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Adelaide Fringe Picks for 2016


Carnivale was the best damn thing to happen to television at the turn of this century and its cancellation will remain a crime forever more.  Fortunately my sorrows are annually ameliorated with the influx of performers, magicians, vagabonds, burlesque queens and musicians into dear (R)Adelaide for the Fringe Festival, dragging their creative accoutrements, stories and daring-do across the many miles.  They may not have gypsy wagons but flying in on Tiger Air is equally fraught with difficulty and an act of endurance demanding respect.

A number of familiar faces return this year – some are re-imagined offerings, some a bold new solo adventures for seasoned troupe performers. Here is my pick for Adelaide Fringe 2016. IT ALL STARTS NEXT WEEK SO GET YOUR TICKETS!


A Fringe cabaret/burlesque favourite, a new line up albeit still under the steady hand of Sarina de Fuego – including musical director and co-producer Michael Wheatley who’s performance prowess has taken this production to another level.


If you have a child under 7 years of age – chances are they are familiar with  Hoopla Doopla! and may already be on the fast track to running away to join the circus.  Jango, aka Daniel Gorski, brings out one his darker split personalities in the Vaude-villainous Mr Gorski in this child friendly production with magic, juggling and chaos.



A good show case of the burly arts from a line up of local talent making the transition from enthusiastic amateur to national-starlet-in-the-making. Who will be the big names in Australian burlesque in the future?…get the good oil here.




Mistress of the acrobatic aerial arts brings her solo show to Adelaide for the first time, as she explores the theme of her favourite caffeine marking time throughout life’s travails.




We knew her best from Peaches & Gin Burlesque, but now Luna Eclipse has found a new voice as she comes to terms with growing older, responsibility, and whether she can continue justify living life like one of Neverland Lost Children. I think we know the answer but best go along just in case….




Ex-Blues and Burlesque star, Scarlett Belle, is another throwing caution to the wind and embarking on a solo tour, bringing a show of songs, stories & erotica that promises love, lust & adultery – something for everyone, including the grandparents.



We reviewed Becky Lou’s standout tragi-comedy-burlesque performance last year in a charming ramshackle possibly near condemned building acting as a performance space. There was nothing ramshackle about her performance however, so imagine how great she is going to be on a larger stage with no risk of floor collapse! If you didn’t see this last year, don’t be the last person at your local front bar to be able to talk about the virtues of merkin puppets.


Posted by Jonathan on Feb 6th 2016 | Filed in Art,Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Music | Comments (0)

Burlesque R/Evolution: Beasts, Poor Slobs & Good Fairies


The shows to which I am about to refer, I saw at Adelaide Fringe a little over a month ago on the final nights. I haven’t hurried to put up a review until now, because they needed some incubation on my part, and by good grace they are now being performed at other interstate venues, so now the time is right. Neither was a burlesque show in the conventional sense  – both elevated the genre into the realms of performance art.

If you were looking for a “by the numbers” tassel twirl, grind and shimmy – you would have been disappointed. These shows are not for you.

If you were looking for a refined story arc, invocation of archetypes, manifestation of myth underpinned by erotic movement, sepia sight and vintage sound – then maybe you were in the right place. I have recently waxed lyrical that endless repeats of well worn burlesque routines are beginning to tire this reviewer. Thank goodness they are also tiring many a discerning performer who are seeking to crash through the cliche and challenge the audience.

And so it was I took a journey into the delightfully tiny, tight boutique performance space that was the travelling Strumpet Salon & Exotic Imaginarium…..


There has been artistic re-interpretation of the French La Belle et la Bete since the 18th century, and this foundation text paves ground for performers KerryX and Bella deJac to walk the stage not just “in character” but as avatars of suppressed human psychological desire and instinct made flesh.

The animalistic drive, to fuck and to kill is realised through the majestically cruel swan who partners KerryX in a slow sensual dance. She would also take to the stage to ritualistically satisfy unspoken desire, a witch-woman of the bones weaving movement and ceremonial gesture to theurgical ends.

Bella deJac harnesses the various projections placed upon women – the Marian virtue and the Jezebel revelry duel to the death while she weaves powerful but sad soliloquies, her prowess and presence amplified in the performance space. Unabashed. Unashamed. I suggest you follow them.

beast flyer

The Poor Slob & The Good Fairy: A Cabaret

Lola The Vamp has taken an 1899 work by French humorist Alphonse Allais and turned standard burlesque fare on its head. Through a clever combination of silent movie projection and live performance, we follow the trials of a poor fellow down on his luck counselled by a hapless waiter whose vocal creativity is strangled by fear, all the while being beguiled by the promises of Our Lady of the Wormwood, La Fee Verte.  Oscar Wilde famously warns us that after a third glass of absinthe (because one cannot stop at two) we will see things as they really are, and that is amongst the most horrible things in the world. This is an axiom worth bearing in mind in this show – the risk of pursuing the truth is that you will find it.

A classic morality tale with a twist, Ms Vamp as our favourite peridot fairy clearly regrets nothing and neither did I. Most fitting as the belle of the époque, it may have been classic style burlesque that calls on the era & imagery we most associate with absinthe, but rarely is retro-burlesque a convincing time capsule delivered in a contemporary fashion. Here is one of those rare moments. Follow Lola and wait for it to turn up in your town.


