As part of its shift from Victoria Square to Pinky Flat, Royal Croquet Club has a lot more space to play with this season. Its new late-night, Friday and Saturday club, Neon Forest, is set to add an extra element of experimentation and all round weirdness to the mix.
“It’s the playground essentially; where you go to find something you wouldn’t expect normally,” says Sam Wright, Creative Producer at The Social Creative. “It stems from the inspiration of clubs that have come before it in Adelaide, such as Barrio, or festivals that I’ve worked on such as Moving Music.”
Neon Forest will open Friday and Saturday nights for the four weeks of the Fringe Festival, and like the riverside clubs that have come before it, like the now-mythic Barrio and Lola’s Pergola, the nights will be themed.
Kicking off this weekend, ‘Makeovers’ and ‘Wedding’ will be the first themes. Wright says guests should expect the unexpected upon arrival, and be ready to jump into whatever unfolding activities and rituals might be taking place.
“I want people to take on the themes each week: get involved, dress up, have a good time,” he says “But also come with an open mind. If you came wearing some kind of nice dress, don’t feel bad about getting into a happy peachy bridesmaid’s dress when you’re there.
“This place will only be as great as the people who come inside and take it on,” he says. “If someone thrusts a five dollar cake in front of you and asks you to decorate it then, sure as hell, get around that, throw some decorations on the cake and eat it.”
Further themes – including ‘Rodeos’, ‘Slumber Parties’, ‘Animalia’ and ‘The End’ – are spelt out in a teaser video circulating on social media.
Wright says the aim is to make the space as raucous as possible, with all attendees encouraged to participate, and free to make of it what they will.
“We’re giving people permission to take this place into the weirdest spot you can imagine,” he says, “like an out of control house party. That’s the kind of environment we want to create.”
A wide-range of creatives will be on board to make this all happen, explains Wright. Geoff Cobham, known for his intimate involvement in some of Adelaide’s best festival clubs, is on board as a Creative Consultant. Aurelia Carbone has put together a “large scale art installation,” while Seb Humphreys is painting a series of car wrecks set up for an outdoor, end-of-the-world outdoor cinema.
Wright hopes that the normally tranquil surrounds of Pinky Flat become an unforgettable experience for attendees.
“Someone said on Facebook, ‘It looks like we’re joining a cult,’ and I’m pretty pleased about that.”
Royal Croquet Club, Pinky Flat
10pm-3am, Friday and Saturday Nights February 17 until March 11