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Adelaide Fringe

Siege satire turns focus on TV media

Adelaide Fringe

Peter Maddern’s experience of being stuck in a locked-down building during a siege situation in Adelaide two years ago inspired him to write a Fringe theatre show satirising the TV media.

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“We had a view over the area,” he says of the 2014 event, which saw police cordon off part of the city after armed fugitive Rodney Clavell holed himself up with hostages in a massage parlour in King William Street.

“From that view, you didn’t know anything was happening, so it was very strange hearing the media build up so much tension.

“It was eerie and quiet, given there was a siege happening.”

Maddern’s Adelaide Fringe play, That Siege in Adelaide, centres on two fictional rival television networks trying to out-do each other to win the TV ratings battle.

The writer and editor of website says that in many ways the television media does a “terrific job”, but sometimes there is repetitious coverage of events where the facts aren’t known. Viewers, nonetheless, are kept enthralled by the tension.

“Being around and seeing first-hand how Adelaide’s 2014 siege was covered in the media, there seemed at times a big disconnect between the what and the when we were told and what actually happened,” Maddern says.

Director Matt Vecchio – whose previous Fringe shows include The Battletoads Two Player Challenge, and Remember Doctor Bubble? The Bubble Magician! – describes the show as an “over-the-top grotesque comedy”.

“It’s quite obvious that it isn’t real – it’s quite a controversial show,” he says.

The play is split between the “real-life” events acted on stage, and a television screen broadcasting the media’s portrayal of the events.

“One of the challenges is to keep that duality going and maintain enough focus between what’s going on on-stage and what’s happening on the TV,” Vecchio says.

Featuring an all-local cast – John Sabine, James Whitrow, Suzie Siebert, Todd Gray, Cassandra Scalzi and Colin Herring – the play is presented as a parody, featuring many references to Adelaide and South Australian media.

That Siege in Adelaide will be make its Fringe debut at The Bakehouse Theatre on February 23, with performances continuing until March 5.









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