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February 26, 2015

Adelaide Festival for the senses

The Adelaide Festival joins the melee of art options available to us when it opens on Friday. If you're not sure where to start, this simple guide to its content has all your sensory needs covered.

  • Words: Tiarne Cook
  • Main picture: Vampillia courtesy Adelaide Festival of Arts

Inspiring, shocking and often deeply thought provoking, The Adelaide Festival of Arts presents yet another showcase of world-renowned performances and artists this year. CityMag helps you navigate the program according to your sensory preference.

Shows that shock your ears


Mogwai – Fri 27 Feb / Thebarton Theatre

Vampillia – Fri 6 March / Freemasons Hall

Unsound Adelaide – Thurs 12 March / Fri 13 March / Sat 14 March / Freemasons Hall

Masters of brooding post-rock, Mogwai will grace the ‘Thebby’ stage on Friday for the festival’s opening night. The Scottish quintet have built a global reputation, impressing crowds with their climactic style of rock that builds to incredible heights. The soaring riffs and powerful, synth beats will leave your ears in a spin. Equally as shocking is Japan’s Vampillia, who delve into new territory, fusing their heavy rock style with classical and punk elements to create what critics are calling ‘a wonderfully bizarre avant-garde hybrid.’ This 11 piece ‘brutal orchestra’ is as entertaining visually as they are musically, with each member sporting their own brand of eccentricity.

Pushing further into the unchartered waters of experimental electronic club music is Unsound Adelaide. After two sell out seasons at the festival, Unsound Adelaide 2015 will span over three nights, with a solid line up of influential international artists, such as Model 500 from Detroit, Fushitsusha from Japan and Forest Swords from the UK, who each bring to life their unique sound amid a smoky haze and strobe lights.

La Merda courtesy Valeria Tomasulo, Adelaide Festival of Arts

La Merda courtesy Valeria Tomasulo, Adelaide Festival of Arts

Shows that surprise your eyes


Azimut – Fri Feb 27-Sun March 1 / Festival Theatre

La Merda – Thurs March 5-Sun March 8 / Space Theatre

Orbo Novo – Sat March 7-Sun March 8 / Festival Theatre

Described as a “physical meditation”, Azimut is a collaboration between award-winning French director Aurélien Bory and Le Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger. This Australian premiere feels like a masterful illusion, combining elements of dance, physical theatre and acrobatics to create something that will please your eyes as well as surprise them.

Just as much a meditation on life, but in stark contrast to Azimut is La Merda – a raw, brutal, in your face onslaught of words, sounds and movement that depict the nature of modern society through the thoughts of Silvia Gallerano. This multi award-winning piece will penetrate your being, as Gallerano’s naked frame, desperate howls and echoing wails communicate thoughts, emotions and bigger issues on a whole new level.

Similarly, Orbo Novo, from the acclaimed Cedar Lake Dance Company, uses the physical medium of dance, paired with music, to convey the emotional and physical struggle of neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor as she experiences a stroke. The subject matter lends itself well to the flow of the dancers, paired with violent jolts to convey the pain and the euphoria and ultimately the power of the mind.

Nufonia Must Fall, courtesy K.K. Barrett, Adelaide Festival of Arts

Nufonia Must Fall, courtesy K.K. Barrett, Adelaide Festival of Arts

Shows that challenge your head and your heart


Fela! The Concert – Thurs March 12-Sat March 14 / Festival Theatre

Nufonia Must Fall – Wed March 4-Sat March 7 / Dunstan Playhouse

Riverrun – Thurs Feb 26-Mon March 2 / Dunstan Playhouse

Fela! The Concert transports the audience to the Afrika Shrine nightclub in Nigeria, telling the story of Africa’s greatest musical icon and visionary, Fela Kuti. This version of the successful Broadway musical gives insight into Fela’s life as an activist and artist through projections of archive material interjected with vibrant, energetic performances of his revolutionary, Afrobeat music – a real feast for the senses.

Nufonia Must Fall, a live stage show from Eric San (otherwise known as Kid Koala), once again transports audiences to a distant world, a world where an out-of-work, out-of-date robot tries desperately to write the perfect love song. Originally a graphic novel, Nufonia Must Fall uses a cast of puppets, miniature sets and a string quartet to tell the heartfelt tale which has been known to provoke tears.

Finally, get swept up in the current of Riverrun, an adaptation of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake in which director and sole performer Olwen Fouéré inhabits the voice of the river. Fouéré’s fierce, groundbreaking performance of Joyce’s ‘sound dance’ has been recognised internationally and will leave you utterly enthralled.


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