Adelaide Fringe 2011
A House of Cards
Venue: Excess Theatre @ Gluttony, Corner of East Terrace and Grenfell Street, Adelaide
A group of students united by liquor present four hilarious short plays, each inspired by a suit of cards. An assassination goes wrong when a blundering assistant becomes nervous; a social outcast tries to make friends at either end of the ‘club’ spectrum; a confused couple try to tease out their future with the aid of exotic strangers at a restaurant; and a magician and his troupe fail spectacularly at an attempt to put on a magic act with riotous effects.
Four short plays inspired by the suits in a deck of cards entertains and provides insight into civilization and culture before spiralling into hilarity and chaos with unpredictable results. The first play inspired by ‘hearts’ gives the audience a look at the lighter side of assassination and revenge—and assassin and her bumbling sidekick are thrown into a comedy of errors. An awkward misfit with the assistance of her ‘fairy godmother’ and a potion tries to muster the confidence to join a social ‘club’ with disastrous results. The madness and confusion ensues when a couple argue in circles about the future of their happiness and lives together—she’s a misunderstood ‘diamond’ while the rest of the present company are merely rhinestones—aided by an eccentric and outlandishly dressed foreigner and a dubious progeny. Chaos and hilarity break free in the final self-reflexive spades-inspired play where a magician and his troupe forget their lines and the unpredictability and comedy leave the audience clutching their sides.
The farce was fuelled by the performances; the entire cast undertook the challenge of portraying four different characters with zeal and the intention of entertaining. This is a student production and this was made more apparent by the lack of depth in the scripts, however they were original and funny. The scripts contained humour and insights into contemporary society with honesty and spontaneity—the four narratives were vastly different to each other (with the exception of liquor in each play to kindle the hilarity and disaster), which held the audience’s attention and added to the appeal of the overall production. The set and lighting were very basic and the pianist on stage provided the soundtrack with minimal distraction.
This student production is one in a few that will impress; the energy and enthusiasm that the actors exude divert the audience from the economical backdrop, and the somewhat indistinct storylines that blur the lines between amateur and uproarious. Despite the bizarre final scene, it was an enjoyable and entertaining performance that the audience responded to encouragingly. It was a beacon of light-hearted frivolity in the midst of futile perceptions of contemporary society.