Story: 2016 Fringe Welcomes The German Club

The German Club Adelaide Fringe 2016They call it "The GC". It is the latest acronym in Fringe destinations.


The German Club at 223 Flinders Street has been a successful alternative venue in several Adelaide Festivals but this year, brandishing The Fringe banner with entrepreneurial flourish, a team of seasoned Adelaide identities has transformed the Club into a multi-space, multi-function arts centre.


It is a sensational success.


Modestly, its creators are calling it "the new kid in town" but it is not starting small. A lot of work has gone into The CG and for its first Fringe it is turning on no less than 174 performances.


Colin Koch and Alan Rosewarne recognised The GC potential when performing there in their band, The Bald Eagles, at last year's Fringe.

Drawing in their old mate, renowned Adelaide marketer, Ron Dent, they branded themselves "three amigos" and set the show on the road. 


Unlike most of the Fringe movers and shakers, these "amigos" are sexagenarians. They even describe themselves as “old farts".

They are also savvy seniors with a wealth of arts experience and an influential network. 


Hence, this great new Fringe performance centre which ranges over four floors is set out with a big touch of class.


Of course, the German Club came equipped with good toilets, air conditioning, bars and, without doubt, the wonderful German Club Bistro with its famous German meals.


It now has five performance rooms - the Lounge, the Studio, the Clubroom, the Cellar and Showroom One - all with good seats, stages, lighting rigs, sound and professional facilities.


The biggest space is called Showroom One. It stretches out from a proscenium stage, down a long bar, the vast expanse laid out in a cabaret configuration.  Obviously, it is where the big shows are taking place, among them, the famous Masters Apprentices and the Brewster Brothers with the glorious Moonshine Jug & String Band

Abba Gold by the Flaming Sambuccas is also programmed for Showroom One, along with Bless My Soul - The Gospel Music of Elvis. Oh, and not forgetting Hans and Willsy.  Big shows in the big room.


Then again, serious theatre is scheduled in Showroom One, among them one of those special festival-time experiences of epic theatre nights. The Irish plays are very hot ticket - with Beowulf - The Blockbuster, Underneath and Donal O'Kelly's Little Thing, Big Thing able to be seen in one gorgeous big, greedy night, or, for those who prefer, spread over the Fringe season on separate nights. 


These are Arts Project Australia goodies and The GC's Alan Rosewarne croons that they are a major coup for a Fringe, let alone a new venue.


Fringe director, Heather Croall was among those enthusing about the venue and its program when it turned on its media opening this week. 


Also on hand was award-winning actor, Joanne Hartstone who has turned producer and entrepreneur for the 2016 Fringe and is using the GC as the venue for one of her top imports - Thom Pain (based on nothing) by Eno Pain. This show was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  Hartstone has other interesting Fringe shows spread around town, especially in the other new hotspot, the White Queen in the Old Queen's Theatre.


Among shows in The GC Lounge is Chopin's Last Tour, a hit show from Edinburgh.  In the Clubroom, Party, by Tom Basden offers a spot of political satire. Then there's Lady Cara's Travelling Art Show, something completely different from the freaks and misfits world of burlesque.


Lots of information is provided on or - and, of course, in the Fringe guide.


The GC rises up to complement the other great Fringe arts hub, Holden Street Theatres at Hindmarsh where once again, Martha Lott has curated a brilliant program of award-winning theatre including some for children.

2016 is a bumper year for good theatre.  The Bakehouse Theatre also is presenting a major theatre program and there are other intriguing works at Queens.


If only one could be everywhere and see everything.


Samela Harris


When: 12 Feb to 14 Mar

Where: 223 Flinders Street, Adelaide


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