“Are you writing an article about tonight?”
“Will you remember enough to write about it?”
– Actual conversation had between myself and someone I can’t remember at the Royal Croquet Club opening night.
Last night marked the opening and third year running of Adelaide Fringe Festival pop-up venue Royal Croquet Club. Like always, the RCC started off their four week bonanza with a huge party in the heart of the city, flying in electronic duo Flight Facilities to open the party.
The Adelaidian were invited to attend a VIP launch party, hidden well within the bustling venue. After a couple of laps of the square, we finally found our way into a secret secluded section where the drinks were flowing (perhaps a little too fast) and Fringe artists in costume weaved through the crowd acting as their animated characters. We spoke with the glorious Anya Anastasia who was dressed as one of her characters Marie Antoinette, gracefully interacting with the guests as she navigated her way through the tight space in that gigantic silk dress of hers.
Alongside limitless beverages, waitresses were also serving plenty of delightful canapes, including a gourmet roast pumpkin and feta dish and some pulled pork wraps. And just when we thought things couldn’t get any better, we were treated to a small taste of the shows that will be running at RCC this year. The red-headed Penny Arcade opened the showcase, being elegantly elevated into the sky on a scissor lift as gushing smoke surrounded her.
Switching our attention from the scissor lift to the stage came four men – some dressed in black mesh clothing with french-cut underwear and some dressed in all black leather – dancing about onstage to some electronic tunes being blasted from a shopping trolley. It was when the guys started doing amazing physical tricks that the scene started to resemble something like tripping on acid (perhaps this was when the drinks were starting to kick in). We witnessed insane balancing acts and crazy flips, being wowed by the core strength of these super bouncy Fringe artists. It was truly a sight to see!
Then out came a fantastic dancer dressed in bright green leafy costume resembling a whacky, modern day Eve dancing energetically onstage. Her enthusiasm and vigor permeated the atmosphere and had the crowd bopping along to the beat of the music. We particularly loved her leafy heels!
After a few more quirky acts, we made our way out of our secret corner to experience the rest of the Royal Croquet Club. The impressive stage stood to the north of the set-up, this year designed in the shape of a massive old-school boom box, with the initials “RCC” marked in the top left corner. This was where we saw Flight Facilities play their set to a lively crowd later in the night.
The set-up was indeed grand, with croquet lawns in the centre of the space and fairy lights lining the sky. This year, a towering platform where guests can sit and enjoy a view of the festivities below is located at the entrance point with the initials “RCC” plastered on its white picket fencing. It has a perfect view of the stage, too! Royal Croquet Club was absolutely packed for its opening night but was never once claustrophobic, although do be prepared to line-up at the entrance for a while if you come later on Fridays and Saturday nights.
The rest of the night I can’t really remember, to be honest. I do know I missed two of my shows but somehow managed to get into Penny Arcade’s memorable theatre/comedy act ‘Longing Lasts Longer’ with an interchangeable ticket I didn’t realise I had! Penny spoke motivatingly and powerfully about pop culture through generations, with an intelligible humour that very few can pull off as effortlessly as herself. She had the entire packed out tent nodding heads in agreement, while clapping in support of her satirical retorts. Being referred to as an “undisputed queen of the underground”, Penny is an internationally acknowledged writer, actress and director who continuously shapes modern performance art. We’d definitely recommend going to see Penny if you feel like opening your mind to a world of undiscovered ideas!
As for the rest of Royal Croquet Club, there are endless amounts of acts to see, including cabaret, circus and physical theatre, stand-up comedy and so much more. If you’d like to know more about the shows we want to see, follow through to our article here. RCC is open ’til late every night apart from Mondays (excluding the last day of RCC on Monday 14th). Be sure to check out at least one show this year or even just come in, grab a bite to eat and something to drink and enjoy the vibes! It’s a whirlwind of mayhem in there, but definitely in the best possible way.
Stunning photography by our Vueey Le