Captivated by Dynamic Performances During My Third Day @ Adelaide Fringe Festival

During my third day at Adelaide Fringe Festival, I am finding myself inspired, entertained and humbled by such dynamic performances.  Here are some highlights:

First stop brought me back to Holden Street Theatre where British playwright Henry Naylor returns to Adelaide Fringe with ANGEL.  This one-woman show continues Naylor’s exploration into Middle Eastern culture within the current conflicts around Syria and the extremist group ISIS.  ANGEL is a powerful story about heroism and the often times unexpected pathways to one’s vocation.  Protagonist Rehana, or strongly regarded as the Angel, finds herself becoming a member of the resistance regime against ISIS only after the mysterious disappearance of her father.  In a search-and-rescue adventure, Rehana in challenged to become a killer in order to protect herself and other innocent Syrian citizens.  Eventually, the thoughts and actions that keep her and her fellow men and women safe make her grow numb to the idea of being a killer.  She has accepted the fact that she must do what is right and necessary for protection.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to catch Naylor’s ECHOES at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and was excited to see his return.  My expectations were certainly met: his style of writing is unique, and quite difficult to pinpoint its exact specialty; however, I, and many others (at least it is telling within the full house at this performance) find the word captivating.  The structure of his words build an intensity which then brings you back down with funny one-liners as a means of relief.

An additional highlight to ANGEL was performer, Avital Lvova  who carries the story with vigorous passion and intense purpose.  It is clear she has immersed herself inside and out into this character, and is brave enough to encounter the intense environment at every performance.  Even while taking her final bow at the end of the performance it seems at first that she cannot shake herself from away from the role as the same glossy look in her eyes remains well into her third and fourth bows.

Next up was a deliciously spicy and witty cabaret act called FOR LOVE OR MONEY.  I couldn’t help but make reference to the 2014 movie Pitch Perfect as I joyfully watched this delightful act.  All I had on repeat in my head was: ‘It’s aca-licious!’ 

Four brilliantly talented Australian female singers, who make up the female acapella groups Ginger and Tonic, captivated mine and the rest of the audience’s hearts and spirit for a full hour as they sang, danced and Anyone who says that women can’t be funny, that it’s ‘unlady-like’ to be brazen in front of a crowd or has presented a ridiculous argument that states women are not smart will be proven wrong at this hilariously crass and empowering performance.

Ginger and Tonic sing, harmonise, write and record a mixture of original songs, parodies and covers to some of today’s popular radio hits including the genres of rap, R&B and pop.  Furthermore, each lady presents their individual business ventures, demonstrating how the service or product works and why their idea will take off sometime in the near future.  After all, these women, who may be unlucky in love, are now here for money!

Ginger and Tonic present a campy fun-loving and jaw-dropping entertainment that will make you laugh and sing along to the very end.  Click HERE to check out their website and purchase a CD of their original songs!

Across the gardens at the Royal Croquet Club was the highly anticipated return of Casus Circus.  After winning last year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival award for Best Circus or Physical Theatre Performance the Queensland circus troupe brings a new work called DRIFTWOOD.  DRIFTWOOD is the ensemble’s chance to show the audience how far we can challenge the human spirit from all kinds of directions.  By challenging human strength, these performers stack themselves on the shoulders of one another reaching several meters tall and touching the ceiling!  And they don’t limit themselves based on size and abilities – they show the audience that even the shortest stature can bare the weight of the tallest member on their shoulders, or even the weight of all team members!  Mean while, the audience watches carefully, gasping in awe.

It is evident that the biggest strength to this ensemble is its dedication to teamwork.  Every movement performed on stage is strongly supported by one another, assuring the safety and care in each stunt.  There is strong regard for patience, guidance and celebration through each trick, which severely implies that this group perhaps works, breathes and practices these routines daily with one another.

DRIFTWOOD is a majestic and lyrical, gracious return from this brilliant Queensland circus troupe. 

Lastly, within St. Peter’s Cathedral, THE DEVIL’S PASSION enriches its audience with the retelling of the life of Jesus but through the eyes of the devil who is out to disrupt God’s plans.  In an epic performance by Justin Butcher, THE DEVIL’S PASSION captivates the audience through a densely structured script accompanied by simple yet effective lighting and sound effects.   Butcher masterfully dominates the stage as he weaves in and out of each beat throughout the story; he takes a few pauses in between allowing stronger moments to rest easy or uneasy with the audience.  Butcher’s powerful voice resounds like a preacher through little assistance of a wireless microphone; this theatrical feature adds to the production’s overall epic appeal.  It is clearly evident through THE DEVIL’S PASSION that Butcher is a powerhouse performer to reckon with!

For a long fringe performance that stretches to 2 hours with a small interval, THE DEVIL’S PASSION is moving and maintains a long-lasting relationship between theatre and church.  It’s a moving piece that will certainly be remembered long after the curtain closes.

For more information about any of these performances, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Adelaide Fringe Festival website HERE.