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Improv @ Adelaide Fringe: Shit-faced Shakespeare & Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes

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by Workergirl (subscribe)
Desk jockey seeking quality life-work balance with the occasional adventure thrown in. No regrets. Ever.
Event: -
Performance going off script and occasionally awry
There is something about improvisation in performance that makes it a little exciting - even dangerous, if you think about it. And Fringe is the perfect place for that sort of combination!

I picked up fringe membership this year, so determined to make the most of discounted tickets, went along to see both these shows on the first Saturday of fringe, my first time for both, but I went with someone who saw Shit-faced Shakespeare last year - twice - who promised me it would be a laugh.

Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes is on at The National Wine Centre, on the corner of North Terrace and Hackney Road (virtually across the road from The Garden of Unearthly Delights). As we went in, each audience member is asked to suggest a title for a new Sherlock Holmes story and given a list of all actual book to avoid replication. These are written down and handed to a cast member on entry, and all suggestions go into a hat. Three suggestions were drawn randomly from the hat during performance, one becoming the main plot for the show. So, unlike a traditional play where the audience doesn't know what is to come.... in this show the cast doesn't either.

Sherlock Holmes and team

It was funny - cast tease each other mercilessly if they insert a word that is not quite right, and there seems to be a challenge to make each other laugh (bringing the audience along with the joke). There is no active audience participation, but the actors interacted with audience members as appropriate, and it was a really enjoyable show.

The group also has Improvised shows for children and a late show.

Shit-faced Shakespeare this year is performing from A Midsummer Nights Dream (last year was Romeo and Juliet). The improv in this show is somewhat different, requiring the later time slot, as it comes from one of the actors performing "under the influence" - during our show, their influence was 7 beers, a bottle of prosecco and whatever the audience demand they drink during the performance (2 members are given the power to command the actor to drink more). The other actors follow the story and script...mostly.....while the Shitfaced actor creates chaos. It was evident in the first seconds of the play who had been drinking but they got off lightly from the audience with not one request to drink more mid-show.

Shit-faced Shakespeare
A Midsummer Nights Dream

Forgotten lines, stumbling and slurred speech were to be expected.... extra story and characters not so much (hello Aunt Karen!), and having Helena behave like a frog as a turn-on was a unique perspective! Each night, a different actor gets to be designated drinker, changing the impact.

Both shows were genuinely funny. As for how much is Improvised - here's the best part - you can go to the same show again to see what changes!

Just one tip though - it was crazy busy on Saturday night and car parking in the east end was non-existent. The National Wine Centre has limited parking and was hosting other events (including a wedding), so you need to get here early to score weekend parking but could always grab a drink or meal here.

Shit-faced Shakespeare in the May Wirth in Gluttony with plenty of food and drink options nearby.

Given our experience, perhaps take up U-Park's option of pre-booking a car space ahead of driving in or take public transport (especially if going on a weekend).

There are also plenty of performers busking around the area for entertainment between shows, great bars and food experiences. Don't forget, you can always check Halftime online or in Rundle Mall on the day of performance to add extra shows to your day out at Fringe!
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Why? Going off script can be an Adventure!
Where: Adelaide Fringe
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