Saturday, February 26, 2011

General Fringey-ness

So week two draws to a close and we are at the halfway mark for the 2011 Adelaide Fringe.

Some interesting things.

Good stuff :

The Garden seems less mega-packed this year. Often there is a monster mama-jammer queue to get in and when you get in it's quite empty-ish. Of course there are often a few thousand people inside shows at any given moment, but in previous years the Garden seemed much busier. It does make getting in a bit harder, but being in the garden a somewhat nicer experience.

Festival attendance numbers seem to be up yet again and it's great to see the SOLD OUT sign on so many deserving shows. Again, the only downside of that is it makes it somewhat harder to see everything you want to see.

If you are having trouble deciding on what to see - check out Rush Tix in the Garden or look on the Fringetix website. These are often half price or less and if you want to see something but not sure what, this is a cheap and easy way of filling your Fringe schedule. Plus there are free shows in the Garden most days and also in the Mall at the Fringetix caravan.

There are a number of showcase gigs on during the Fringe this year. They are a bit like a tasting plate and it's a great way to have a great night see a whole bunch of comedians doing ten minute spots and perhaps inspire you to go and see their full gig.
These include :
Heath Franklin's Chopper : Hosted by Chopper usually three guests, all very established acts.
The Phat Cave : Hosted by Mickey D with up to EIGHT guests.
The Rhino Room Late Show : Probably the best best of the tasting plates for comedy. Different hosts and up to eight acts a night.
Marcel Lucont, Etc - A Chat Show : Hosted by the magnificent Monsieur Lucont, two or three guests.
Late Night Band Thing : All comedian live band karaoke on Saturday nights, excellent fun.

Great to see Adelaide's BURLESQUE BEAUTIES selling out shows and having to add more performances at Rhino. Two sold out shows today, more shows added next weekend.

Bad Stuff :

If I can pass on one bit of wisdom about this years fringe it would be this. When you are looking for a park near the Garden and you see a killer parking space on East Terrace (opposite PJ O'Briens or near the Fringe Club) DO NOT PARK THERE. The signs say it's ticket parking til 8pm or something, but there are other signs that say 'PARKING CONDITIONS HAVE CHANGED'. What this means is every car that parks in those spots gets a EIGHTY FIVE DOLLAR FINE. Yep $85 which is utter robbery and very much not in the spirit of the Fringe there Adelaide City Council. When I see somebody pulling into one of those spots I always try and warn them. Now I'm warning you.

There have been a number of black-outs in The Garden and Gluttony resulting in shows being delayed, postponed or in a few cases - performed in the dark (hat's off to you Felicity Ward and Guy Pratt).

Those creepy locust/cricket bugs all over town are mega-yuck. Also The Gluttony site seems to have a lot of possums and Golden Orb spiders, so watch where you are walking.

People are still working out where Gluttony is. If you stand on East Terrace facing the Garden it is to your right just over Grenfell St. I was wondering why they don't have a big-ass sign saying Gluttony over the entrance (that you could see from the Garden) and apparently there is a such a sign. On it's way from China. Should have been here last Wednesday. Still not up. And the is Fringe half finished... At least it will get here in time for next year.

Tuxedo Cat has a great new home this year. It's a bit post-apocalyptic looking but that is a good part of it's charm. They have done a terrific job creating an exciting new Fringe space and should be applauded. Couple of tiny niggles few too many seats in a couple of the rooms making it uncomfortable and some traffic flow issues (holding some people downstairs til after their shows have started), but these are just teething problems that I hope are now sorted.

General other stuff

If you haven't had a chance yet some shows to catch

DEAD CAT BOUNCE - CAGED HEAT Some initial sound issues sorted and my favourites last year, DCB return with a great new collection of awesome songs of fantastically questionable intent and marksmen like precision.
DEAD CAT BOUNCE - BOOTLEGS. It's funny but not a comedy show. It's all about dancing as the lads do a 90 live band mash-up set which is guaranteed to have you dancing your pants off. (Mondays 10:30pm Gluttony)
TOM GLEESON - Up Himself. He's not, very funny man
MARCEL LUCONT - Greatest living faux Frenchman.
FELICITY WARD - Honestly. She's fantastic - honestly.
DAVID QUIRK - THE DAY I ATE WOMBAT. If your tastes in comedy runs to the darker side, Quirk is the man for you.
SAMMY J & RANDY - BIN NIGHT : Still trying to get in for this show, often sold out SJ&R always awesome.
TOM BINNS - IAN D MONTFORT - SPIRIT MEDIUM : Think comedic John Edwards.

