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Print Version

NZ Fringe Festival 2013

at Meow, Edward St CBD, Wellington
From 19 Feb 2013 to 24 Feb 2013

Reviewed by Lucy O'Connor, 20 Feb 2013

Going in to Adam Page I had no idea what to expect. One man, one looper, a menagerie of instruments and a beard to rival Rasputin.

The set up in Meow is reminiscent of an underground Jazz lounge. How fitting as we embark with Page on a musical expedition full of curiosity and intrigue. I say ‘with' Page, because that is exactly how we are treated.  He has an intuitive knack for allowing his audience the privilege of standing at his level through humor, modesty and the self-effacing manner in which he proposes we are witnessing a casual jam session.

In fact, we experience the opposite. While Page admits to experimenting and improvising a few of his pieces, there is a point where a musician becomes not simply a player but an artist with the freedom of creation even in the absence of perfection. And create he does.

The looping process is experimental, captivating and simply genius. Layering instruments of all kinds takes us from the groove of an entire funk group to a number primarily based around a didgeridoo, which could have been the theme music for Australia. He takes us from funk to reggae, and this somehow allows him to channel his ‘inner Slash' as Thunderstruck emerges in the middle somewhere.

A song is improvised simply with an audience member's name and proves just how inventive and knowledgeable Page is with rhythm and sound alone. His ‘collage' – an improvised piece where he combines three entirely different musical genres – attempts to merge Jazz, Opera and Metal. Can he? Well, you will have to witness it for yourself.

His expertise with the sax is obvious as this provides the basis for a number of solos, much appreciated by the audience. With the aid of the looper, the illusion of a group upholding the bass line makes us forget he is the only person on that stage.

Last night's was a performance to be remembered. If his final number had been later than 8pm there is no doubt the audience would have broken into a dance party. And although he did well to select me as the audience member he would sing about, I would say regardless that Page is a musical puppeteer whose talents and abilities with anything even remotely musical knows no bounds.

Not to be missed.

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 Janet Whittington