Fringe review: Peter Goers in Joyful Strains

Lobethal, Encounter Bay, the Burnside Village Shopping Centre – no stone goes unturned as Peter Goers takes to the stage with an ode to South Australia. ★★★ ½

Feb 22, 2021, updated Feb 22, 2021

Born and raised in Adelaide, Peter Goers is one of our icons, having enjoyed a 40-year career in the entertainment industry. If you don’t remember his opinionated reviews in The Advertiser or the time four plays he directed showed simultaneously in Adelaide, he’s currently the host of Evenings and Smart Arts on 891 ABC radio.

Above all, he’s a charming storyteller; one part comic, one part gossip, all theatrical and yet familiar.

Goers has a story about Peter O’Toole, another about Robert Helpmann and one about Marina Prior, so clearly there’s a dramaturgical theme here, but he’s also got one about a shopkeeper at a craft store in Karoonda that’ll get you chuckling.

The Fringe guide says Joyful Strains is full of “gags, yarns and pathos particularly for old people”. He even tells his audience straight up that his stories are for “older people”, aware of the implied quotation marks he uses and the political incorrectness of ageism, but let’s be clear here: I spotted a few hipsters in the audience.

In a 60-minute act, you’ll get just as many tales, some lasting as long as a sentence while others demand a few more. Goers’ transitions are rapid and swift, but he’s never impatient, never in a hurry.

It’s strange how serene he seems, given the laconic pace of the show. Time seems to float, really, and this is nothing if not a sitting-back and settling-in performance.

There are, however, a couple of special guests who might give you a jolt of surprise, tilting the “spoken word” under which Joyful Strains is categorised into the cabaret pages, but song and dance suit the show as much as Goers’ furry cow-print clogs do. It’s his stage. Anything goes.

Peter Goers in Joyful Strains is playing at Holden Street Theatres until March 21.

Read more Adelaide Fringe reviews and previews  here.

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