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Adelaide Festival opening weekend highlights

Adelaide Festival

The 2017 Adelaide Festival begins today, with 31 music, dance, theatre and visual art shows, plus daily entertainment at the Riverbank Palais hub. Here are six InDaily opening-weekend picks.

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Neil Finn – March 5

Singer-songwriter Neil Finn will perform a free solo concert on the Adelaide Riverbank on Sunday, with a set expected to include songs from throughout his career, including hits by Split Enz and Crowded House, as well as his solo albums. The performance will begin at 6pm, but with capacity limited to 15,000 and gates open from 1pm, you’d be advised to arrive early to nab a spot on the lawn.

Riverbank Palais – until March 19

The House of Mirrors. Photo: Agency North

The House of Mirrors. Photo: Agency North

The floating Riverbank Palais ­– inspired by the Floating Palais de Dance nightspot which operated on the River Torrens in the 1920s –  is this year’s Adelaide Festival hub, serving up live entertainment, food and wine. The opening weekend program features concerts by “US godfather of chillwave” Toro Y Moi (tonight) and multi-instrumentalist producer and DJ Lord Echo Sound System (Saturday). The Riverbank Palais will also host a long lunch series (beginning on Saturday, with chef Kath Kerry), while the surrounding Parc Palais precinct in Elder Park houses the mirror-maze House of Mirrors as well as offering food, wine and roving entertainment.  See the full program here.

Adelaide Writers’ Week – March 4-9

Adelaide-Writers-WeekMore than 80 guest writers – including AS Patric, Kate Grenville, Adrian McKinty, Hannah Kent, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Jessa Crispin and Nick Earls – will take part in sessions tackling subjects ranging from crime and terrorism to US politics and poetry over the six-day Adelaide Writers’ Week program at the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden. Director Laura Kroestch offers her picks for seven must-see sessions here, and you can view the full program here.

The Secret River – until March 19

Adelaide-Festival---Secret_River_Photo-credit-Shane-Reid_1703

The Secret River at Anstey Hill Quarry. Photo: Shane Reid

It’s a rare treat to see theatre under the stars – and even more special when it’s a powerful drama like The Secret River in the setting of the Anstey Hill Quarry at Tea Tree Gully. This acclaimed adaptation of Kate Grenville’s historic novel about the conflict between an Aboriginal family and an English settler family along the New South Wales Hawkesbury River was originally produced by the Sydney Theatre Company and has won six Helpmann Awards. It’s being re-staged against the raw cliff backdrop of the quarry in association with the State Theatre Company of SA. Read InDaily‘s review here.

Portraits in Motion – March 4-18

Portraits in Motion. Photo: Franz Ritschel

Portraits in Motion. Photo: Franz Ritschel

This show presented by German photographer Volker Gerling is inspired by the flipbook – a concept that might seem old-fashioned in today’s selfie world but which Gerling has used to create something magical and intimate. He walked more than 3500km across Germany taking candid portraits which he turned into flipbook films that are presented with stories about each encounter. Adelaide Festival’s Rachel Healy describes Portraits in Motion as “completely mesmerising”, while her co-artistic director Neil Armfield says of Gerling: “He achieves that miracle of great art: he stops time.” Read more in this CityMag interview with the artist.

Intimate Spaces – until March 10

Intimate Spaces. Photo: Jianna Georgiou

Intimate Spaces. Photo: Jianna Georgiou

Restless Dance Theatre – an award-winning SA company featuring artists living with and without disability – is presenting this experiential dance-theatre show at the Hilton Hotel. Intimate Spaces was conceived by company artistic director Michelle Ryan, who says she has always been intrigued by hotel spaces and the stories and exchanges which occur within them. Described as both elegant and humorous, each show will be limited to around 10 audience members, who will be guided through the hotel’s front and back-of-house, not as mere voyeurs, but as key players in the performance. “Witness a tender and cheeky duet in a private room, then an urgent physical explosion in the loading dock. All looks neat and tidy but what is going on behind the scenes of these emotional dance vignettes?”

Other opening weekend shows including Barrie Kosky’s operatic work Saul and Canadian dance production Betroffenheit (both sold out), Berlin-based company Schaubühne Theatre’s take on Richard III, and interactive sound installation Gardens Speak, inspired by the conflict in Syria.

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