In many ways, Trollbridge is what the Adelaide Fringe should be about. Some artists gather around a concept and try it out, and audiences are expected to be open to being part of the process in which new shows are given a chance to develop.
However, because the Fringe Guide is full of polished, professional acts doing the circuit, many with a ready-baked audience thanks to some television exposure, not all audience members will be equipped to offer the extra patience and nurturing that a production like Trollbridge needs at the moment.
In its blurb, the show promises we’ll see “some of Adelaide’s greatest comic talent in this new spin on the comedy panel show genre all about memes, trolls, flamewars and the dark corners of the interwebs” but, ironically, this description verges a little into fake news territory itself.
While there is value at the heart of this concept, there are some elements that need work before the remaining sessions, namely:
- We need Nick (the compere/quiz master) to do as much improv workshopping as possible to build his “yes and” reflexes so his moments of repartee have more flow (something his budding legal career will benefit from – he is studying law at Adelaide University)
- We need the host, Nick, to make eye contact with the audience; it was awkward being talked over, mind you, he did joke about Adelaide Uni Law being superior to Flinders Uni Law, so perhaps this is part of the training there? 😉
- With these changes, Nick will then have more confidence in taking charge of the event, especially when he has guests with more years of experience under their belts (he could lead the witnesses a little more)
- The director needs to edit the internet quotes (they are currently too long and wieldy) and consider having three options instead of four in the opening act, to improve the flow
- Provision of two simple props for noisemaking for the contestants, instead of them having to tap the table
- A run through of microphone technique for guests not used to using microphones
- And the audience should be encouraged to drink alcohol before entering so they can be much looser and more generous with noise and support – it’s a tough job but someone has to do it
That said, one of the guests in today’s performance, Charlotte, a year 12 student, shows great promise down this pathway, and the experience of this production will be an important part of her development.
Another item worth noting is the format of the show. It promises great balance and the inclusion of a five-minute piece of stand-up by both guests gives a nice structure to the event. It was also a master stroke having the director move the performers along from one round to another, to keep the show on track.
This has great potential to be a fun show.
As Donald Trump said about Trollbridge, “this show is great, it’s the greatest, it’s better than any show out there.”
Or did he?