Taking place in the very trendy LGBTIQ venue, My Lover Cindi, The Finest Filth Variety Hour is a real hoot. With a range of exciting artists from underrepresented backgrounds, this variety show is as fun as it is necessary.
Bringing together this fresh blend of artists is host, Annie, or as they prefer to be called, ‘Annie Adelaide Fringe 2023 Schofield’. Dressed to the nines in a bright gown and headpiece, they drew in the audience with their boldness, filthy sense of humour and rambunctious stage persona. At times it felt like watching an over-excited child onstage. One moment, they ran up and down the ramp and in another they showed the audience their underpant tassels. Very entertaining.
Part of the show’s charm is that, much like Annie themself, it does not take itself too seriously. Annie encouraged the audience to get a drink, chatted to us like friends at a bar, and unashamedly held a clipboard throughout, basically ticking off their jokes as they go. Schofield has created a really warm, unintimidating environment for these performers and the audience alike.
The line-up of this Saturday show was generally well selected. This particular show three stand up acts, a drag act, a cabaret and a spoken word performer. No two acts were the same and I can honestly say that no performance fell flat. Most of the acts were a little rough around the edges but there were some good moments in all of them. Forum, an Indian stand-up, performed a set about her Indian upbringing with amusing dryness and clever punchlines. There were sightings of a unique comedy style in her set, and with that extra bit of refinement, she could be really good. Another act to remember was Dorian Courtisan, a “baby drag”. They waltzed onto the stage, adorned with a moustache and Moulin-rouge style corset, and captivated the audience with fruity dance moves and a slapstick routine with her gloves.
The final act and my particular favourite exemplified the show’s versatility. Not comedy, not cabaret nor drag, but an intriguing mixture of spoken word and sensual choreography performed by Praise Mangena. Her piece of performance art was enhanced by lighting changes, which turned the whole stage a deep blue in one moment and then crimson in another. This act had professionalism and completeness that felt a bit incongruous with the rest of the show.
The difficulty of reviewing a variety hour is that each show, packed with a range of acts, is different. Variety shows are always a bit of a lottery. Some acts alone are five-star quality and others are not. The Finest Filth Variety Hour is a safe environment where newer artists cut their teeth and where they learn what works and what doesn’t. Don’t expect slickness and sheer perfection from this variety hour. The chaos and messiness is all a part of the fun. With Schofield’s eye for talent, passion for diversifying the field, and their winning role as host, these shows are definitely worth a watch.
Recommended Drink: Annie says, “the cheapest tequila shot on the menu. The nastiest one but it gives you the biggest high. Salt and lemon is up to you.”
Catch The Finest Filth Variety Hour every Friday and Saturday of Fringe. Tickets are available through the Adelaide Fringe Box Office.