Review by Oliver Spring
At this time of year the buzz around the Adelaide Fringe is almost palpable. As a first time Fringe-goer, I’d be lying if I said the amount of events in the 2016 Guide didn’t intimidate me a little. However after careful deliberation I decided to attend the Comedy Gala at The Royalty Theatre. This was also my first professional comedy event.
The line-up remained unannounced, however funny man and radio presenter Merrick Watts was advertised as host of the event boasting the “most sought after ticket of the festival”.
The Royalty Theatre was a great venue and although not packed out, played host to a crowd of at least three hundred. My first impression of the show having taken my seat was a mock pink sign on the stage reading “CAUTION: WET FLOOR – COMEDY IN PROGRESS”.
Merrick’s opening set contained lines revolving around social diversity around SA, and pumped up the crowd with a classic story about eating some dog food by accident.
Adelaide local Mickey D’s infectious personality was an instant hit with the crowd, coming on stage in a dress shirt he “borrowed from a friend”, denim shorts and hiking boots. His unorthodox routine covered topics such as drugs and alcohol, and finished with a set of hilarious birdcalls.
Flight of the Conchords superstar Arj Barker then took to the stage to thunderous applause. Although short, his performance was brilliant, covering themes such as hotel etiquette and the cleaning of one’s toilet.
Pittsburghian Eddie Ifft covered a broad range of themes, including performing to terrorists, the deep south of the US, abortion and mormon religion, all to contagious laughter and praise.
Merrick followed the intermission with another short but very well received set, the audience in stitches at his ‘now-and-then’ comparison of the Australian playground from the 80’s.
TV and radio presenter Nath Valvo stole the show. His lively anecdotes about his own homosexuality, moving back to his parents’ house after age 30 and modern family dynamics’ obviously ringing true to many audience members.
Tom Gleeson presented a short, down to earth, yet amusing set observing the small things that most of us can relate to, such as service at restaurants, cafés and IKEA.
The last act of the night was Tahir Bilgiç, also known as ‘Habib’ of Fat Pizza fam. Like most on the night, this was a short but engaging set, including a classic analysis of the colloquial Australian saying “wouldn’t touch her with a 10-foot pole”.
The lighting and sound were on point, and the audience were polite all night. As I left the event and waited for my ride, I could hear David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ echoing through the streets, and I felt as I watched locals on their way either out or home, a part of a great, authentic festival.
The Adelaide Fringe Comedy Gala proudly supports the Captain Courageous Foundation, an organisation raising money to assist children suffering from bone marrow diseases. They perform one more show tonight at 8:00 PM.
Tickets available from FringeTIX here.