Adelaide Fringe: still young after 60 years

Spanning the Festival’s 361 venues and 7,000+ artists, there are 1,210 events for audiences to enjoy – not least among them, 29 days and nights of Basil, Sybil, and Manuel!

On its site, Adelaide Fringe Director and CEO Heather Croall discussed how the Fringe grew to become the largest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere, adding: 

‘We can’t wait to flood the city with the joy and mayhem that comes with Adelaide Fringe. It’s a time to be entertained and snuggle up under the cultural blanket we throw over Adelaide.’

In size second only to Edinburgh Fringe, Adelaide Fringe is a stunning centre for the arts and this year it celebrates its Diamond anniversary. That’s 60 years of comedy, theatre, circus, music and any other performing arts you can think of for just about all ages. 

Filled to the brim with rich talent, the festival prides itself as open access and not-for-profit. It encourages the likes of you and me to participate in all aspects of the event. 

Along with this audience engagement and encouragement, the Fringe organises Honey Pot – an industry scheme which links bookers and promoters to shows.  

Honey Pot was launched in 2008, the same year Faulty Towers The Dining Experience took part in its first Adelaide Fringe. And getting involved with Honey Pot helped the show to attract the kind of international interest that’s helped it to grow every year since.  

So it was here that Faulty got its first big break, in particular meeting a host of overseas bookers, including one Dutch promoter who booked a four-month tour of the Netherlands for early 2009; it’s been back there most years since, and has now appeared 41 countries to boot. 

Faulty’s 13th Adelaide Fringe  

For the 13th year in a row and in its biggest Adelaide Fringe run yet, Basil, Sybil and Manuel will be spreading some Faulty fun 21 February-15 March at the city centre’s Stamford Plaza Hotel. 

English actor Rob Langston (Basil) as well as two Australian actors – Anthony Sottile (Manuel) and Rebecca Fortuna (Sybil) – are all returning to the Fringe as prepped and as seasoned as the fresh tomato soup.  

Langston is a graduate of Drama Studio London, and has appeared as Basil in an extensive list of touring countries – from Thailand and the Philippines to Barbados and London’s West End.  In 2019, the Adelaide Theatre Guide called him ‘a very tall and impeccably English Basil who shamelessly bullies Manuel, fearlessly dives under tables, goose steps, and has crack-ups’.  

Fortuna graduated from Melbourne’s La Trobe University and brings a newer, fresher Sybil to the mix as she joined the cast in 2018. ‘Sybil had the voice of Prunella Scales down to a tee and it took no effort to imagine we were back in the 70s and dining in her hotel’ said the Radio Adelaide.  

Sottile rounds out the trio with another Australian-originated education from Sydney Theatre School: ‘The mannerisms, gestures, costume, posture, accents, laughs (and everything in between) were ABSOLUTELY spot on throughout the entire dinner,’ said All Over Adelaide.  

Cream Magazine sums it up: 

The bottom line is, the three performers in Faulty Towers The Dining Experience are able to carry on a conversation at one table, while also watching out for the nuances of guests on table four to see who best to prey on next. Quite simply, it’s all rather genius.” 

Adelaide Fringe performances run daily* at 7pm , plus 1pm at weekends, 21 February-15 March at Stamford Plaza Adelaide, 150 North Terrace, Adelaide 5000.  

*ex Wednesdays 

For info and tickets go to Adelaide Fringe 

More on the show at  

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