reeperbahnesque performance in a shop window makes a most interesting start to a theatrical evening.  The vintage clothing store Urban Spaceman is transformed into a performance space for this production of David Hare’s loose 1998 adaptation of Schnitzler’s La Ronde, and so the display window was put to novel use as a prologue to the play.

Despite being an adaptation, this is very much a David Hare play, in particular in its portrayal of incongruous, enigmatic relationships or encounters, such as that between the MP Charles and the model Kelly, or between the actress and the wealthy American, Malcolm.  Hare has long had a fascination with the power politics of love, and so it is not only the prostitute Irene for whom sex is a transaction.  Unfulfilled yearning - for love, for excitement, for a better world - is always at the heart of Hare’s plays, although in The Blue Room it is not always clear just what it is that the characters are yearning for.  There is the suggestion throughout the play that relationships and sex are a way of diverting ourselves from our disappointment with life, and that love, if it comes along, is but a temporary distraction, a way of momentarily forgetting an emptiness that the play would seem to be suggesting is at the heart of existence.

If this sounds as though it makes for an overwhelmingly grim evening, this is far from being the case.  The production is notable for a simply outstanding performance by Kaitlyn Clare.  Worthy of particular praise are her portrayals of the French au pair Marie, Kelly the eastern European model, and Emma the middle-class married woman, although all of her characterisations are of the highest quality.  When the characters demand it, she is in turn vulnerable, domineering, confused and calculating, and manages to play both youthful and more mature characters with equal precision.  Ms Clare’s physical characterisations were also deftly differentiated, and she can both totter on high heels when stoned and play the theatrical grand dame with equal elan.  This is a highly accomplished piece of acting and shows Ms Clare to be an extremely versatile actress with a great range, and we can expect to see her playing major roles in our leading theatres in the not too distant future.

Zak Zavod’s performance is perhaps less frequently engaging (although I would venture to suggest that this is as much to do with the playwright as with the performer), in that the range of characterisations is possibly too wide to reasonably expect one actor to take on, particularly in the no-frills world of fringe theatre.  It might be an unreasonable expectation for an actor to successfully engage with the characters of both Anton and Charles, and so it is not surprising that the latter was the least fleshed-out character in Mr Zavod’s repertoire.  Having said this, I nevertheless enjoyed his portrayal of the pompous playwright Robert, and Malcolm the American suitor, that latter being Mr Zavod’s most successful creation and providing one of the play’s stand-out scenes.

This production has attempted to make a virtue out of necessity in its staging and, one or two costuming quibbles aside, director Jason Cavanagh’s spare setting, limited lighting and imaginative use of an unconventional theatre space serve the play well.  However, it is Ms Clare’s performance that is the main attraction and if there is a better acting performance at this year’s Fringe, I should be very much surprised.

Cadogan and Hall at the 2013 Adelaide Fringe

Monday, 11 February 2013

What We're Seeing at the 2013 Adelaide Festival Fringe

Fringe time is upon us again, and we have booked a fairly eclectic group of shows - a number of old favourites are being revisited (although we're devastated that Judith Lucy & Denise Scott is sold out) and looking forward to seeing some new and interesting acts from around the world.

Reviews will be posted here and we look forward to reading comments, both on the shows we've chosen and what we have to say about them.

Wednesday 20 February
The Blue Room - Urban Spaceman Vintage @ 9.00pm
Thursday 21 February
Samantha's Hotline - Duke of York, 82 Currie Street @ 7.30pm
Saturday 23 February
One for the Ugly Girls - Tuxedo Cat @ 3.00pm
Lords of Luxury - Tuxedo Cat @ 7.15pm
Marcel Lucont: Gallic Symbol - Tuxedo Cat @ 9.45pm
Sunday 24 February
Charles Barrington in One Character or Less - Tuxedo Cat @ 8.30pm
Ex-German - Gluttony: The Pig Pen @ 10.45pm
Wednesday 27 February
Nik Coppin is Not Racist - The Austral: Red Room @ 9.45pm
Saturday 2 March
Jack the Ripper - Guthries: Eliza Hall, 126 Prospect Road @ 8.00pm
Sunday 3 March
5-Step Guide to Being German - The Austral: The Bunka @ 7.00pm
Friday 8 March
Eric's Tales of the Sea - Tuxedo Cat @ 6.00pm
Tuesday 12 March
Influence - Tandanya Theatre, 253 Grenfell Street @ 7.00pm


Cadogan and Hall are a team of freelance writers based in Adelaide, South Australia
See our reviews at cadoganandhall.blogspot.com.au or www.cadoganandhall.com