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  • Writer's pictureHRKemp

The Adelaide Arts festival and Fringe

Updated: Mar 30, 2019

It's over for another year and has gone by too quickly. I find there is so much on it's hard to focus, let alone select what I would like to see. There is not enough time to partake in all the wonderful events and I honestly don't have enough money to do that either.

I posted about the first show I saw at the fringe, Hallowed Ground, so won't add that here. That post also tells you about the book it was based on which is really worth checking out.

The shows I did see were all great. I thoroughly enjoyed the musicals and dramas, each with a different style and finished it off with a fabulous art exhibition.


I have to admit I saw this by mistake. My partner booked the tickets but had confused it with Choir of Man, so we went to Tandanya not totally sure what we were going to see, but realising a little too late, that this was not the show we had planned. Never-the-less it was an enjoyable evening watching 21 young male performers sing and cavort their way through a funny skit. The story was about a choir group travelling to Tasmania to perform in a competition, but they party hard, get terribly drunk yet still manage to perform at the end. Their choir performance was terrific although they finished with something more upbeat, the Wham song, Wake me up before you Go-Go. They sang and joked and acted their way through the show much to the amusement and entertainment of the audience. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Flyer for the Choir Boys


Of course we had to remedy the mistake and got tickets for CHOIR OF MAN. What a fabulous show. The set was a pub, with free beers for those who were willing to go up on stage to get it (and possibly have to leave the performance for a toilet break - which some did), but they sang and danced their way through the afternoon and finished with a great rendition of John Farnham's classic, 'You are the Voice'. They are a very talented group and had the audience up on their feet at the end. I'm sure many in the audience had seen the Choir of Man show last year in the fringe, what a recommendation. Well worth remembering.

Choir of Man on set, a pretend pub that served real beer.


This was a free concert. The Festival Orchestra played specifically composed music to accompany photos from the National Geographic Archives. It was magical. It was held in Elder Park (albeit a bit uncomfortable sitting in low chairs) on a balmy evening after a 43 centigrade (approx 109 Fahrenheit) day. The images were beautiful and the choir and orchestra provided a stunning score to add atmosphere to the evening. Wonderful music and photos.

One of the stunning images set to music

Another wonderful image. A shame I didn't capture the music too.

GROUNDED by George Brant

If I struggle to choose which show I should see in the Fringe, I can always rely on the Holden Street Theatres to narrow down the options for me. They always select a stunning series of different shows each year. This year was no exception. The first show I saw was Grounded. A one woman show, directed by Poppy Rowley and starring Martha Lott. She was superb and the play was intense and demanding and I am in awe of her talent in bringing this story to life. I was thoroughly engrossed in the story about a woman fighter pilot who falls pregnant and has to give up flying missions. She becomes a drone operator, still flying and running operations but from the safety of her control room in a building just outside Las Vegas. The play follows her emotional journey as she copes with living a normal family life at night while still being 'at war' during the day. A stunning drama and I'm sure it will be performed elsewhere over the year.

Grounded, one of the fabulous shows at Holden Street Theatres.

Games, a wonderful dramatic play.

GAMES by Henry Nalor

Another stunning Holden Street Theatres pick. This is based on a true story about two athletes of Jewish heritage and their experience of training and being selected for the Nazis' Olympic Squad to compete in the Berlin Olympic games in 1936. Directed by Louise Skaaning, the stars, Tessie Orange-Turner and Sophie Shad were brilliant. With a minimal set and only one stage prop, they enthralled the audience. This cautionary tale for our times was a must-see and has won multiple awards. I am sure this too will be touring.

QUILTY -Art exhibition

This exhibition is on at the Adelaide Art Gallery and is free. It is on until 2 June so there is still time to see it. I heard Ben Quilty speak at Writers' week and was so impressed with his social conscience and how it framed his art that I had to see it. His art works are at times troubling and reflect some difficult issues, especially the soldiers series 'Afghanistan and after' and the 'seeking refuge' paintings. A very talented artist and well worth checking out the exhibition.

Ben Quilty Exhibition on at the Adelaide Art Gallery until 2 June.

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