A retrospective of one of Australia’s most acclaimed artists is on, Womadelaide lands in Botanic Park, and two long-anticipated breweries finally open. Here’s what Broadsheet Adelaide editor Daniela Frangos will be checking out this month.
March in Adelaide is, well, mad. While Fringe pushes on full steam ahead, Adelaide Festival, Writers’ Week and Womadelaide kick into gear. There’s a lot scrambling for your attention. To make things easier, we’ve assembled the best of them in these handy guides. I’ll be heading along to Second Woman, which has become a cult hit after a handful of shows on the east coast and at Dark Mofo. The one-woman (and 100-man) show relives the same scene 100 times over a 24-hour period in a nuanced exploration of gender power relations that was described by the Guardian as “one of the finest examples of independent Australian theatre in years”. Read more here.
I’d also recommend catching The Man with the Iron Neck by physical theatre company Legs On The Wall. It peeks into the crisis of Indigenous youth suicide and its harrowing ripple effect. But it’s less a story about loss than it is about embracing life, complete with a delicately crafted script and stomach-dropping aerial performances. Read more here.
There aren’t many living Australian artists with the renown of Ben Quilty. Especially at his age. The 46-year-old is the subject of a major career-spanning retrospective at the Art Gallery of South Australia. “I’m completely overwhelmed to be honest,” he told our writer last week. It’s the Archibald Prize winner’s first major survey exhibition in a decade, and it reveals a career’s worth of his expressive compositions, which famously explore politics, identity and colonialism.
If you ask me, the best thing about Womad is discovering music you might never otherwise hear. Among this year’s better-known acts – Julia Jacklin, Thelma Plum, Mojo Juju and Tkay Maidza – are loads of artists that deserve your attention. We rounded up six of the best including a West African take on Talking Heads, the “Down Under love child” of Jill Scott and Erykah Badu, and Australia’s answer to the Buena Vista Social Club. Nab a spot under the Moreton Bay fig trees or stay front of stage – however you do Womad, it’s a good time guaranteed.
Last month Adelaide’s Never Never Distillery became the first Australian producer to win the World’s Best Classic Gin at the influential World Gin Awards. So there’s no better time to visit its pop-up distillery door – open every Sunday during Fringe – on the top level of The Stag Public House. Go for its guided tastings, masterclasses, gin-based cocktails and spritz flights, or grab a bottle of its award-winning booze to go.
If beer’s your tipple, you’re in luck. Pirate Life has opened its long-awaited, gigantic new brewery in Port Adelaide. It has a bar the length of a cricket pitch, a shuffleboard and pinball machines. But the beers are what it’s all about; expect the label’s core range plus limited releases and international brews never seen in Australia before. The new digs officially launch this weekend with a line-up of local musicians and the New Orleans-based Hot 8 Brass Band.
Southsiders can head instead to Swell Brewery’s shiny new taphouse in McLaren Vale. Sample some of the 16 brews on tap then sprawl out on the lawns with a burger from chef Todd Steele in hand.
If you want to catch up on other new openings this month, there’s something for everyone. Back up your Fringe show with a late-night slice at Adelaide’s newest pizza joint, New York Fold. It’s around for a good time, not a long time, so get there while you can. If you find yourself west side, run, don’t walk, to Adelaide’s new (dare we say best?) gelateria, Bottega, in Henley Beach.
Later in the month the crew at The Summertown Aristologist are bringing some very special guests to the Adelaide Hills. The teams from esteemed Sydney restaurants Poly and Ester will take over the kitchen on March 18. Add some killer natural wines and you can expect a helluva party. More details to come.
And an all-women spirit-tasting club launches tonight at Hains & Co. It’s on the first Wednesday of every month, and guests will be guided through a range of spirits, starting with Japanese whisky tonight. “Often I'll go to spirit-tasting events [and], certainly on the whisky front, find that there’s hardly any women present,” Hains & Co owner Marcus Motteram told Broadsheet last year. “They’re very male-dominated. I know a lot of women who love whisky and would love to come along … whether they feel comfortable or not [is another thing].” The club, and tastings, will be lead by premium spirits ambassador Erica Richards.