Sex and Death_ and the Internet

sex death internet adelaide festival 2022Adelaide Festival. Samara Hersch. Secret Locations. 11 Mar 2022

 

The critic’s role flies to the four winds for this Festival production. While art experiences are always personal, in this case they are many-personal and no-two-the-same personal. They are one-on-one with different people. They are tailored to each individual.

 

Once tickets are issued for Sex, Death and the Internet, the ticket-holder is asked to supply a photograph of themselves.

 

The location of the performance is not revealed until nearer the performance time.

In this case, Adelaide University’s Union Building was chosen and very well signposted, thank heavens.

 

Inside its 4th floor corridor, Festival staff members meet and greet, checking vaccine status and leading ticket-holders to a series of well-spaced chairs beside which freshly-sanitised headphones and a boxes of tissues lie on small tables. Why the tissues, I ask. Some people find the encounters emotional. They’re different, you might laugh or cry, I was told. Put on the headphones and press play. The recording lasts about six minutes.

 

And thus, for this critic at least, the voices of children were to be heard answering questions about their ages and how they feel about being children and what ages are ideal. This grandmother was charmed. It is a nice tidbit which reminds us to respect the innate wisdom of the very young.

 

One is then led to another area and another chair. One is asked to remove shoes, if able. Pleasant conversation and instructions are imparted by one of the Samara Hersch production team. It is soothing and personable. 

 

Following said instructions, a long, black velvet curtain is parted and one steps into a very long space wherein everything is black except for a broad white plastic pathway leading brightly to a desk, a chair and a computer screen. Box of tissues. Notepad. Pen. How thoughtful.  

 

Two photographs are on the screen. One is the photo I was asked to supply of myself taken a few decades ago, the other is another woman, also taken a few decades ago. Another woman appears live on the screen. 

Delia. I like her immediately.

She is all my favourite things. Like me, she is grandmother vintage. She is attired in the colour of women’s power with purple-rimmed glasses, purple clothes, amethyst necklace and pleasantly unruly short hair.

 

She instructs me on the cards which appear to one side of the screen and how to shuffle and show cards. We are to take turns in doing this and answering questions shown on the card. Thereafter we have a 30-minute exchange telling each other how we feel about sex, death, and life experiences. We do not discuss the internet albeit we are using it in this Facetime-like live interaction.

 

It is just like sitting down and talking to a friend. It is frank and unhurried, despite its timeline. The “show” has a 40-minute duration.

 

So, what is it all about?

You may well ask.

I am a very seasoned netizen. I have met a lot of people online since it was first possible in the pioneer days of the CU-SeeMe, the application which preceded Skype which preceded Facetime.

 

The interactive program used for this encounter employs question cards which are read by one player and then flicked to be visible to the other player, and is effective for that purpose.

 

Its purpose includes confiding in a stranger and exploring one’s own response to crucial questions. Some of them are a bit confronting. But, for me, Delia’s frankness about herself, her gentle face, her ready smile, and easy laugh were encouragements to respond in a similarly uninhibited way. I learned quite a lot about Delia, but never enough. I so badly wanted to ask my own questions of her.  But I stuck to the rules of the game as I understood them. Of course I took notes on the notepad. What journo wouldn’t? It turned out that it was there for its own purpose. But this was not a judgemental experience - except insofar as one judges oneself.

It was more a reminder to pause for a moment and look at life as we pass through it, to recognise benchmarks and aspects one may wish could have been otherwise, and to do so together with a virtual stranger. 

 

It was a pleasant exercise and a brush with a lovely fellow spirit on this strange path between birth and death. 

 

Samela Harris

 

When: 11 to 20 Mar

Where: Secret Locations

Bookings: adelaidefestival.com.au

 

Production Image Credit: Roy Vandervegt

Grant Busé: SentiMENTAL!

Sentimental adelaide fringe 2022★★

Adelaide Fringe. The Kingfisher at Gluttony. 11 Mar 2022

 

This is a show that puts a smile on your face at the very start, broadens it as tears of laughter start to flow, and leaves it there long after it’s over. It is an energetic, song and oh-so-funny dance fuelled feel-good show that reaches out to and draws in all age groups. In short, it’s great fun, but it’s not just froth and bubble – it is also thoughtful and provocative.

 

Grant Busé is easy on the eye, has a warm and engaging personality, sings well, plays a mean guitar, tells funny jokes, and writes his own songs. He’s got it all. His show, SentiMENTAL, is a tongue-in-cheek mockery of nostalgia. With dizzying speed, he celebrates everything in popular culture that we never wanted to know (and want to forget), currently do know (but wish we didn’t), and will probably ever know. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the right side of twenty years of age or the wrong side of sixty, Busé identifies your sacred and not-so-sacred cows and happily slaughters them all to guffaws of laughter from the audience.

 

This is a show with some audience participation, but, importantly, it is totally non-threatening. It is so joyful that members of the audience are almost disappointed when they are not ‘chosen’.

 

This is a fun show!

 

Kym Clayton

 

When: 12 to 20 Mar

Where: The Kingfisher at Gluttony

Bookings: adelaidefringe.com.au

Holy Bin Amoley

Holy Bin Amoley adelaide fringe 2022★★

Adelaide Fringe. Art For Earthlings. The Vault, Garden of Unearthly Delights. 6 Mar 2022

 

This show is absolute rubbish.

