Karen Koren: My final day down under

Rich Hall
Rich Hall

IT is my final day in Adelaide and it has been pretty full-on as far as seeing shows and catching up with colleagues is concerned.

Kath Mainland, former Fringe director, has been here for the last few days and is now in position as chief executive of the Melbourne Festival. It is strange to think that she has left Edinburgh. However, I think she is enjoying her role on the other side of the world.

I have seen countless shows and plays. It seems cabaret and circus are the most popular genres at festivals Down-Under.

The Garden of Unearthly Delights, The Royal Croquet Club and Gluttony are the big outdoor spaces. They are incredible; our outdoor spaces during August are not as big nor as interesting. There’s lots to learn from these spaces. There are different style bars; hay bales with rope swings for seats, huge cages barbecuing whole lambs, and free water for all to keep everyone hydrated.

It is impressive. On top of this there are the shows. In each outdoor area the noise is amazing due to the sprookers (actors with megaphones) selling their shows.

Clowns, street performers, side shows, fairground rides, kids, families . . . it is complete chaos and there is food from all corners of the globe.

How the performers cope in their various venues without being influenced by the noise, beats me. I can’t help getting excited by all the mayhem that surrounds the festival.

Comedy in this setting is not perfect, it always works better in a building. The bigger acts like Rich Hall (pictured), David O’Docherty, Mat Okine and Steve Hughes are in a cinema, which works.

To uncover the good new shows I have to go to the little venues, like Tuxedo Cat or the Rhino Room. I’d say that I have definitely found a handful. Tonight is the big Awards ceremony and the Gilded Balloon’s show Massaoke will be the band playing throughout made up in 80s glam.

Will we win? Time will tell.