Murray Bramwell recommends

Afghanistan is Not Funny (Fringe): Many conflicts in the world at present are very far from funny – playwright and actor Henry Naylor has been reminding us of that for a while. This show has been to Fringe before (read review), but it is worth seeing even more than ever. The crisis in Afghanistan is far from over. Naylor’s sometimes wry commentary give some respite, but does not blunt the shameful facts of a corrupt and cynical war. He is an engaging performer and a staunch witness to uncomfortable truths. – Holden Street Theatres, March 5-17.

Gie’s Peace (Give us Peace) (Fringe): Morna Burdon follows up last year’s documentary history in text and song, Bonnie Fechters, with more activist women making articulate and extraordinary efforts to achieve peace and change for the better. – The Warehouse Theatre, February 24 – March 2.

The Threepenny Opera (Adelaide Festival): When Barrie Kosky returns to Adelaide it is an event. He has amazed us with Saul and The Magic Flute and now it is the 1928 Weimar classic. Written by Bertolt Brecht and Elisabeth Hauptmann, with music by Kurt Weill, The Threepenny Opera will no doubt have added Kosky signatures and dazzle. The publicity stills alone look enticing. – Her Majesty’s Theatre, March 6–10.

Antigone in the Amazon (Adelaide Festival): Sophocles’ play is being repurposed for the 21st century. It will be intriguing to see how Antigone’s mortal crisis of loyalty and compromise is transferred to the question of catastrophic rainforest destruction in the Amazon. Director Milo Rau’s La Reprise in the 2019 Festival was radically original and brilliant. Hopes are now high this time, too. – Dunstan Playhouse, March 15-17.

Antigone in the Amazon. Photo: Kurt van der Eist

Rachael Mead recommends

The Grande Dames of Letters (Writers’ Week): The date on my calendar that’s been circled for months is March 2. For this reader, the Writers’ Week special event The Grande Dames of Letters is a small miracle, an evening that brings several of my literary idols into the same room (or at least the same conversation via streaming). Hosted by Julia Baird, it will feature famed classicist Mary Beard, Orange Prize winner Anne Michaels and Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smile, with Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story maven Elizabeth Strout joining via live stream. – Adelaide Town Hall, March 2.

Tracy Crisp is in Stitches. Photo: Sam Oster

Stitches (Fringe): Another must-see is local superstar Tracy Crisp, bringing to the stage her sixth solo show. This one promises something special, with the Adelaide Fringe treasure complementing her usual witty and insightful Gen-X monologue with a poignant craft project – she’s making the dress she intends to wear to her own funeral. Studio 166, Goodwood Theatre and Studios, February 15 – March 1. (Note: Crisp is also restaging her first Fringe show, Pearls, and presenting a visual art exhibition,Pearls (Unstitched).

Mythos: Ragnarok (Fringe): And my final pick of the festival season looks to be a delightful guilty pleasure. Mythos: Ragnarok promises the fantastical stories of Norse mythology performed by professional wrestlers. Indulging my love of ancient mythology with healthy dose of comedy – and perhaps a smidgen of voyeuristic gawking? This show is right near the top of my “unmissable” list. ­– Garden of Unearthly Delights, February 16 – March 17.

Suzie Keen recommends

Private View (Adelaide Festival): Restless Dance Theatre’s latest show explores sex, love and desire, with audience members invited to play the role of voyeur as a series of scenes play out across four different rooms to a soundtrack (both live and recorded) by Adelaide singer Carla Lippis. Under the artistic direction of Michelle Ryan, this local company of dancers with and without disability has a track record of excellent Festival shows and, if the snippets InReview saw during early rehearsals are any indication, Private View looks set to be another triumph. ­– Odeon Theatre, February 29 – March 9.