Great shows starting this week
Adelaide's own makes a most welcome return after being based in the UK for bloomin' ages.
DEANNE SMITH : ABOUT FREAKIN' TIME. Canadian gal who is regularly smart and witty and well worth checking out.
HANNAH GADSBY : MRS CHUCKLES last years show one of my favourite shows, intelligent, deadpan, fantastic.
GREG FLEET : BIG LOVE. Fleety returns with Mick Moriarty (Gud/Gadflys) for laughs and music.
ONE MAN LORD OF THE RINGS : If you saw his one man Star Wars trilogy, you'll be as excited as I am to finally get to see his LOTRs show. The whole story "from the Shire to the fire" in one hour.
TOM BINNS - IVAN BRACKENBURY'S HOSPITAL RADIO SHOW. After a criminally under publicized run last year, this gag heavy show return for 2011. He did a guest spot at dead cat Bounce the other night and had the entire audience in fits. "This goes out to Greg who is in Emergency with a Spiderman figure suck up his bum (queue mPeople) "You've got to search for the hero inside youself".
THE AXIS OF AWESOME - SONGS IN THE KEY OF AWESOME : Are going to be MASSIVE this year. Touring internationally and finding a huge audience in the UK, USA and Europe. Catch 'em while you still can.
THE AXIS OF AWESOME - & FREINDS SING SONGS : Promises to be an all-star sing-stastic freak out. Three nights only.
WEIRD AL YANKOVIC - IN CONCERT : Yes the real actual Weird Al. trust me when I say - he is UNBELIEVABLE in concert, 15 costume changes (including the FAT suit from Eat It), crams in songs, medleys, video sections and much more. Do yourself a favour.

See you at the Fringe kids.

xx dj ian

Tuesday, February 22, 2011




Excess Tent


(Corner East Terrace & Grenfell st)

Monday Nights 10:30pm

I quite like Gluttony as a venue, but it’s a bit like Siberia to most people (they have no idea where it is), even though it is really very close to the garden. If you head south along East Terrace from the Garden (i.e. away from North Tce) walk past the Fringe Club and you’ll see the Gluttony site across the road (Grenfell St). It would be a really smart move to work out where it is, because there are some awesome acts playing there this Fringe. Not least of which are Tom Binns (doing two different and fab shows) and Adelaide’s favourite Irish comedy rock band DEAD CAT BOUNCE.

Last year DCB were a festival sensation and this year they are doing two different shows, their actual show (Caged Heat) and their BOOTLEGS set. If you don’t understand what a musical mash up is, give me a minute to explain. A mash-up is where a DJ takes two songs let’s (say Sweet dreams by the Eurythmics and Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes) and weaves them together to make something new (Seven Sweet Dreams of the Army). When this is done well it is fantastic fun and will get the dance floor pumping. DCB’s bootlegs is a dance floor frenzy inducing mega blast. Played entirely live by the talented four piece band, they slam through countless musical matches from the bank of party favourites. During the rollercoaster party there are songs by Franz Ferdinand, Michael Jackson, Simian Mobile Disco, Black Box, Lenny Kravitz, Fresh Prince, AC/DC, Britney, Kylie, Guns’n’Roses, Starship, MGMT, Daft Punk, Haddaway, Huey Lewis, Lady Gaga, The Police, Christina, Doors, Paul Simon and dozens of others ; all mixed together in a big bowl to create the best party punch ever. It only takes a few minutes to get the entire tent (which earlier this night had Hip Hop legends De La Soul rockin’ the place) on their feet and dancing their pants off. Last year they did Bootlegs a few times (notably on the balcony of Nova when they shut down by the police Let It Be style), but you just had to be in the right place at the right time. This year the right time is Monday nights at 10:30pm at Gluttony.

Ian Bell



Umbrella Revolution

Saturday nights (technically Sunday morning) 12:30am

Ever been to karaoke?

You know how sometimes the people getting up to sing are a little bit not good?
And that along with being bad singers there’s nothing to watch?

Well image if you gathered together a whole bunch of stand-up comedians (nature’s show off’s) to do karaoke, it’s a whole different story. Certainly some are stronger singers than others, but they are all fantastically funny, used to being on stage and having a mic in their hands.

