The Adelaide Fringe Festival has come in for scathing criticism by British comedian Alexis Dubus who vowed to skip all future editions of the festival because of its “greed and complacency.”
Dubus posted his views in Facebook and recalled he had been performing at the Fringe since 2009. He bemoaned that the festival has lost its “exciting, exuberant, experimental” spirit.
Resenting the festival’s new found liking for large venues, Dubus said large crowds are basically drinkers and have nothing to do with art, reports The ABC.
“I think the duty of a Fringe is to get people out of their comfort zone and to get people seeing things that they wouldn’t normally go and see and that will challenge them a bit,” Dubus said.
He also slammed the poor ticket sales in his shows and compared the big draw enjoyed by fellow performers in smaller venues. He said many artists had to cancel shows because of the poor turnout.
“There are people who have had to cancel three nights in a row who’ve come from Canada, who’ve come from the [United] States, who have come from Britain,” Dubus noted.
He said cancellations are a case of wasted labour running into months and years. Dubus expressed surprise why performers are not getting their audience despite positioning as fringe shows.
Responding to the criticism, Director of Adelaide Fringe Festival, Heather Croall conceded that some good shows have missed big crowds. However, she said Fringe would be making record sales this time.
“We’re actually on track to have a bumper record year of ticket sales and what we’re seeing is 60 percent of the tickets are in the Garden of Unearthly Delights and the Croquet Club and Gluttony … and around 40 percent are in the smaller, independent venues which is actually a very good split,” Croall said.
Independent producer Anita Kazmierczak also supported Dubus.
“There’s at least 1,100 shows competing against each other so it is a very, very competitive market, so some of his points are very valid,” Kazmierczak said.
After the viral social media post of Dubus, Australian comedian Brendon Burns stepped in with his remarks and said, “I’m afraid to say every word of this is true.”
“Never have I attended a supposed international festival with such a poor attitude,” wrote the Australian comedian and flayed the attitude of hecklers in several shows, reports The InDaily.
“Terrible festival – the worst by a long shot… some lovely people but they really are being let down big time by some of the worst attending public I have encountered anywhere,” he added.