You often find in shows in the fringe design becomes the least rigorous element. Tight deadlines, tight bump-in/out schedules, tight budgets: it makes sense that the focus on design might be lost. The focus is on the central element: the text, the choreography, the music. Design is often simple, perhaps a few key items picked immaculately.
Chants des Catacombes bucks this trend completely. In the Old Adelaide Gaol (at the end of a poorly lit, poorly sign-posted road) for the Adelaide Fringe, the design is stunning.
We’re invited to walk into the space in small groups, and under the starry night air we walk between high, sheer walls of stone, the path marked with flickering candle light. We are released into a large, grassed courtyard, where we can just make out the silhouettes of our fellow travelers. As someone lightly plays away at the discordant piano, we sit talking with each other around candles in jars.