 

Of course, that is to say it’s all about rubbish, and three fine comedy exponents are on hand to talk us through. A show for kids, and all the family, Holy Bin Amoley has a title which rather defies explanation and common sense, progresses in a way which rather defies common sense, and talks about recycling and rubbish and dog poops in a way which rather defies common sense.

 

It also seemed to be more relatable and get more kids-audience reaction than any show I’ve seen in the last two years. I know schoolkids are taught about the environment and how to treat rubbish in Year 1 and 2 these days, so I suspect they identify more fully with a familiar topic. I’m okay with that, but a note to the performers: it’s rubbish not trash. DO NOT call it trash. Anyway, the kids love it, especially the six year old who bopped up and down from his front row seat to offer his take on everything. There was also an annoying kid over to the side who shouted over the top of everything, but you can’t buy audience engagement like that.

 

Anyway, the three of them pull quick costume changes; Jennifer, Nicholas and Samantha have a thing going with Converse Hi-tops, matching but for the colour. The opening scene - the show is really a selection of vignettes – deals with what has become all too familiar, the discarded pandemic face mask. Hint: it goes in the general waste.

 

The performances race through Rhonda from Recycling, a wonderful and lengthy piece about bin chickens (they’re here, but nothing like as much as in the eastern states), and Suzy at a dog show. I got a horrible feeling that the last bit was a longwinded lead-in to a poo joke, and so it was. Eating a baggie of dog poo is gross, so the kids loved it. Somehow (I’m not clear on this bit) it all finished with a car chase involving a grannie who thought it was her right to throw things out of her car. The kids put a stop to that rubbish.

 

Alex Wheaton

 

When: 6 to 13 Mar

Where: The Vault, Garden of Unearthly Delights

Bookings: adelaidefringe.com.au

24 Hour Political Party People

24 Hour Political Party People adelaide fringe 2022★★

Adelaide Fringe. Hands Down Comedy. Gluttony – The Squeaker. 9 Mar 2022

 

A couple of years ago, Pat McCaffrie was described by Rip It Up as "the next big name in Australian political satire" and he’s still next. But I wouldn’t be surprised if next year, he’s not next, but really is a big name in Australian political satire. Grown in Adelaide and living in Melbourne, he’s been doing stand-up since 2013 at major comedy events and was a writer for Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell. McCaffrie claims to be a little rusty, but there’s no flies on him in this year’s Fringe offering.

 

He's up to the minute, gazing his wry eye on the “crazy brave” Ukrainians. After seeing a clip of a Ukrainian tractor towing away a Russian tank, he opines that Zelenski might boost aggression with self-interest by decreeing that the value of stolen tanks needn’t be declared on tax returns. McCaffrie has a rapid-fire delivery with perfect clarity, and a sharp lookout for the ridiculous. He is fresh and inventive. One of his more interesting observations is that Morrison, unlike other politicians, never talks about his past. What is he trying to hide – who he is?

 

McCaffrie’s material comes from an insider’s-like knowledge of the political process and also of sports broadcasting. He’s easy going and comfortable. A great 45 minutes of intelligent political satire stand-up.

 

David Grybowski

 

When: 8 to 13 Mar

Where: Gluttony – The Squeaker

Bookings: adelaidefringe.com.au

Spin

Spin adelaide fringe 2022★★

Adelaide Fringe. The Chaser.com.au and The Shovel. Gluttony – The May Wirth. 9 Mar 2022

 

Charles Firth and James Schloeffel are back again with their tried-and-true format for political satire and a very funny show. To know James Schloeffel is to subscribe to www.theshovel.com.au. There you will find the headlines, pictures, and short articles, neatly tabbed into categories like The Nation, World, Business, etc that will split your sides with laughter. Eg. “Starbucks to punish Russians by continuing to operate all 130 Russian stores.” Charles Firth is famous for his contributions to television’s The Chaser, CNNNN, and The Chaser’s War On Everything which broke new ground and alarmed authorities with their cheeky and risky antics, all to prove a point, of course. The Chaser similarly has spoof news at chaser.com.au with stuff like, “Scott Morrison selflessly agrees to isolate on remote Hawaiian beach.”

 

This year’s offering is extremely funny. Schloeffel and Firth sport fluoro vests and hard hats knowing it’s the only way to fit in with Scomo’s ensemble. Doffing them early reveals their trademark ill-fitting out-of-fashion suits. They advertise this show as a masterclass in lying and deception and it’s clear who they learned the trade from. Firth and Schloeffel gee up the audience with examples of masterful spin by the federal cabinet and demonstrate the detailed methodology. They are a wonderful team bouncing around the ideas and every point is visually enhanced on a large back screen. The Year in Review was a hoot, but to be fair, some credit is due to federal Liberals and Nationals for providing a cornucopia of satirical opportunities at such a consistent rate. To promote vaccinations to their constituency, how about no jab, no negative gearing. And just when they thought they were running out of material, Barnaby Joyce re-joins the front bench.

 

Charles Firth would not be Charles Firth without a Chaser sting operation to show us. He created an internet storm over renaming fairy bread to fun bread and garnering over 1000 signatures in 2 hours for the cause. Even after the scam was exposed by Ben Fordham on 2GB Breakfast, a second wave of getting it out there showed how lazy journalists from even major outlets like the ABC and News don’t check sources.

 

SPIN is tag-team political lampooning at its best, two comedians and political and social hawk eyes for the price of one and the whole is greater than its parts. I think I’m now fully prepared to run in the May federal election!

David Grybowski

 

When: 8 to 20 March

Where: Gluttony – The May Wirth

Bookings: adelaidefringe.com.au

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