Archive for February, 2013

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Adelaide Fringe Review 2013 – Dave Bloustien & Cath Jamison

We at Absinthe.com.au like all things Parisian (except the Parisians themselves who rudely announce “There will be no supper! Go away come back later” upon entering one of the few places serving absinthe in the whole damn city….which is why my sojourn there hasn’t featured here. I’m still bitter, bitter as the harshest wormwood, can you tell?!).

Ahem.

As the Gods of Wikipedia tell us….

Grand Guignol – was a theatre in the Pigalle area of Paris. From its opening in 1897 until its closing in 1962 it specialized in naturalistic horror shows”

And thus sets the raison d’être for this charming and funny show, “Grand Guignol”, by Dave Bloustein – the man who you probably don’t know better as part of the past writing team of Good News Week and The Glass House. See, he comes from good breeding (I looked at his teeth before the show and I can assure you dear reader he is in excellent form).

What unfolds is not so much a regular stand up comedy show but a narrative. His skills in improvisation, segues and wide array of head attire brings together a collection of very different stories with a decidedly understated Edgar Allen Poe approach to gothic horror.

While the contrast between the content can be as stark as chalk and particularly fine fragrant blue cheese – ranging from a Mummy’s Curse to the Factional Follies of the ALP Faceless Men, Dave has a certain machine gun delivery of extensive comedic monologue that makes you unsure how much is scripted prior, and how much might be inspiration.

I liked what he is doing– and this show needs a full audience to carry the atmosphere. So get out there and see him.

If Dave Bloustein had a certain nervous energy about him that suggests a closet sociopath, then Cath Jamison, clearly In 2 Minds, is a Hannibal Lector trying to decide how best to serve your brains on a plate.

As a comedic-mentalist she plied many a clever routine that makes public liability insurers nervous. But broken glass, razor blades and viscious looking sporks are but the tip of the icepick through your skull. Aside from her obvious proclivity to being gaffer taped, in this sight deprived state she performed many a mind trick with the audience, albeit par for the course tricks but very necessary sign posts of mentalism skill, the kind that momentarily suspends one scepticism and takes you along for the ride.

The finale certainly sealed it for me – a trick providing a script for an evening that could not have been known in advance. The kind of frustratingly clever trick that makes you want to strap her to a woodpile with a flaming torch demanding a confession on how she does it and whether Satan would accept a time share arrangement, like Club Med, on an available soul.

Check her out while you can.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 26th 2013 | Filed in Cabaret,Culture,Events,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe 2013 Review – Illure

By golly, Illure is a bit of a hard show to really pidgeon hole.  It’s not really Burlesque – more Show Girl. But even that is not quite right – there is some strong vocal performances here that root it in fine Cabaret tradition. Maybe Cabaret is a misnomer – illusion & stage magic weave their way through every part of the performance, that you might be tempted to call it a musical magical show, but then that is not quite on the money. Vaudeville ? –  and yet even that seems a limiting term.

So let me shoot the damn pidgeon.

Those of you who have followed previous reviews of Burlesque & Cabaret at the Adelaide Fringe would be aware I have often cast a level of disdain at (semi)professional dance companies and production outfits providing high rehearsed but emotionally sterile performances that are about as ‘fringe’ as a tonsure cut on a monk.

Today I have had to re-evaluate some of those preconceptions. I like it when a production causes me to do that.

Illure is clever.

Yes – it has high production values that certain other Fringe participants would envy, but it is not a show that hides behind light and sound to compensate an absence of narrative and innate ability. Yes – it is sharply rehearsed and slick, but glory be, the performers know how to connect and engage with an audience.

Additional bonus points are awarded for the use a real backing band –and their musical mastery allowed them to chop and change between jazz, Klezmer sensibilities, latin and classical in a beats notice, seamlessly.


Libby O’Donovan, all Elizabethan frills, blues growls and Ella Fitzgerald swagger was definitely the principal regal figure of the evening holding Court.  I would say stage magic may be the domain of the court jester – yet Illusionist-Dancer Charli Ashby was no ones fool – sexy, sassy and swift of hand, beholder of the eye.  Ranging from nifty card tricks to more technically difficult cage & box switcheroos – what is important here is not whether you have seen these tricks before but rather the originality in context to which they are presented.

Supported by a sensational troupe of dancers – that may I add made me rejoice in the fact that they all looked very different physically, in movement, in their forte dance styles, and yea verily, the projected personalities.  I should not really have to make such an observation, but some acts I have seen in the past seem to be characterised by carbon copy chorus lines devoid of genuine expression.

This is one worth getting out for, Fringe Dwellers – it may not have the same ‘edge’ I often look for in Fringe, but it is highly entertaining and manifests enough variety to put it well outside the box in many ways.

The remaining shows are Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th February at the Adelaide College of the Arts, Main Theatre, 39 Light Square.

Posted by Jonathan on Feb 22nd 2013 | Filed in Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Events,Music,News,Reviews | Comments (0)