I was honoured to be invited to the Adelaide Feast Festival as one of the only out of state authors. I flew in for the weekend of 27-28 November to take part in their WordFeast Day as a panel of Poets speaking on “Poets and Place”. The amazing Sue Webb, who has been literary coordinator, for a number of years picked me up in a Feast car provided by one of their sponsors and with a snappy logo painted in pink on it. You couldn’t miss it.
Windy and cold weather conspired with a transport strike and I think the crowd was a bit smaller than it otherwise would have been – but I enjoyed sharing the state with Miriel Lenore, Kimberley Mann, Ray Tyndale and Jill Jones, and meeting writer Ben Chandler. The Sunday picnic was fun – basically like any of the Lesbian and Gay Festival picnics that I’ve attended in Melbourne or Sydney (Fair Day) or elsewhere – kids, dogs, drag queens, and the full spectrum of queer life – though this one had a Show with a produce and crafts competition too!
Adelaide was fun to explore – I hadn’t been in many years. City of statues and festivals. The succulent garden in the Botanic Gardens was fantastic. I had a terrific meal (see blog posting below) and had a great time catching up with an old school friend, Corey and his family. I was also reminded of all these weird signs attached to buildings all over, “Polites“, a property magnate with an ego issue, but at least his name is amusing, evoking both “Polite” and “Police” (or as the quick wit at the Sydney Morning Herald says: Pilates)
I also really enjoyed catching a production of Jonathan Harvey’s “Out in the Open”, a comedy about grief and starting again, complicated friends and in-laws, and hidden identities. First performed in 2001 in London, with James McAvoy in one of the roles, before he got famous, it was snappy and enjoyable. I think amateur theatre can be a real joy – you get to see how the text of the play carries them (quite well) and you get to see actors strut their stuff, sometimes raw but with passion. Something about the play felt slightly dated – though perhaps it’s just that I’ve seen too much else featuring a similar combo of bitchy queens and alcohol and drug use (or is it that I’ve lived it?). The sassy, crazy best girlfriend is also a trope used much too often.
But really, I found the actors impressive. Great energy and focus, the accents were perfect. They were as a cast very engaging, and it was an unexpected surprise to have such an enjoyable night at the theatre while in Adelaide. Well done to Mixed Salad Productions – and the actors: Lee Cook, Oliver de Rohan, Eleanor Boyd, Alan Crawford, Deanna Ortuso, and Maxine Grubel.