You should just clear your Saturday night late night schedule for the next three weeks right now. Adelaide comedian JASON CHONG has put together a garage band (including fellow comedians John Brooks, Jason Pastell, amongst others) as the house band and each week a mess of comedians get up and sing the karaoke classics while trying desperately to upstage each other and plug their respective Fringe shows. A delayed start because of earlier shows running late means it’s a little later start than advertised but those who didn’t have to get up in the morning were richly rewarded.

After a couple of numbers by the band (including Ghostbusters), they start bringing on the guest comedians. Chris Knight & Angus Hodge throw an entertainingly shambolic 500 Miles (Proclaimers) into the mix early sharing one microphone and one pair of glasses. Gordon Southern does Peaches by Presidents of The United States of America and revs the crowd up with a sing-a-long. Mike Klimzak congratulates Jason on his engagement, then sings Rick Springfield’s Jessie’s Girl, with some lyrical amendments. After dancing with The Burlesque Beauties and their ramshackle version of Umbrella by Rhianna, Dave Callan gets the audience doing the Woo Hoo bits of Song 2 (blur) with new lyrics (I’ve had a big bum, Since I was young, Looks like a big plum, It’s not my problem). Mark Trenwith busts out Super Freak by Rick James and throws in a bit of U Can’t Touch This (with Hammertime dancing) for good measure.

I should mention by now the audience is in a lather, they are not dancing but they are stomping their feet, punching the air and singing along at the top of their lungs. Johan Beardraven from The Beards appears to sing Never Tear Us Apart (INXS) and as a professional singer, he blows the roof off the tent, especially when he runs off stage to grab a saxophone and does that classic solo note perfect. George Kapiniaris gets a girl out of the audience to hold his nose while singing Video Killed the Radio Star (a highlight). Hans Brokenhymen arrives in a glittering onesy and two chairs. He has chosen The Divynls classic I Touch Myself and he is climbing over the audience, pole dancing, grinding folk in the audience and finishes with an impressive splits using the two chairs. There are others including the excellent Marcel Lucont & Dave Thornton. It was a thigh slapping, side splitting romp all the way through. Seeing these comedians away from their respective shows, off the script, just doing something really fun is a joy to behold. Johan from the Beards returns for a show stopping You’re the Voice and they are joined on stage by a chorus line of other comedians and it’s utterly fantastic. DON’T MISS THE OTHER SHOWS!




Tuxedo Cat

10pm every night (no Wednesdays) til Mar 13

A most welcome return to the Adelaide Fringe is MARCEL LUCONT. The barefoot Frenchman wearing a polo neck top and blazer, wine glass in-hand Lucont is France’s leading misanthropist and lover (self-proclaimed). We are very fortunate to be part of his audience, as he will be quick to tell us. His comic timing is impeccable and the wit dry and shot with laser precision. All necessary attributes for this show. Lucont hosts a late night (10pm) chat show with many guests chatting with Marcel in a battle of wits, each of which ends in a staring competition between host and guest. Luconts deadpans throughout even when his guests are doing their best to break his stoic and amusing comic resolve. Guests so far this year have included Sam Simmons, Dave Callan, Stevl Shefn & His Translator Fatima. Excellent audience interactions and a must see fro the 2011 Fringe.

Ian Bell



The Precise History of Things

Bosco Theatre

Garden of Unearthly Delights

8:45pm til March 13

In 2006 I first saw SAM SIMMONS for the first time with his show Tales From The Exotic Cat. I loved it to bits and returned several times during his Fringe run, bringing new converts with me each time.

Each new show from Simmons has been a delightfully off-kilter surrealistic romp.

With his latest show THE PRECISE HISTORY OF THINGS, I doubt I will have the luxury of returning for multiple viewings as the season is doing amazing numbers and often has the Sold Out sign out front of The Bosco theatre. This is in no small part because Simmons has well and truly nailed it this time round. Using many of the tools from previous shows; cartoons, music, dances, songs, props and unlikely talismen (Old El Paco Taco Kit anyone?) Sam’s rapid-fire lunacy is utterly infectious and beautifully executed. In the past a slight mistake by the sound technician could stuff up a gag and throw Simmons off, but whoever his tech is this run is doing a brilliant job hitting his mark perfectly on what seemed like hundreds of musical and lighting queues. The premise of this show is that he got people to write to him and ask him questions which he answers in a variety of ways. Simmons is in complete control of his chaos and is a commanding presence on the stage. I’m not sure if it is actually a precise history of anything in particular, but I can tell you Sam Simmons is precisely one of the best shows at the 2011 Fringe. Get to it if you can get a ticket

Ian Bell




The Spare Room

Garden of Unearthly Delights

8:15pm til March 13

I really enjoy Melbourne comedian DAVID QUIRK. His material goes to strange and uncomfortable places and I always thoroughly the ride.

