Ticket sales for the 2015 Adelaide Festival are ahead of the same time last year, with a reinterpretation of The Who’s rock opera Tommy and Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton among the hot sellers.
The Festival, which opens tonight with a free party in Elder Park and will run until March 15, features 42 music, theatre, dance and visual arts events, including 22 Australian premieres.
“Adelaide Festival shows are 10 per cent ahead compared with the same time last year,” Festival chief executive Karen Bryant said of ticket sales so far.
“Several shows, including Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton, Tommy and Azimut are nearing or have already exceeded their individual box office targets.”
Tickets to Dylan Thomas – Return Journey, being performed by actor Bob Kingdom at Ayers House, have sold out, with several other shows, including French acrobatic ensemble Aurélien Bory’s Azimut, close to capacity.
Adelaide Festival artistic director David Sefton anticipates that Tommy – a reworking of the original production by musician and composer Eric Mingus and producer Hal Willner, with a cast of “rock and roll raconteurs” – will sell out for every performance.
“Tommy took on a life of its own quite early on and it’s just kept going – it’s completely caught on,” he told InDaily.
“I think we’ve been able to capture people’s imagination by doing it in a different way. It’s fantastic – people are going to love it. It’s totally different.”
A centre-point of the 2015 Adelaide Festival will be Blinc, a free digital light and sound show which will be switched on tonight (Friday) at the Festival opening party in Elder Park, where there will also be a Blinc Bar set up for the duration of the Festival.
Blinc features works by more than 20 international artists displayed in and around the park, the Adelaide Festival Centre and the Torrens Riverbank Precinct.
“It’s the largest thing we’ll ever do in this festival, and it is completely free and available to everybody,” Sefton said.
With Blinc running alongside a multi-venue exhibition of works by American video and sound installation artist Bill Viola, Sefton said the 2015 Festival would be presenting “a massive review of art”.
Other program highlights include performances by New York’s Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet; Blow the Bloody Doors Off!! – a nostalgia trip with music from Michael Caine films; and a multi-disciplinary show based on Canadian music producer and graphic novelist Kid Koala’s robot love story Nufonia Must Fall.
Sefton says diversity is a strong feature of this year’s program, with a music line-up ranging from a series of concerts by British composer Gavin Bryars and a solo piano concert by South African musician Abdullah Ibrahim, to the Unsound series of electronic and experimental music, and a collection of one-off gigs with a post-rock theme.
For Festival-goers looking for something different, Sefton recommends “a couple of gems”: Beauty and the Beast and The Cardinals.
Teaming UK director Phelim McDermott (Shockheaded Peter) with American burlesque star Julie Atlas and disabled performer Mat Fraser, the adults-only Beauty and the Beast is described in the Festival program as “the true love story of a beauty queen and a natural born freak”.
“It’s a fabulous production – one of my personal favourites,” Sefton says.
He says UK theatre company Stan’s Café’s The Cardinals, to be presented at Flinders Street Baptist Church, is both hilarious and inspired, making interesting points about religion within a story about three cardinals seeking to spread the good word.
“My prediction is that that will be one of the shows that will be talked about in years to come.”
The 2015 Adelaide Festival officially opens tonight with the free opening night party and Blinc switch-on in Elder Park, and will continue until March 15.
For more InDaily Adelaide Festival stories and reviews, click here.
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