Behind the Song

SM Behind the Song Adelaide Fringe 20241/2

Adelaide Fringe. Sandi McMenamin. The Arch, Holden Street Theatres. 25 Feb 2024


Perchance it’s the gentlest show on Fringe 2024.
Sandi McMenamin, officially a living legend with an Adelaide Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award under her belt, tells of how it came to pass that she wrote that beloved paeon to our fair city, the song Adelaide, You’re a Lady.


It never occurs to most of us that composers might strike opposition when they come up with a new song but Sandi had to deal with paternal criticisms, not over her lyrics or even her tune, but the song’s tempo. Ever adaptable, she has evolved variations on the theme from waltz to rock - and she has performed the aforementioned song a zillion times now, all over the world.


This time, for her Fringe show, she has a video backdrop created by her long-term arts colleague, producer Walter Troelsen from Aarhus, Denmark.


It is a charming homage to our fair city. The audio-visual spectacle continues with vivid illustration to her The Sea Dragon Coast song which features the superb Fleurieu photography of Gary Juleff from Victor Harbor. Sandi leaves her piano for these songs and sings, standing beneath the screen. It is nicely done, with a nod of approval to Holden Street’s prodigy sound and lighting tech, Harry Ferguson.


Wearing her sparkling bling jacket and bling sneakers to match, Sandi casually narrates the stories behind her compositions taking the audience through reflections on London, Bahrain and Sweden as well as our sweet state. She demonstrates her digital dexterity with a whizzy piano medley and introduces from a musical created with the late Andrew Murrell, an exquisite musical plea for peace in our troubled world. Maybe we’ll see the whole show in a future Fringe, she hints.


She delivers a soothing hour of good spirit and unabashed love for this place she calls home.


In a 1400 show strong Fringe dominated by furious physicality, an afternoon sojourn with Sandi Mac is simply a tonic.


Samela Harris


When: 25 Feb to 10 Mar
Where: The Arch, Holden Street Theatres