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Final week Adelaide Festival and Fringe highlights

Festivals

With less than a week left to indulge in the Mad March festival smorgasbord, here are some Adelaide Festival highlights still to come – from gigs on the Palais to provocative theatre – and our picks from the Fringe music, comedy, theatre and circus line-up.

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Adelaide Festival

Gigs on the Palais

The Adelaide Festival’s series of live music gigs on the Palais on the River Torrens continues throughout this week with indie-rock five-piece Augie March playing tomorrow night (Wednesday), and Aboriginal soul and blues singer Emma Donovan and The Putbacks performing a tribute to the late musician Ruby Hunter on Thursday. Closing out the week will be indie-pop singer Megan Washington (Friday), Irish singer Camille O’Sullivan, exploring “the dark and light of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds” (Friday and Saturday), and Melbourne band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (Saturday).

Foehn

Plastic bags are transformed by a puppeteer into all manner of creatures – from flying superheroes to floating ghosts – in the imaginative and whimsical family show Foehn, performed to the music of Debussy and presented by France’s Compagnie Non Nova. “It’s exhilarating and unexpectedly awe-inspiring to see plastic bags – those despised by-products of consumer culture – take flight, transformed into graceful little dancers, flitting, swirling, waltzing on currents of air… no strings, no tricks, just a brilliantly conceived and planned choreography,” says Adelaide Festival joint artistic director Rachael Healy. – AC Arts Main Theatre, March 13-17

Zizanie

Zizanie dancer Kathryn Evans. Photo: Regis Lansac

Acclaimed choreographer and dancer Meryl Tankard has teamed up with Adelaide’s award-winning Restless Dance Theatre – which presented the 2017 Festival hit Intimate Space at the Hilton Hotel – to create this new work celebrating “the beauty in difference”. Zizanie is a French word which can mean, among other things, “weeds”, with Tankard saying the work is a response to a world where people are expected to be neat, tidy and ordinary, and fit in a certain box. “The Restless artists may not fit the stereotypical dancer image but it is in their difference that you will see their beauty and creativity.” – Space Theatre, March 14-17

Grand Finale

Rachel Healy says this show, from the UK-based Hofesh Shechter Company, “represents the essence of what the Adelaide Festival is all about: sometimes challenging and always entertaining; quality at the cutting edge”. Performed by 10 dancers and live musicians, the show was described by the UK Guardian as “a wild waltz for the end of time” and is said to draw on an unstoppable energy derived from folk dance, military exercise, club-dancing and the gym. – Festival Theatre, March 15-17

Ulster American

Photo: Sid Scott

This explosive satire has been called the most-talked-about – and divisive – show at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, raising questions that are timely in the #metoo era even though Belfast-born playwright David Ireland wrote it before the movement began. Ulster American is set in an apartment where an Oscar-winning actor, an ambitious English director (both male) and a female Northern Irish playwright meet to discuss a play, with their conversation escalating to “a dangerous and violent climax”. Asked by InDaily to describe the play in five words, director Gareth Nicholls, of Scotland’s Traverse Theatre, offered: “Funny. Political. Provocative. Bloody. Brutal.” Read the full Q&A here. – Dunstan Playhouse, March 13-18

Adelaide Fringe

Yabarra: Gathering of Light

This free immersive Kaurna storytelling experience involving large-scale light and sound artworks along the Karrawirra Parri (River Torrens) is on for all 31 nights of the Adelaide Fringe, so if you haven’t seen it yet you’ve still got six more chances to do so. Created by a team led by senior Kaurna custodian of ceremony Karl Telfer, the Yabarra riverbank trail includes digital projections, immersive light installations, giant inflatable animals and interactive points which share Kaurna stories and knowledge of the seasons and nature. – nightly from 8.30pm until March 17.

Circus & physical theatre

Photo: Kate Pardey

Amid the packed circus and physical theatre program at Adelaide Fringe, it can be difficult to pick favourites, but among those our reviewers have awarded four stars or more are Berlin-based Analogue the Company’s Finale, an unpretentious yet highly enjoyable show which scooped a Fringe weekly award and has the feeling of an impromptu street performance accompanied by an excellent live soundtrack (at Gluttony until March 17) and the high-energy, family-friendly Fuego Carnal, featuring a high-flying bagpiper, sword-swallower, knife-thrower, acrobats – and flames (Gluttony until March 17). Also worth checking out are perennial favourites Briefs, who this year bring their unique blend of circus, drag, burlesque and comedy to the RCC Fringe with Close Encounters – Bonython Hall until March 16

Fringe music

Alex Rossi and Friends.

“When a show starts with free beer and peaks with a John Farnham sing-a-long, you can be sure that you’ve come across something good,” our reviewer wrote in her five-star critique of The Choir of Man’s Adelaide Fringe show (Gluttony until March 17). Also given the five-star treatment is The Magnets’ Naked ’80s (Gluttony, until March 17). For those keen to kick on late into the night, Fringe weekly award winner Alex Rossi & Friends: The After Party is presenting a mash-up of blues, hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll at the Fortuna Spiegeltent in the Garden of Unearthly Delights (until March 17). The final week music line-up at RCC includes UK alt-cabaret group and Edinburgh Fringe hit The Lipsinkers – “Contains nudity. And stupidity” (nightly until Sunday), while the Garden program also includes Ceberano + Co (March 17), with Kate Ceberano performing “covers of her own songs, covers of her favourite Australian artists and a smattering of new songs”.

Fringe theatre

Martha Lott in the poster image for Grounded.

UK playwright Henry Naylor is once again leading the Fringe theatre highlights, with his latest show, Games –  about two female German-Jewish athletes training feverishly for the chance to win gold at the ‘Nazi Olympics’ in 1936 – scooping the Adelaide Critics’ Circle Award. It’s at Holden Street Theatres until the end of the festival; read our review here. Also wowing the critics is new play Grounded, featuring Holden Street Theatres’ Martha Lott as a fighter pilot whose career ends early because of an unexpected pregnancy (showing until March 17). For something different, German flipbook theatre-maker Volker Gerling is presenting his show Portraits in Motion – previously seen at the Adelaide Festival in 2017 (read our review here) – at the Union Cinema as part of the RCC Fringe program until March 17. And over at nthspace gallery (in North Street) is Fringe innovation award winner 30,000 Notes, SA composer and performer Josh Belperio’s music-theatre show inspired by “a lifetime of handwritten notes, diary entries, musical scores, shopping lists and other detritus”.

Fringe comedy

Lano & Woodley.

Awarded five stars by InDaily’s reviewer, The Latebloomers’ high-energy physical comedy show Scotland! uses a mix of mime, improvised scenes and occasional songs to take an offbeat look at the world’s view of Scotland (National Wine Centre, until March 17). Other comedy picks include Lano & Woodley’s Fly (People’s Choice award winner at Melbourne International Comedy Festival), Sam Simmons and Scottish comedian Fern Brady (all in the Garden of Unearthly Delights), Fringe Weekly award winner George Glass Proves the Existence of God (Gluttony), and Danny Bhoy – Age of Fools (Royalty Theatre).

See all InDaily’s Adelaide Festival and Fringe stories and reviews here.

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