2019 Fringe Festival Review: The Umbrella Man

Photo Courtesy of the Adelaide Fringe

What: Umbrella Man

Who: Colin Bramwell

Where: The Ferguson Room, National Wine Centre

When: 24th Feb – 1st March

How much: $18 – $25

The Umbrella Man plays a soothing tune on his keyboard as his audience enters into the room. Once they have filtered in, he introduces himself in his thick Scottish accent. With the sound of rain pattering on a ramshackle roof, sitting opposite him in a bar in Cambodia, you are introduced to Bramwell’s character, Duke.

The self-proclaimed tour guide refers to the whole of the audience as one person, making intense eye-contact with his bar mate(s) throughout. It could indicate a lack of social awareness, but the character’s friendly demeanour eradicates any unsettling feelings about his motives. You soon find yourself being entranced by Duke’s descriptive anecdotes, weaving his speech with spoken word poetry and song. Duke’s fairly typical retellings of folklore and memories of home soon start to snowball into fervent rambling about his belief in the flat-Earth conspiracy. As his intensity begins to slip, there is also hints at a tragic loss of his childhood sweetheart.

This dream-like atmosphere that Bramwell creates gives him strong control over the crowd. His aptitude as a storyteller adds to his dynamic performance, building strong visual and emotional impressions. The entirety of the show seems to be written entirely in verse and so well-rehearsed that not a singular syllable sounds out of place.

The Umbrella Man is a crisp performance of a multi-faceted and layered character; well executed and well worth your time.

4/5 stars

Milly Farmer

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