Adelaide Fringe – The Sun and The Hermit

There is, undoubtedly, a preponderance of clowns in The Fringe these days. It’s a form that has grown increasingly popular among performers, with every third Fringe show and their dog having studied at Gaulier last year. Due to this, finding a really interesting, unique and funny clown show is becoming increasingly rare.

Not so with The Sun and The Hermit. Belinda Anderson-Hunt takes the stage from the entrance door after some kooky house music makes us pause for a moment. The house music, like everything else in this show, is a choice – and after Belinda has made a series of really unusual, off-kilter, but fantastic choices, we’re left convinced by the skill and complexity of this performer.

The “plot”, such as it is, involves Belinda’s neutral character entering the stage, revealing a variety of old, dusty props and costumes, then taking on various characters. Most are barely verbal, and many appear cartoonish. The initial opening sequence is explosive and hilarious, making us all lean forward to discover what Belinda will do next.

I shouldn’t spoil anything much about the show – partly because I don’t want to ruin any surprises, and partly because I have no idea if it will happen again when you see it – but there are moments, especially in the first fifteen minutes, you have to see to believe. If you can see, through your crying laughter.

As the piece settles, it sufferers a little from becoming a bit same-same, but that’s ok – Belinda is such an open, raw and clever performer that we will go anywhere with her. While the core of the Sun and The Hermit is humour, and it is very, very funny, lurking around the edges are some dark, disturbing, and strange happenings. Shades of Beckett’s Footfalls strike me momentarily; later, I wonder whether I’m meeting a new character from Lynch’s Eraserhead.

Sitting with Belinda as she journeys through these various iterations, we are left to think about motherhood and growing old, the transformative power of honesty, and the unbearable honesty of being a child.

Any criticisms I have are mild and probably irrelevant on a second viewing – as Belinda tells us, at the completion, the show is different every night, and we may have witnessed one of the most bizarre incarnations.

Overall, it’s fantastic. Belinda is a deeply charismatic and authentic performer, and we don’t feel a moment of artifice as she hurls herself headlong into each new iteration. The spirit of Fringe is here in the room with us, Frank Ford looking down on the stage and smiling – this is the edge-of-your-seat, don’t-know-what’s-going-to-happen-next sort of stuff we’re begging to see.

The Sun and the Hermit is only on for TWO MORE NIGHTS! Book your tickets and head to the Migration Museum at 9.50 pm on Saturday and Sunday to experience the hilarious madness. It’s a trip well worth taking.

This review also appears on It’s On The House, and check out more reviews at Dark Stories Theatre to see what else is on in your town.

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