It’s a bit like going on a ghost train, where strange and creepy things jump out of the dark at you, giving you a scare. Some people love a ghost train and some people don’t.

Quirk’s show is not for the casual passer-by-might-pop-in-&-see-a-bloke-tell-jokes-&-I’ll-laugh audience. It’s not set-up + punchline = laugh. Not that the show is lacking laughs, because they are plentiful. He is a well crafted story teller who takes you through some major league weird scenarios (just what is an appropriate audience for a dacking?) some of which may confuse or offend the casual attendee. He begins the show with some heavy metal interpretive dance. THE DAY I ATE WOMABT is about growing up and wanting fit in with the cool kids (sort of). And the type of things we all do try and make that happen, and the consequences that sometimes ensue.

About ten minutes in an audience member decides to leave in a rather vocal manner. A lesser performer would have been completely thrown by such a distraction so early in a performance. Quirk handled it fantastically well. Clearly a little shaken at first, he takes a detour from his show to tell some hilarious stories about other bizarre things that have happened in previous audiences. Returning to his intended narrative, Quirk quickly regains his momentum and romps home. I have mentioned the name Bill Hicks in a previous Quirk review, and I stand by that. The material isn’t similar but the courage to pull on some big boots and stomp and kick in the darker edges of comedy certainly is. David is finding his audience and you may well find it hugely rewarding to find Quirk.

Ian Bell



11pm most nights – All fringe

If you are looking at the Fringe guide, scratching your head about what to comedy to go see, the Rhino Rooms LATE SHOW is the perfect place to start. Most nights of the Fringe you’ll get a line up of around six to eight top notch stand ups doing ten minute spots. You never quite know who you’re going to get, but that’s half the fun of it. In the past they’ve had everybody from Arj Barker, Dead Cat Bounce, you name them they’ve played the Late Show. Opening night of this years Late Show season featured Bec Hill, Adam Keily, Talking Poofy, Jeff Green, Dave Thornton, Rob Hunter and Michael Bowley with host Dave Callan gluing the whole thing together. The beauty of this format is the acts are generally doing really good material to encourage you to come and see their full shows and as an audience you may well catch somebody fantastic that you may not have otherwise considered giving your hard earned bucks too. Tonight that definitely happened with Talking Poofy whose high camp, bitchy ramshackle performance had the whole room in stitches. Jeff Green, originally from the UK, but as his shows title explains I Live Here Now, has really well written material, is a highly professional performer and probably the most traditional of the comedy on offer tonight. The local Adelaide comedians represent fantastically well too. Adam Keily’s material about his life as an IT guy and living with his dad was great. Michael Bowley and Dave Thornton (hot off his first appearance on Good News Week) were both crowd favourites. Rob Hunter is unusual for a local comic. It’s never quite straight ahead stand-up, his nervous & harassed persona often interrupted by a supporting cast of other characters and his spot turned into a lonely hearts spot for a fellow cast member. My favourite this evening was Bec Hill, Adelaide girl, turned Melbourne girl and currently London girl literally straight off the plane and direct to the Rhino. Armed with her trusty sketch book she has a great line in ‘pop-up book’ visuals absurdist humour, great observations and cracking gags. I am very much looking forward to her show (Bec Hill Didn’t Want to Play your Stupid Game Anyway) starting in the second fortnight of this years Fringe. So no excuses – get yourself down to the Rhino Late Show and some laughs into you. Or out of you. Whatever.

Ian Bell



Bosco Theatre

Garden of Unearthly Delights

Remaining shows: Feb 25-26, march 11-12 (11:30pm)

There are several showcase gigs at this year’s fringe and Adelaide’s own MICKEY D and his PHAT CAVE is proving extremely popular. The line-up changes every night and the opening night was a stellar line up including amongst others ARJ BARKER, DAVE CALLAN, DEAD CAT BOUNCE and JUSTIN HAMILTON. With each act doing about ten minutes, they are all packing in the ha-ha’s to make their impact in a limited timeframe. Callan busts some moves and talks about fellating a pixie. Arj Barker does all new material so when people go to his show, you haven’t heard ten minutes of it already. “People in Adelaide are all so nice”, say Barker, “I guess it’s those signs all over town that say Polite’s”. Justin Hamilton tells a very funny story about an argument with a woman in a gym. Dead Cat Bounce are as always fan-bloody-tastic. Mickey D is loud and brash and Aussie as and this crowd loves him to bits. The house ‘band’ is DJ Tim Whitt who cuts it up at the intro and acts as D’s straight man/musical director and does a great job. Phat Cave is only on Friday and Saturday nights so mark them on your fringe calender.

