Have you ever walked through the streets of Adelaide with a giant, talking penguin at your side? Neither had I until last Friday night, when I embarked on the comedy walking tour When We Were Idiots with host Xavier Toby.
Set in 2114, the tour takes you through the streets of historic Adelaide, unchanged since 2014, when the city was buried under a mound of rubbish. The tour begins at the East End Fringe box office (outside Gluttony), where we meet our penguin tour guide, Toby.
The first thing we discover is that a lot has changed in the 100 years since Adelaide was buried. Those who survived the devastation have gone on to create a utopian society, and penguins (having immigrated to Australia during the worst of the global warming crisis) have achieved equal rights.
Articulate and witty, Toby combines real facts with stories of pure fantasy to paint an interesting picture of our city’s demise, although his jokes are a little hit and miss. Wonder at the beauty of 2014 architecture, experience what it feels like to cross a busy road (an activity which is apparently obsolete in 2114), and marvel at the idiocy of old-time inventions such as advertising and cars.
Throughout the evening you are encouraged to speak to, interact with and even hug the strangers you encounter along the way – all of whom (we are told) are actors hired by Toby to help re-create 2014 Adelaide. There were certainly some interesting moments on Friday night’s tour – the highlight of which was confusing a restaurant full of diners.
A word to the wise: you will be laughed at, stared at and shouted at while on this tour, because the only thing weirder than seeing a grown man dressed as a penguin is seeing a group of fluoro-vested individuals following him.
Definitely a unique experience (though not one I think I’ll repeat), 2014: When We Were Idiots is an unusual way to spend an evening.
Tours run Thursday-Sunday night until March 16, and depart from FringeTIX box office in the East End (outside Gluttony).
Adelaide Fringe hub
Click here for all InDaily’s 2014 Adelaide Fringe stories and reviews.