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Breaking stereotypes at Adelaide Fringe

Australia’s Festival State is opening its annual Fringe Festival tonight. Some of this years’ Adelaide Fringe Festival acts are breaking ageing stereotypes with a variety of older performers and veteran presenters; and one aged care service provider is bringing Fringe acts to its residents.

Margaret Mayer and  Rachael Vincent perform 'Death is Over-rated at the 2017 Adelaide Fringe
Margaret Mayer and Rachael Vincent perform 'Death is Over-rated at the 2017 Adelaide Fringe

Now in its 56th year the 2017 Adelaide Fringe, 17 February – 16 March, has grown to become one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest open access arts festival.

Comedienne Margaret Mayer is making her debut at 85 years old, and together with Rachael Vincent, regale tales of life, her death and gives a few helpful hints in Death is Over-rated. 

"I might not be around much longer, so you'd better book quick," says Ms Mayer.

Through its series of short theatre pieces, a community theatre consisting of actors all aged 70, is aiming to break down the myths of how the older person should behave and act, and show how life’s encounters can affect our ageing.

Ash for cash, online dating, voices in our head, and of course tea. Cups upon cups upon cups of tea are just some of the sketches performed by The Vintage Theatre Co-op.

Cherry and Ruby Ripe make up musical comedy duo The Chery Ripes and describe themselves as two menopausal, grey haired, wrinkled, saggy boobed sisters from the country.

Musical comedy duo The Chery Ripes

They sing songs about growing old disgracefully, and accompany themselves with the ukulele, wash board, drums and plastic chicken. 

Their rendition of the song ‘Hallelooyah’ will have you wetting yourself, but don't worry, Ruby says she always has a spare incontinent pad in her handbag.

Boasting an average age of 70, aged care service provider ACH Group’s Sing for Joy Choir is making its Fringe debut and has a song list featuring modern pop songs, a few old time classics and an original piece written by the choir.

Southern Cross Care (SA & NT) is bringing the Fringe to its residents by securing a variety of Fringe acts to perform at three of its facilities. 

Interim Chief Executive Officer David Moran says the program sits well with the Southern Cross Care philosophy to keep people connected, health and active. 

“All six 2016 Fringe performances had good attendance sizes – some sold out – and the feedback from residents was exceptional. Therefore for 2017, our preference was to ‘spread the load’ and share events across three key sites. This year we are encouraging attendance from the broader SCC community.”

In his Fringe act, veteran broadcaster South Australian storyteller/history nut/jazz muso Keith Conlon takes you on a trip through 180 years of colonial carryings on in Adelaide, while following the sell-out, five star success of ‘Actors, Drunks And Babies Never Hurt Themselves’, presenter and writer Peter Goers “will revive some of that same old shit with new reminiscences.” 

He promises a witty celebration of Adelaide, show biz, a heritage listed Volvo, suburbia and a bit of Sandy Stone. “A nice show particularly for old people,” he says.

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