Traditionally known as a place to drink Bavarian beer, enjoy a weiner schnitzel and settle back into calm wooden nostalgia of old German culture, the German Club has shed the lederhosen and emerged as a new hub of performance for the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
Last year, the German Club hosted four Fringe performances in its main hall. This year, over five rooms, the club is hosting more than 170 performances from dozens of performers. This 4000 percent increase in live shows has been spurred by an interest in renewal at the Club as well as the clan of Alan Rosewarne, Colin Koch and Ron Dent who make up The GC, the production group sponsoring these shows. Speaking to The Adelaide Review Ron Dent says “the German Club is going through something of a renaissance”. “As the oldest ethnic club in South Australia, owing to this state’s German heritage, they are looking for a broader appeal.” Dent explains that, as with many other clubs across the city, the German Club aims to grow its reputation through the support of programming and festivities aside from their traditional Schutzenfest and Oktoberfest celebrations. “They have opened their hearts and arms to us,” says Dent, who with his associates has coordinated a hugely diverse showing at the Club, to rival that of established ‘Fringe hubs’ such as Gluttony, Tuxedo Cat and the Garden of Unearthly Delights. The lineup for The GC covers a broad set of performers, including upcoming local talent and international stars across the genres of theatre, comedy, burlesque, magic and live music. The talent is high as well, with two current performers, Paul Dabek and David Calvitto having won Fringe Awards, and Pat Kinevane of Underneath being nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award this year.
Pat Moylan performs Beowulf: The Blockbuster
“We’ve had a really interesting debut,” Dent says, noting that local performers and accessible acts such as music, comedy and burlesque selling out, while some of the imported acts are not yet filling rooms, despite their critical acclaim. Aside from supporting and hosting myriad performers throughout the Fringe season, the German Club has also revitalised their dining offering to provide a rounder experience for the customer. Thornton Farmer, a third generation chef who most recently worked at Mt Lofty House, is now head chef of a newly renovated kitchen, and provides traditional German fare with an emphasis on high quality and fresh ingredients. The somewhat kitsch surrounds of the German Club, with intricate wooden finishings and souvenirs of German culture adorning the walls, provide a fitting theatrical ambience for performance. The surprisingly large amount of space to host shows within the Club is also a boon. Dent notes that while The GC is occupying five separate performance spaces in the club, including in an upstairs air-rifle shooting range, there is still room to grow with a potential eight spaces fit for artistic use in future. Once this Fringe Season, still in full swing at The GC, has finished its run Dent’s group will look to the future and is considering its options for the future. “We’re looking at potentially running some Cabaret Fringe shows at the club.” The GC continues at the German Club until Monday, March 14 thegcadelaide.com.au Images: Arts Projects Australia