Bang On Live! (Fringe): Fans of pop culture and podcasts are probably already on board for this live show by music presenters Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe ­– and if not, then pop in your earpods and have a listen to their Double J podcast Bang On to whet your appetite. Warhurst and Rowe, who have been friends since they met at a Radiohead gig in 2004, have a rapport and charm that makes for fun listening as they discuss books, music, movies, “faarshun” and the week’s hot topics. The live show promises the same, plus more. ­– Garden of Unearthly Delights, February 24-25.

Baleen Moondjan (Adelaide Festival): As a long-time fan of the work Stephen Page presented during his more than 30 years as artistic director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, I’m excited to see this new show he has created for the opening of the 2024 Adelaide Festival. To be performed on Pathawilyangga (Glenelg) Beach at sunset, Baleen Moondjan celebrates the deep connection between First Nations peoples and their totems – in this case a baleen whale – with a performance encompassing storytelling, dance and live music. – February 28 ­– March 2. (Read Farrin Foster’s interview with Page here.)

Afrique en Cirque (Fringe): This circus show transports a slice of the WOMAD spirit to Rymill Park – with extra flips and tricks. Presented by West African artist Yamoussa Bangoura and his company, Afrique en Cirque is inspired by daily life in Guinea and hasn’t been to Adelaide before, although it was part of the program at last year’s Sydney Festival. Did I mention the live musicians playing Afro-jazz beats? If the impressive acrobatics don’t draw you in, the kora might. – Gluttony, February 15-25. (Read Ben Kelly’s review here.)

Farrin Foster recommends

Marrow (Adelaide Festival): There’s no doubt that we need to reimagine our future and face up to our history. These urgent calls are not new, but Australian Dance Theatre’s Marrow promises to grapple with them using the visceral and emotive language of dance, which might be the key to creating the kind of momentum we need – that which is generated when we feel something as well as know it. – Odeon Theatre, March 13-17.

Édouard Louis in Who killed my father? Photo: supplied

Qui a tué mon père – Who killed my father? (Adelaide Festival): It feels both perilous and enticing when writers perform their own work on stage (as opposed to the safety net engaged when others – like, for example, actors – do the acting). Already ambitious in turning its philosopher-writer (Édouard Louis)  into a performer, this micro-macro story about class divides and parent-child relationships also promises to use shifting scales to interrogate its subject matter, which – if well handled by director Thomas Ostermeier – should be dizzyingly compelling. – Dunstan Playhouse, March 8-10.

Someday We’ll Find It (Fringe): A script generated by Google searches is a step below an AI playwright technologically, but probably more interesting conceptually. Google searches are where the extremes of human experience go to question themselves, and the creators of this show are tapping into this wild collection of private thoughts and using it to surf the divides between digital and physical realities. – Studio 166 at Goodwood Theatre and Studios, March 12-17.

Graham Strahle recommends

The Nightingale and Other Fables (Adelaide Festival): This has to be top of this year’s must-see list as far as music goes. For anyone who loves Stravinsky’s Firebird and wishes he had composed more works as similarly beautiful, here’s the answer. It is a totally gorgeous score, written before Stravinsky started heckling the public with Rite of Spring et cetera. Visually it should be quite something, too, in this production by Robert Lepage: the Festival Theatre stage will be transformed into a lake surrounded by dozens of exquisitely coloured, handmade puppets. ­– Festival Theatre, March 1-6.

A scene from Robert Lepage’s The Nightingale and Other Fables. Photo: supplied

Víkingur Ólafsson: Goldberg Variations (Adelaide Festival): This Icelandic pianist arrives in Adelaide with a fiercely strong international reputation, having recorded the Goldbergs along with other keyboard works of JS Bach for Deutsche Grammophon, and he impresses with amazingly freshly thought-out, crystalline interpretations. The promise is that he does to Bach what Glenn Gould did in the 1950s, albeit in a thoroughly contemporary way. ­– Adelaide Town Hall, March 15.

