There are some people who spend their whole life dreaming of going to Disneyland. The magical world of dreams where the impossible becomes real. A place that is full of colourful characters, music, laughter and amazing experiences. They call it the Happiest Place on Earth.
Well I say bollocks to that.
I know where the REAL Happiest Place on Earth is. It’s not in California, Japan or China. It is right here in sleepy little Adelaide town. When the circus that is the Adelaide Fringe Festival rolls into town each year the streets come alive. Everywhere you go there are strange and unusual people, there’s an energy, an electricity. There are things to do and see. LOTS of things to do and see. Even if you don’t count all the other festivals, concerts and events happening in South Australia in the same period, there are 900 shows in the Fringe alone. Some of my happiest times have been rushing around seeing three or four shows in a night, hanging out in the Garden and catching up with people who almost don’t exist outside of festival time.
Admittedly it doesn’t last very long. Just a measly few weeks in February and March. By the middle of March it all comes to an end and we go back into hibernation for eleven months, only occasionally popping our heads out of the burrow to complain that nothing happens here, or that our favourite band is skipping Adelaide despite the fact last time they toured nobody here bought any tickets.
But that said, for four weeks Adelaide is as exciting as New York or London. We are completely spoiled for choice when it comes to entertainment. Where to start? What shows to shell your money out on? What to avoid? What new experience to embrace? How to fit it all in?
Well I can’t tell you that. I’m not your mum. The pathway to a perfect Fringe is like any of life’s great journeys. You plot your course, you do your preparation and choose your travelling companions for maximum fun-a-bility. But if you are smart, you allow for detours, surprises and unexpected pleasures. You allow yourself to go with the flow and roll with the punches.
It still amazes me when I meet people who don’t even go to The Fringe. ‘It’s not really my kind of thing’ they say, to which my reaction is often a quiet, ‘Maybe you are therefore not my kind of person’. If you can’t find anything you love in 900 shows you are not really trying. However if you are new to Fringeyness there are a few things you can try that might help you out.
1) Get out of the house. Hang out in the Garden or Gluttony, there are often rush tickets (i.e. cheap) for shows especially in the early part of a run. Also all the acts are out spruiking their shows and you might just find something that sounds like a good prospect.
2) Try something. There are a number of late night comedy showcase gigs were there is a host and a bunch of different Fringe acts doing short spots. I have caught my first glimpse of many awesome acts at this type of show. You generally don’t know what you are going to get but it’s a great way to get a lucky dip of entertainment. See Rhino Room Late Show, The Phatcave, Hans After Dark, All Star Late Night amongst others.
3) Mix it up. Go see some comedy, music, burlesque, maybe a theatre show; there are masses of things to do and see.
4) Talk to people. One of the best ways of finding a great show to see is talking to other people out seeing Fringe events. Word of mouth is often more reliable than traditional reviews, although this blog will obviously be indispensable for you over the next few weeks.*
5) Want to see comedy but not sure where to start? Head for the Adelaide’s heart & soul of comedy – the Rhino Room on Frome Road. There are eight different shows a night; local, national and international acts PLUS The Late Show (where anybody can and will turn up).
I have taken the liberty of making a shortlist of shows I think are going to be exceptional this year so maybe take a skim through that to start with**.
In short; the next month could very easily be the best fun you have for 2012. It’s up to you to get off your bottom and put yourself in front of comedians, musician, burlesque ladies, acrobats, puppets, magicians and more. Get out there and have an awesome Fringe, I certainly will be.
[This is a great blog to bookmark for frequent Fringe reviews]
[**This blog was originally posted here, where you can find DJ Ian’s shortlist]