So Adelaide’s big love (other than food and wine)- Fringe and Festival finally ended for another year, over a long weekend, as thoughts turned from the artistic to the equine- as it was Adelaide Cup day.
A day off work for a horse race- crazy I know, but no one’s complaining.
Half Hour Hamlet
On Sunday afternoon the city’s the main precinct Rundle Mall was bustling, not with shoppers but with all the street performances- buskers, jugglers, magicians, clowns, etc. We managed to squeeze in two last proper shows. Half Hour Hamlet performed in the beer garden of the Producers Hotel was just that- all the drama, plot and characterisation distilled into Patrick Hercamp’s one man show that was both funny and engaging. This is exactly what fringe should be like and is. Doing it for the love.
There have been murmurings by some British performers about poor audiences. Not so here at the Producers. With multiple shows every day, the bar staff informed us they had had a brilliant Fringe- and were kind enough to let us witness their own end of season awards ceremony. In the bar we bumped into local musician Louis Donnarumma whose Jeff Buckley tribute show, Grace, sold out all it’s performances. We got chatting to some senior visitors from Perth over for the fringe having just done the Perth Festival. On anecdotal evidence, the Fringe was a huge success. Factual confirmation came from the six hundred thousand tickets sold – that’s one for every two Adelaidians.
Our final show involved a delve into the mainstream commercialism that had been criticised. National radio station Trlple J’s breakfast co-host Matt Okine’s stand up show may have been more expensive, more marketed and better attended, but also, honestly, it was more polished and funny than some of the other comedy we had seen.
The remainder of the evening was spent with some colourful strangers at the Crown and Anchor- a disabled former punk musician, a lady meat wholesaler, a young steward from the Indian Pacific railway who wanted to swap planes for trains, and a self-tattoed aging rocker. It was as if the randomness had been scripted. How very fringe.