Nothing: Chamber Landscapes (Adelaide Festival): Three days of chamber music at UKARIA sounds like the perfect solution to March’s impending madness, and a unique series of eight performances taking place there called Nothing: Chamber Landscapes, devised by Richard Tognetti, offers every excuse to make the journey. Expect nihilistic statements bound in numerous intriguing and ironic ways, including Satie’s extraordinary music for the ballet Cancelled, conceived as a practical joke in Paris in 1924. ­­– UKARIA Cultural Centre, March 8-10.

Michelle Wakim recommends

Space Between (Fringe): This piece of physical theatre is presented by Aleshanee Kelso and Tomas Correia, “two kooky characters” from Victoria who together form 13 EGGS. In their Adelaide Fringe premiere, Space Between takes theatrical conventions and combines them with acrobatics to explore human interactions. The duo hopes to uncover what sits at the core of relationships, through humour and vulnerability. – Gluttony, March 11-17.

I Hide in Bathrooms (Adelaide Festival): Australian performance artist Astrid Pill premieres her “meditation on morality and romance”. Pill has worked with long-term collaborators and experimental theatre-makers, including co-devisors Ingrid Voorendt, Zoë Barry and Jason Sweeney, to create an absurd and darkly funny piece that fuses fiction and autobiography. I Hide in Bathrooms explores how love and death interact, and how we go on loving after a partner has passed. – Waterside Workers Hall, March 5-16. (Read our interview with Pill here.)

Prima Facie and Consent Laid Bare (Writers’ Week): These two events feature female writers whose work has helped carve out space for discussions about sexual abuse and consent in Australia’s public discourse. Playwright, screenwriter and novelist Suzie Miller’s play-turned-novel Prima Facie is the story of “a brilliant barrister who finds herself defenceless after she is sexually abused”. In her Writers’ Week session, Miller will discuss the difficulties that come with speaking out after abuse, particularly within the legal framework. – Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden, March 3. In a separate session, founder of Teach Us Consent Chanel Contos will speak about her book Consent Laid Bare, which “asks if consent is possible in a world where female sexuality is hijacked by forces such as porn, patriarchy and male entitlement”. – Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden, March 4.

Helen Karakulak (CityMag) recommends

Sanctuary (Fringe): Pivot, an event production company behind the local stages of festivals like Wildlands and more, is bringing its electronic music festival Sidebyside into the Fringe fold. Sidebyside opens its venue, Sanctuary, which will run eight parties across each weekend of Fringe with a dedicated electronic dance music offering, roving performers and interactive elements across the day party, with the vibe shifting in the night. – Helen Mayo Park, February 24 – March 16.

Black Puddin (Fringe): With a name born out of an oddly worded review Kween Kong received in 2020, Black Puddin is a drag and dine event showcasing excellence and lived experience. Each show will have a rotating menu and cast of performers across drag, burlesque, cabaret and more, hosted by Kween and R&B singer Prinnie Stevens. With the Mamacita restaurant promising margaritas and tacos, audiences are expected to leave with one thought on their mind: she ate. – Mamacita, February 16 – March 17.

Claudia Dichiera (CityMag) recommends

27 Club (Fringe): This show on Gluttony’s outdoor stage The Fantail is a rock ’n’ roll display dedicated to the 27 Club: a group of musicians who all coincidently died at the age of 27. Featuring performers including Sarah McLeod and Carla Lippis, it focuses on the work of Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix in a way that both celebrates them and opens conversations, highlighting what these artists did for the music industry and how their legacy lives on beyond their death. ­– Gluttony, February 16 – March 17.

CUSP by Jamie Alexandra (Fringe): Hosted by qualified sexologist (and regular CityMag columnist) Jamie Bucirde, CUSP is self-described as a sexy take on sex ed. Incorporating Bucirde’s burlesque background, the 60-minute cabaret spectacle includes a live band and original songs, while offering a space to open conversations around sexual education. – March 3–11, The Jade.

The 2024 Adelaide Fringe runs from February 16 until March 17. Follow InReview Fringe coverage here.

The 2024 Adelaide Festival officially opens on March 1 and continues until March 17. See more Festival stories here.

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