In a simple outfit of backless waistcoat, signature skinny jeans, and thigh high boots, heavy eye makeup and phrases adorning his otherwise bare arms, Charles Sanders takes to the stage, complete with catwalk, in the Art Base basement space at Higher Ground.
Backed by talented musicians Logan Watt, Tim Overton, and Hannah Bennett, who also provides additional vocals, Saunders gives the audience their first taste of his beautiful voice. The lyrics of the song, Queer, by The Garbage, set the theme for the show. The ‘Queer’ referred to in the show’s title isn’t a statement on sexuality, but people in general.
Simple props are used to tell four stories of somewhat twisted relationships, both heterosexual and homosexual. The depth of emotion shown through the monologues and the music is further proof of why Sanders was awarded the Adelaide Critics Circle’s Emerging Artist Award in 2011.
Sanders uses carefully selected works, some with revised lyrics, from Amy Winehouse, Divinyls, Storm Large and Nick Cave, amongst others, to colour the stories and show his range from deep raw rock, to haunting ballads, then maniacal rage. A beautiful un-amplified number shows his vocal ability, still strong after some manic numbers, and allows the mood to shift to a quieter place.
Whilst the majority of the show comprises four scenes, it is not clear if any are Sanders’s personal story, but the ending brings all of the stories together, asking a question which Sanders brings back to his personal understanding with a final number that clarifies the meaning of the show.
The Art Base space is awkward, but Sanders works with it well, given the challenge imposed by the pillars in the centre of the room, one right at the end of his catwalk. He plays to the audience seated on both sides and makes full use of his small stage, including using equipment as props.
This is a show for anyone who has questioned human behaviour and motivation regardless of gender or sexual persuasion.
Reviewed by Jade Kops, special guest Fringe Critic, Glam Adelaide
Photograph by Benoit Auberger.
Venue: Art Base, Higher Ground, 9 Light Square Adelaide.
Season: 6:25pm Wed 7 Mar, 9:45pm Fri 16 Mar 2012
Tickets: Adults $21, Concession $19, Fringe Benefits $17
Duration: 60 min
Bookings: Fringetix 1300-FRINGE (1300-374643), their outlets, or online