Words by Haydn Megins
Photo by Dylan Minchenberg
Adelaide often gets a bad rap for being dull for some reason. I think it’s just a city you need to know how to do. Sometimes it’s best to be a tourist in your own city. For a local, come February 17th this happens automatically as our city is engulfed in a celebration of life, colour and art. It’s always amazing watching the amount of vibrant weirdos surge, and vigorously flood the city to enjoy some of the fruits of the Festival. If you aren’t a bit keen, check-yourself, its fantastic time of year.
Naturally, there will be plenty of things to do, but flicking through the Fringe Guide can be daunting with the diverse and large amount of shows on offer. Taking a recommendation from a trusted source is a safe place to start. Safer than trusting a review you read online, now you’re stuck watching a comedian bludgeon you with their absurdity for the next 45 minutes. An experience like that can be enough to shy you away for good, but I assure you these experiences will be few and far between.
Although it contributes, The Garden of Unearthly Delights is not the Fringe Festival. The Fringe is what happens in the array of playhouses that pop-up throughout the city. It is the largest arts festival in the southern hemisphere, and it dates back to the early sixties. There is still some confusion from the public as to where the Fringe is. Unfortunately, a lot of the best shows won’t receive enough publicity. Don’t be afraid to see a show you’ve never heard of. Even if you did take the ticket from a sweaty guy wearing a top hat roving the streets dealing tickets, like some sort of smelly flamboyant drug dealer. A small show will often surprise you, and exposure is hard to get for lesser known artists. Live Art is not nearly utilised enough in our modern digital lives. It’s good for the soul, so when you see a show try to be uninhibited. Performers are always subject to judgment but they’re just trying to entertain you. So if someone hands you a flyer, please take one.
Our Fringe is on the world stage as being one of the best of its kind. These types of festivals are a particular breed as far as mass-cultural shindigs go. It creates an environment where Consumer, Artist and Suit can enjoy a nice shot of culture together. I feel the Fringe can be a celebration of imperfections and it gives artists a platform to experiment creatively. Adelaide is open, people from different cultures and backgrounds come and mingle on the same field. This time of the year is important for that very reason.
Try to soak in as much of the decadence and debauchery as you can, you’ll be sorry when it finishes. You will always say to yourself, “I wish I saw more”. Take that thought into consideration. Speaking from an artist’s perspective, if you do wait until the last minute to see a show please be mindful that, although it is their job, under no circumstances must the show go on. Performers are human and they get tired too. Try not to wait until the last minute, even if they seem God-like sharing with you what hopefully is to be, a piece of beautiful Art.
Maybe I’m biased, but it’s never nice to experience a bad show, and also unsettling for the paying audience member. I can appreciate not wanting to be part of a cringe worthy moment. If you do happen to see a shit show chances are, only good can come of it. The performer will get better, and you’ll be one choice wiser next time you take an opinion of a reviewer for The Advertiser seriously.
When I hear people say Adelaide is a dull place, I laugh. Maybe it’s because we couldn’t sustain the Fringe for more than one month a year. If you don’t think Adelaide is the best places to be at Fringe time, seriously check yourself, please. To be honest, I think Adelaide is one of the most progressive platforms for creative arts in the world.
Just another reason as to what makes South Australia great.
Haydn H. Megins is a local comic raised in Adelaide and a regular performer in comedy shows all over Australia. He has also been lucky enough to keen his performing edge internationally in Europe, North America & Hong Kong. Even with such an impressive comedic resume, Haydn stays grounded on his journey to mastery with his background in martial arts, passion for music and media production.