February 27, 2022

Disenchanted: A Cabaret of Twisted Fairy Tales

There's a plague going on and the only way to connect with others is through a magic mirror. Sound familiar? Except this plague is 300 (ish) years ago and the person is a French noblewoman trying to contact characters from fairy tales to tell their side of the story.

This award winning, one woman, show will turn your perception of fairy tales on their head. Our Disney soaked view is clean and sparkling compared to the dark and often disturbing originals. This piece gives often overlooked characters the stage (or the screen) to sing their own tales of the truth; abuse, sex, murder and consent issues are all covered. These are not your childhood fairy tales, but they are very entertaining.

There are morals to be found here "beware of heroes" and "don't be swayed by jewels." With excellent characterisation and voice these stories are told in a way that may be closer to their archetypical intention.

Performances: online, anytime (till 19 March)

Tickets: $9

February 26, 2022

Satan vs God

Although the production value isn't great, you can tell it's a man in front of a projector screen, and the promotional materials mention music in dance in such a way that I thought this would be a dance piece, Satan vs God is a thought provoking one-man film.

It touches on issues with race - Lucifer/Satan is portrayed by a black man who mentions crosses burned in God's name with images of the KKK in the background. It raises questions like is it necessary to have evil to truly comprehend good? How can this be understood in the context of people who slaughter each other for religious reasons?

There are brief glimpses of freedom as a winged and gold adorned Lucifer dances on a beach in sunlight, so different from the pervasive red lighting of the rest of the film. 

Lucifer is "always the bridesmaid" and compares himself to God's other forgiven children, the unfairness he faces, like a teenager raging at the world. The parent/child relationship is evident with God infantilising Lucifer who only wants to come home.

Perhaps the most important question is raised through the ten commandments of Satan which seem eerily like rules our society functions under. Who do we really follow?

NB: I was raised religious but am not now. This film may be confronting for people of faith

Performances: online, anytime (till 19 March)

Tickets: pay what you can (UK) from $9

An Ice Thing to Say

One of the great things about Covid is more availability of everything online; the Fringe Festival has included several international acts via this medium. An Ice Thing to Say is an award winning film from a women led, London based, company. The promotional materials state it is about humans impact on nature, but you may come to a different interpretation.

Different styles of music and sound phase in and out as a woman dances in a warehouse with large blocks of ice. Then people dance alone in their houses, the gumboots in the bath was an especially nice touch. Then back in the warehouse the woman is joined by another person and emotion is exhibited. From there is becomes even more abstract - is it about the masks we wear? Pollution? Possession? Eventually the ice is destroyed.

All art is subjective, here are the bits that struck me. A voice over saying "will you be brave enough to let stillness and silence surround you?" The feeling of solitude against outside pressures, collecting shattered pieces of ourselves. Like many things in life ice is temporary, it melts.

Performances: Online, 18 February - 19 March

Tickets: $15

February 23, 2022

The Shit Kid

Small town New Zealand, horses, elicit sex, sibling rivalry, illegitimate children, bad neighbours, swearing - The Shit Kid has it all. Apart from the horses its the kind of mix you'd expect from a drama but this is a comedy. Though perhaps they'd need to throw in a suspiciously missing person to fit the kind of drama that's in vogue.

There were a couple of stumbles on opening night, as well as sound issues, but these were handled the kiwi way, with a laugh, self depreciation and swearing. As it's the development season this may be natural, but there are solid bones to build the show on before it opens to a wider audience.

Sharni is a hilarious character, if a little unsympathetic. Overshadowed by her brother, the one with the penis, she tries so hard to forge her own path but keeps fucking it up. There are a couple of surprisingly deep twists which could explain the characters stance but there's just something about her which makes it hard to be on her side, even if you want to. If anything needs a little work it's this aspect, I think I would have enjoyed this show more if I'd been rooting for Sharni.

Get your tickets now as several nights are already sold out and arrive early as Covid seating is not great for latecomers.

Performances: 22-26 February, 6pm

Tickets: $12

Breakfast Time

If you've ever cohabitated you know breakfast is contentious and often ends in an argument  - we're hungry and we need coffee, we're not rational. It's worse when your opponent is a virtual stranger, requiring politeness; in the case of Breakfast Time we're not talking about last nights hook up (yours or your flatmates), but a newly minted step sibling.

It's awkward and its honest and it's beautifully choreographed. The first part of the evening is a video depicting two young adults making breakfast together; despite the tension, it's almost boring. The sound quality isn't great so several lines go unheard, there is a strange bit where two lines are repeated; it's unclear whether this is intentional or misedited. There is a lot of silence and voices covered by the sounds of clanging kitchenware.

The second part of the evening is a live show. The same two characters reunite to dance their breakfast preparation in front of the audience, if you have not eaten before the show this is especially painful. We surmised they purposely excluded garlic and bacon from the recipe as the smell would fill the theatre. You'll notice the subtle differences in acting choices, the progression from film to theatre. They deconstruct their first interaction, who said what, the undertones, the implications, their backstories and motivations. They feel more like siblings than strangers, they have their own history. It's never established how much time has passed or what has occurred in the interim, it felt like perhaps something significant, but I could be completely misreading the situation and it's literally a breakdown of the video we've just watched.

Performances: 22-24 February, 6pm

Tickets: $20

February 20, 2022


Same-Same was unexpected, it was not a performance in a traditional sense more like a video call you've happened upon. It felt a tiny bit voyeuristic venturing into peoples private conversations over Zoom. This collaborative piece included 6 performers split evenly between Singapore and Adelaide in Australia. One of the upsides of the pandemic is the ability to build a community that defies boarders and abilities,  people that may otherwise have been isolated, aren't. The performers were asked questions and improvised a story together. Even the audience was included when asked to name some positives of Covid which included one person stating they learnt how to spell epidemiologist (yes, I used spell check for that). I acknowledge my privilege as an able bodied person, I believe this performance was for members of the community, including the performers themselves.

Tickets: $25

Performances: Sunday 20, 27 February (times vary)

February 19, 2022

No! I'm not Australian!

Ocean (like the sea) is a 20 something female who's been on her OE (Overseas Experience), she admits how lucky she was to do this life milestone before the world shut down. You'd think by the title of her show that the major thing she took away from her time in London was that they all think we're Australians. It seem perhaps what she learnt instead was that she's hotter in Europe (a point supported by a man at the airport and unicorn hunters - look it up) and despite being on a different continent, she can't escape herself.

Unlike other New Zealanders this trip wasn't as planned out as it could have been - there were no friends to meet, no flats to share, causing many calamities. Some of the jokes landed, most didn't, something Ocean herself admitted.

What seemed like it was going to be an hour long monologue of toilet humour and embarrassing (rather than funny)  anecdotes is split with several original songs relevant to the story. Though Ocean adopts a whiney "valley girl" voice for speaking, her tone while singing is gorgeous, shame about the content. Apparently we hadn't paid enough to see her intimate parts, not that any of us asked.

I thought perhaps I was too old to enjoy this show but my companion in her mid 20's wasn't thrilled either. Judging by the drunk young 20 females in the back I'd suggest they are the target audience.

Tickets: $15

Performances: 7pm 18-19 February