Ian Bell




Le Cascadeur

Garden of Unearthly Delights

7:30pm til Mar 13


Her comedy is smart, funny and about as self-effacing as you will ever come across. A lot of this comes from her brutal honesty. In the past she has discussed having Chrones, her family and Aussie outer suburban childhood. With her latest fringe show, HONESTLY some of it revolves around a recently diagnosed anxiety condition. While some would take this news badly, disappearing into their shell, Felicity uses it for fantastic comedic ammunition. Her material is excellently written and her delivery one of the warmest and likable of any you could wish to see. She also excels at rolling with the punches, and audience interaction. Nothing seems to phase the pocket rocket. From giving an I.T. guy a rock star welcome, to teaching three month old Patrick some terms and activities he may always regret (seriously who takes a baby to a comedy show? Call child services), Felicity Ward is a complete joy from go to whoa. There are some other cool things, but I’m not going to tell you what they are because you should go and sample them for yourselves, because it’s a great show. Honestly.

Ian Bell




8:15pm til March 13th

Cupola - Garden of Unearthly Delights

Last September I was in Melbourne when their Fringe was on and I wanted to see BARRY MORGANS WORLD OF ORGANS. Every one of his shows was sold out. All the extra shows in the venues largest room all sold out in record time. After seeing Mister Barry Morgan at last, I can understand why. The global economic crisis has caused a plunge in electronic organ sales, so Mr Morgan has been forced to go on the road to spruik the many features of the Hammond Aurora Classic organ. The stage is set up in classic ‘demonstration’ mode. A screen on each side of the stage (with over-head camera to catch all the keyboard action) and Barry Morgan makes his entrance, bouffanted hair, freshly pressed safari suit, Alan Border moustache, gaudy jewellery and the cheesiest smile ever. He greets us warmly “Hello customers” and explains that one of us will be going home tonight with his organ. That doesn’t sound like a great gag, but trust me it’s all in the delivery. While demonstrating the many attractive features of the Aurora Barry also demonstrates that he is also a great keyboard player and I find myself alternating between wanting to make a bid on this fine instrument at the end of the show or starting a band with him. As a 70’s light entertainment character Barry Morgan nails it like nobody else since Bob Downe. With a great line in hilarious facial expressions, beautiful line of catch phrases (‘Oh Barry!) Morgan does a few infomercials for his fellow store owners in the Sunndyday Mall (‘Lately I’ve been getting all my meat at the butchers’) and enlists members of his audience to help him demonstrate his ‘one finger method’ on his classic and classy instrument. As word gets around I suspect Mr Morgan’s show will be hard to get into. Highly recommended folks.

Ian Bell


Rhino Room
8:30pm til Feb 26

For the last five years Dave Callan has been the much loved late night host of Triple J’s Saturday night Graveyard Shift. His audience ranged from the cute and playful to utterly deranged. People came to know regulars like Snake Farmer Charmer and hold them in great affection. However a great deal of his audience were in the middle of their Saturday partying activities and for some reason instead of concentrating on the business of getting wasted they often thought it a good idea to ring a national radio station, wait in the queue for ages and then talk the most bizarre nonsense to Dave Callan. Dave’s warm and interesting and interested demeanour meant even when being thrown the most random comments in all of randomland he was able to make it into excellent radio. His current Fringe show RADIO GAGA is a testament to both his audience and his talent as a fast thinking comedian (and part time weirdo juggler).

Like his last show O+> (The Sign for Women), Radio Gaga is all based on the weirdness of the reality of his late night radio career. There are lots of ‘you couldn’t make that up’ moments, as Callan plays clips from his show that has to be heard to be believed. There are calls from parallactically drunk people, bush poets and one guy who tell Dave in earnest that he was abducted by aliens with strange consequences. All linked together with Dave’s infectious enthusiasm and asides such as examining musical acts who aren’t what they say they are “Groove Armada – Are not an Armada in fact don’t own a single Spanish Galleon” and so forth. With amusing visuals to help things along, and strong sales for most of his season, get in quick while you can.

Ian Bell


Good Evening/Morning to you.

I figured I should have one place to put all my Adelaide Fringe 2011 reviews. That is the place you now find yourself.