As you know we (Paul, Caetlyn and I) have been involved in two shows within the Adelaide Fringe Festival of the Arts this year….”The Legend of Ned Kelly” and “Light, Camera, Action”.
The first week (opening week) is when all the so called “Critics” put their dusty artist rags on and come out of their closets to look down their pointy noses and review your shows, after all ~ some of them have been around the traps for years, even if they never made it onstage themselves.
We have been looking at a couple of these “REVIEWS” to see if we can improve our shows (we don’t mind people being critical of our work if it is constructive).
The first show of “The Legend of Ned Kelly” reviews were pretty bad..
The Irish Club, Sun 22 Feb
Was Ned Kelly a Hero or Villain? This is the question we, the audience are asked by the actors on stage, through words written by Deirdre Quinn and song and lyrics written by Tony Sutton and Sue Oldknow respectively. We are led through the events that took place during Ned Kelly’s and the Kelly’s Gang short life, with Ned’s eventual capture and hanging.
Although only still recent history for us as a Nation, as events only took place 140 years ago, the story and legend that is Ned Kelly was brought to life by a group of people who clearly like what they do, however there was room for improvement in the performances from most of those on stage and also in the execution of the production.
As a whole – basic stage craft seemed a little flawed with stage crew walking through scenes and actors and stage crew seen in the wings waiting to go on. Mismatched microphones intruded on eye lines for audience members, but also meant that actors were awkwardly moving forward (as the stage seemed a little too small for this story) to stand in front of the microphones so as to be heard over the piano and drums and then moving back into their scene. Though special mention must be made of Aden Quinn (as Dan Kelly) as he did work hard to be animated and brought life to the story and scenes.
As far as accents go, Paul McLean as Ned Kelly himself delivered an almost perfect Northern Irish accent, however, I do not believe this accent was the right choice for this production. Many other versions of accents were attempted by others on stage, but most could not decide where in Ireland they came from and often fell back into their Aussie twang.
The Legend Of Ned Kelly continues at The Irish Club from 7.30pm until Sat 5 Mar.
Whilst I can say that the whole cast was a wee bit shaky on the night (opening jitters), and upon reviewing the video that Caetlyn did of the night ~ the stage changing was shite (this has now been altered by yours truly), the technical things like microphones and the size of the stage can not be helped. When you have a big production you can not always play on a big stage and have to make adjustments on the night.
The critic say’s that Paul’s Irish accent was perfect, but not right for the show……um….excuse me?? Ned Kelly was of Irish decent, and his ancestors were from Northern Ireland – which is the accent that Paul’s ancestral family had… so it is Friggin’ PERFECT.
There was also another review (partial taken from the whole):
The good intention is there; the original songs are pretty damn good; and the show starts well. But from there it’s a slow train to a long wet weekend in Glenrowan.
Although well researched, the script is muddled in its structure and tends to confuse the audience about what happened earlier in the piece. There is an idea there – it just needs cutting and workshopping. It’s all too wordy and over-melodramatic – as is some of the acting.
I don’t think either of these reviewers were really into the whole Ned Kelly legend. We have not altered the way this show is played – the only thing streamlined is that the scenes do not change whilst the songs are being sung, and last Saturday we played to a packed audience who were mostly “very Irish” and they loved it…we all got congratulations on a great show all round.
These reviews were by people who are not necessarily theatrical, what one person loves another hates etc., Sometimes you just can’t judge what the reviews are going to be like – you could put your best foot forward and have a perfect show, but the critics will not like it if it doesn’t appeal to them, then other times you can put on a show that you think hasn’t gone real well, and the critics love it!!
Then there is the review for Light, Camera, Action – which I have to admit, I thought the show went really badly….however, this critic loved it:
The Garage International @ Adelaide Town Hall, Fri 26 Feb
Light-painting artist and photographer Vicki Ferguson (Vix) once again enlightens the Adelaide Fringe with her unique and interesting style of art/photography. With the use of a camera set on long exposure, large projection screens, torches, tough cellophane (known as gels in the lightpainting scene), a lightsabre, sparklers and fire, Ferguson creates majestic and interesting imagery right before our eyes.
Of course, until the image is shown on the large projection screens we could only imagine what the final product would look like. The audience was thrilled with the display of the final images that produced beautiful pictures from all the light, sparkler and fire blurs seen running across the stage during the making.
Selected willing audience members were invited up on stage to pose and become part of the art, being surrounded by the light blurs Ferguson was energetically creating around them. All of the unique photographs created can be found on the shows Facebook page which Ferguson encourages participants to tag themselves in.
Throughout the show, Paul Danger McLean compliments Ferguson with soothing, almost mediative music and sounds created using his electronic guitar and EBow, plus the magical sounds of a Theremin.
To complete the glow of the hour, Ferguson ‘paints’ beautiful scenes and images on a large luminous canvas using only torch light. No sooner than the images appear, they fade but Ferguson quickly produces new ‘paintings’ in their place. With a little imagination and a whole lot of torch light, anything is possible.
Light. Camera. Action: The Live Lightpainting Experience continues at The Garage International @ Adelaide Town Hall until Wed 2 Mar.
SO this week we have two Light, Camera, Action shows – Tuesday and Wednesday nights (1st & 2nd March) @ the Garage International ~ Adelaide Town Hall, and one “Legend of Ned Kelly” show on Saturday 5th March @ 7.30pm – Irish club, Carrington Street, Adelaide – why don’t you come along and be the judge!!