AdlFringe Diary: Week One

by Jane

I started the week with spending the weekend at the User Generated Cities Forum, run by the guys at Renew Adelaide.  I only got to spend two half-days, but it was great to get some more insight to Renew Adelaide: in particular the enormous difficultly they have with the Adelaide City Council, and the typical state of disrepair buildings they are looking at are.

The second day was held at Tuxedo Cat in Electra House, which is the best venue in the Fringe.  Most shocking was learning the fact that, while it is operating in the Fringe with a class 9B license (Building of a public nature – an assembly building), after the Fringe it will revert to only being able to be used for office space (class 5 I believe?).  Even ignoring the fact that is makes no sense, this would be a huge loss to both the Adelaide non-festivals based art scene, and in creating more people who are interested in being a part of the city at night without being drunk on Hindley Street.  While looking for a photo of the space to place here, I found plans were recently for the venue to eventually hold 24-hour gaming machines – but art?  No, that’s taking things too far.  It was particularly interesting to discover this after day two of the talks focused on the different ways venues with pokies or television screens were treated to venues with live performers.  If you are looking for a drink in the Fringe, head down to the Tuxedo Cat for a great venue, good drinks, good people and the knowledge that your drinking money is going to support something great.  You could also see a show there, if that’s the way you roll!

Sometime in the last week I was talking to Sophie, and she said sometimes she wished she hadn’t seemed so much great theatre, so then the bad stuff would seem better.  This is the way I felt when seeing Bubblewrap & Boxes: it was generally fine (okay, mediocre), yet living in Adelaide I’ve become privileged enough to expect my theatre for young audiences have every bit of wit, heart, craft and skill (if not more so) as the main-stage “Adult” work I see.  While I wouldn’t give up this for the world, sometimes high standards can have tinge of disappointment.

Since my last post I have also seen and reviewed the disappointing Skip Miller’s Hit Songs, the always lovely (and slightly more G-rated than usual in an afternoon spot) Ali McGregor, the nicely crafted Bound, the funny and concerning The Lesson, and the show you should all be regretting you missed Lists Of Invisible Things. I also saw some friends in the Adelaide University Fringe Club’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest, and while at a full-length production it was long for the Fringe, the cast and the traditional reading sustained itself and was fun.

I also was lucky enough to steal snag myself tickets to the opening night of the Adelaide Film Festival.  The film Mrs Carey’s Concert was fine, well made, yet the plot was essentially well-off, talented, generally agreeable people get what they want. Good food and drinks at the after-party in the Queen’s Theatre, which I always love.  I will now be dividing my time between the Fringe and the Film Festival, and, well, I think we can all tell who will win.