Fire at the Fringe

Published by: Joanne Hartstone | 22-Feb-2019
There was unexpected drama last night "” 22 February "” at the Noel Lothian Hall in the Adelaide Botanic Garden. As the audience were lining up for Jden Redden's 'jden redden: The Expert at the Card Table' "” which incidentally won the BankSA Adelaide Fringe BEST MAGIC Weekly Award the previous night; for the second consecutive year "” the deafening alerts of the smoke alarms began to wail, joined with flashing red lights.
Venue: Noel Lothian Hall
Address: Adelaide Botanic Garden, Hackney Road, Adelaide 5000
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The Noel Lothian Hall's technical manager, Tom Kitney, was quick to respond and the audience were directed back to the outdoor Rose Garden Bar. In a flash of creative problem solving, Kitney and Redden opted to strip the show back to its bare bones and set up their card table in the outside.

"The beauty of 'The Expert at the Card Table' is in the detail of the card magic" says Kitney. "At the core of the show is Jden and his table. So in the spirit of "the show must go on" we decided to relocate outdoors, gather chairs around a backlit spotlight and give the audience a bespoke theatrical experience."

Meanwhile, the Noel Lothian Hall's Artistic Director, Joanne Hartstone, was liaising with the Fire Brigade and Police. As the show commenced outdoors, Hartstone, Kitney and the team of emergency servicemen were navigating their way through the labyrinthine network of rooms and corridors within the main body of the building. Lit only by torchlight, the emergency services soon found the cause of the alarm buried deep within Seed Vault 1. In a true coincidence, a speck of dust or a bug had caused one of the sensors to trigger and sound the alarm.

"We quickly established there was no emergency and the building was signed off as safe by the Fire Chief" says Hartstone. "But once we locked up the Seed Vault, we joined the gathered audience in the bar and watched a truly beautiful impromptu magic show. It made me think"¦ perhaps we should have more shows outside!"

Jden Redden performed his 2-time award-winning show against all odds, and in true Blitz spirit the audience rallied together with him to create a truly magical experience. It is a testament to the skill of Redden as a performer and the whole team at the Noel Lothian Hall that the performance continued. Huge thanks must go to the Emergency Services of South Australia for their speedy and professional response to the incident.

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