What I love most about the Adelaide Fringe is the diversity of shows on offer; there’s cabaret, comedy, theatre, magic, circus, music, dance…and as a punter, to have to pick a few to see based on photos, a blurb and a ticketing link is not an easy task.
That’s where I come in – I get to see a plethora of shows and tell you, the punter, what I recommend.
And Playback, by emerging South Australian production company, Cocktail Creative, is one I highly recommend.
Set in local west end nightclub, Loverboy, you enter via a rear laneway; all dingy, with graffiti on the walls I almost expected to see a group of guys huddled over a fire pit beat boxing similar to New York in the 80s!
We are taken to an outdoor bar to enjoy a bevy or two before our pre-show host Big Sash Daddy took us through our paces with a game of ‘Name the Song, Artist, Movie and Year’.
I’m not gonna lie. I LOVE these types of ice breakers, and I won’t [and didn’t] hold back.
As the song played, the crowd, me included, were yelling out answers in the hope to win a point for our team.
Big Daddy then selected the three highest scoring audience members [ahem, I was one of them] to take the arena to compete in a lip sync battle.
While I think my hitch kick and bedroom eyes was the clear winner, we all took home a mini Rubik’s cube for our efforts.
Sasha Simic, aka Big Daddy, played the boisterous host with knack and a natural flair, not to mention easy on the eye, putting the audience at ease and setting the tone for the show to follow.
We are then greeted and led down stairs to the coolest night out!
The party gets started with ‘Rock the Casbah’, and we are encouraged to travel around the space to follow the characters on a typical night out in the 80s – you know, boy likes girl, she likes him back, boys fight over girl, girl comforts her friend – all staged and presented throughout the club.
On the bar, through the bench seats, across the couch, near the pinball machine – no area is spared from the teenage drama that ensued!
Huge congratulations to director and producer Renee Auciello.
The storyline was underpinned by some of the best choreography, and having the audience so close did not hinder the type of movement devised. We were in the thick of it!
A collaborative effort, these extremely creative and brilliant performers really took us back down memory lane – personifying the era so flawlessly and were ‘on’ the entire time.
Madeleine Camac played the shy girl to perfection, even when she had a little too much to ‘drink’!
Her nuances and interplay with the audience were absolutely fab.
As her loyal friend, and co-choreographer, Maddison Lochert was a fierce performer – hitting every 80s move with attack and zest.
The gorgeous Tayla McDougall was strong and smooth at the same time, and her duet with the burly Lance Collins to ‘Tainted Love’ was sublime.
The boys, Jayden Prelc, Jake Walasek and Collins were fantastic – strong, passionate, almost fanatical in their energy. I especially loved their performance during ‘Beat It’.
Prelc’s characterisation of the awkward, nervous boy had me in stitches!
My absolute standout song was ‘Time After Time’ – where at the end of the night the couples finally found their match. The choreography was incredible and flawless.
And to be executing steps such as pirouettes, in sneakers, on a sticky club floor, should be highly lauded!
The costumes of acid wash, scrunchies, double denim and parachute jackets were spot on and the location was ideal for this type of show.
If I wasn’t dancing to the tunes or grinning from ear to ear, I was standing in awe of the local talent I was privy to be watching.
So pop on your shoulder pads, pull out the crimper and prepare to have a boogie with the Playback crew! Trust me, you won’t be able to stand still or wipe the smile off your face.
You will love it!
Happy theatre travels…