Our first Fringe was back in 2007, just a couple of months after moving here. We had no idea how extensive it was, or even which plays to choose from. We ended up going to one of the best plays we have ever seen (to date!) - Lovers of Central Park (I wrote about it in this post.) - which cemented our love for the Fringe.
Incorporated in 1993, The Fringe Arts Trust will be presenting its 16th Fringe Festival in 2009. The festival has grown from small beginnings to over one hundred events in more than 50 venues all over the Wellington region.
Fringe Festival is recognised as a unique creative launch pad for the arts in New Zealand. Fringe is an open access festival, meaning anyone can produce a show or a creative project and be involved in this annual event.
Hundreds of volunteers and local members of the community donate their time to helping promote and produce the festival each year. We are a much loved part of the New Zealand arts calendar, with a strong brand that is recognised internationally for innovation in art and the creative spirit of Kiwi ingenuity.
The New Zealand Fringe Festival releases the most concentrated mix of new talent, in all arts mediums in the greater Wellington region – 3 exciting weeks of pure Fringe creative genius! Approximately 60,000 festival-goers are treated to the sharpest stand-up, theatre, visual arts, live music, basement productions and cutting-edge multi-media.
Last year we were better prepared, and saw some fantastic plays and comedy acts. This year, the Festival covered the entire month of February with heaps more shows than years prior!
We have already seen 9 plays/comedy acts, and have one more to see this weekend. Some have been good, one was terrible, and another was easily the best show in the Festival. Since most of the shows we saw have ended their runs, I'm only going to review the best show in the Festival (and lucky for all you Wellington readers, the show is still running!).
The show I speak of is Adam Page Solo at the Downstage Theatre. The description on the Fringe website was enough to pique our interest, and admittedly, this was the one show that Darren looked forward to the most. Defying the odds, it surpassed all expectations!
Adam has had several good reviews, but the one on texture says it best:
During our show, he combined Swing, Broadway musical, Gregorian Chants AND Punk - all in one song! And it was fabulous. Adam has a great stage presence; he is very comfortable performing (it's almost like watching a big kid playing with his favorite toys), funny and quite nice too.
As well as being a demonstration of a phenomenal musical talent, Adam Page Solo is side-splittingly funny. You're taken on a genre-spanning musical journey - one where you suspect neither performer or audience knows what will happen next. Indeed, a good portion of the show is clearly improvised; throughout his set you constantly feel as if Page is deciding on the fly which instrument (there are 15 of them) he'll play next. And one major set piece features him asking the audience for musical genre suggestions, then mashing them all together. On my night, this resulted in a genius combination of "nursery rhyme", "Bollywood", and "techno!"
As per the poster, Page also busts out a vegetable. Normally I understand he uses a carrot - for New Zealand audiences he's selected something different. A local favourite if you will.
I'll sum it up like this - if you love music, you must go and see this show. You might even find that your new favourite band is made up of just one guy: Adam Page.
If you haven't seen him, book your ticket now! He has 6 more shows at the Downstage Theatre starting tonight. Just to give you a bit more incentive, here is a video (taken with his permission) of him playing a local vegetable.
Yes, that's right...as well as playing 15 other instruments, the man makes an instrument out of a frickin' vegetable and and plays a song with it. Convinced now?