I suppose there is irony that a pair of productions that push the contemporary boundaries of burlesque look back to 18-19th Century sources, but that only highlights that weaving the fragile threads of the human condition into tales is a timeless pursuit.  In the current era, we are at risk of losing the ability to tell stories as entertainment, hence we need to look to the past to relearn.  I trust these shows are but on the vanguard of big changes in the burlesque arts.  We are beginning to see a big injection of comedy, prose, psychodrama, live music and multimedia as the seasoned Australian performers raise the bar – arguably in part for their own creative sanity and satisfaction, but we the audience will be the beneficiaries of this r\evolution of the Art.

Posted by Jonathan on May 17th 2015 | Filed in Art,Burlesque,Cabaret,Culture,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Festival 2015 – Unsound – Lawrence English, Gazelle Twin, Container, Fushitsuha


Unsound Adelaide, the Festival within the Adelaide Festival, has taken up new digs in 2015. Moving away from the rustic Queens Theatre to the late century grandeur of the Freemasons Grand Lodge on North Terrace within the main hall, reflecting an age of Victoriana: grand stage, large bay windows and plasterwork. We have substituted the industrial for the majestic.


First on stage was Queensland musician Lawrence English, a prolific sonic artist of over decade, bathed in Masonic-blue light while manipulating noise scapes containing very distinct melodic arches that reminded me of more 1970’s era analogue experimental tonality. Breath & voice manipulation featured as a keystone locking it together – Mr English seemingly having an organic connection or interface to his hardware. The music developed into a transplutonic organ fugue, reverential but otherworldly with a certain windswept ambience.


This was starkly contrasted by Gazelle Twin, nom-de-plume of British producer Elizabeth Bernholz who prowled the stage microphone in hand, in her trademark blue hoodie while an assistant provided the suitable music triggers and beat manipulation. This performance was unlike anything I expected – blurred industrial beats, precision rhythmic attacks countered with soaring ethereal vocals, and whispered hip-hopish recitations. It was one of the very few times I believe I have seen a vocoder used effectively as a instrument rather than a crutch, and it was like she was in a violent battle to keep it in control rather than succumb to any assimilation. Taught, palpable tension filled the room as she had the audience moving like a machine. Probably the stand out performance of Unsound and a privilege to witness.



Ren Schofield aka Container unfurled a series of more familiar dark beats and loops with distinct avant-garde elements just to keep any feeling of comfort at bay. While providing what seemed initially seductive electro dance rhythms, he would continue to cleverly switch beats with syncopation and complexity in a manner much like Cut Hands did last year. That delightful moment when people dancing deeply in a particular groove suddenly need to readjust their frame of reference and body motion. Some more successfully than others!


Lastly was Japanoise / Space Rock Godfather Keijo Haino with his most recent line up of Fushitsusha. Or at least there nearly wasn’t. Five minutes after walking on stage he walked off again. I don’t know what the problem was, but clearly it made the audience less tolerant & forgiving. When he returned and unleased his particular brand of noise exploration and inprovisation – over what must be said was a very tight bass and drum section holding everything together like gripping but yielding gaffer tape – I think certain minds had closed to what he had to offer. Which is unfortunate.


As someone said to me on the night – sometimes art is difficult.

Posted by Jonathan on Mar 15th 2015 | Filed in Art,Culture,Music,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

Adelaide Fringe 2015 – Glitta Supernova Experience: Let’s Get METAphysical Review


It is not insignificant that more than one Eastern states burlesque artist with whom I am acquainted have repeatedly cited Glitta Supernova as a catalyst for them taking up the Art. And after seeing her troupe in “Pretty Peepers” last Fringe, I understand why.


It’s a new year, a new Fringe and Glitta is back, solo, in salubrious new surrounds at the Royal Croquet Club with her “Let’s Get METAphysical” show.


Remember what I said, a couple of reviews ago that those looking to push the burlesque art into the most interesting directions are telling stories? This isn’t just a story….it’s a delicious (im)morality tale of a small hippy town girl lured into the hedonist post-punk nirvana of late 80’s Sydney.




Her autobiographical baggage is gradually unburdened in close concert to her level of dress, as she deconstructs herself from Stepford Wife into a bare all Bacchanalian insurgent with a message straight from Cosmic Coincidence Control Centre.


Interspersed with porcine & smurf orientated porn titillation – this is full contact art experimentation with vulgarity, absurdism, gynaecological in-jokes, nudity and amyl. If acronyms are lost on you, feel free to tune out and return to pre-programmed stupor.


Like a manifestation of Kali-Ma herself, she conducts her performance like a puja with the desire of destroying ignorance, mediocrity, conservatism…dear Middle of the Road Adelaide…this Goddess has you in her sights and will crush you between her thighs. This may be a promise, or a threat – take it as you will.


‘Tis an ill wind that blows no minds, and Glitta will be there to blow yours  – particularly throughout the remaining week of the Adelaide Fringe at the Black Box, Royal Croquet Club..



Posted by Jonathan on Mar 8th 2015 | Filed in Art,Burlesque,Cabaret,Huh?,People,Reviews | Comments (0)

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