Maniacal Arts' Murray Bridge ex-pats prove small-town talent can shine in Adelaide Fringe

Maniacal: Tess Branchflower, Dec Carter, Emma Austin, Jake McNamara and Ashton Leigh Koroneos rehearse for Box and Cox: Married and Settled. Photo: Supplied.
Maniacal: Tess Branchflower, Dec Carter, Emma Austin, Jake McNamara and Ashton Leigh Koroneos rehearse for Box and Cox: Married and Settled. Photo: Supplied.

Theatre company Maniacal Arts' return to the Adelaide Fringe proves artistic types from the Murraylands can succeed in the theatrical world, one of its founders says.

Ben Furnell grew up in the Murraylands, playing music and gracing the stage with Murray Bridge Players and Singers on various occasions.

He founded Maniacal Arts with fellow Melbourne resident Jake McNamara and Murray Bridge's Jack Love several years ago as a means of formalising their shared roots and ambitions, despite the geographical distance between them.

They have since presented shows on both sides of the border, including a series of cabarets at Murray Bridge and District Community Club.

But right now they are busy with a show at Norwood Town Hall: Box and Cox: Married and Settled, a sequel to the play they put on during the 2018 Fringe festival.

Two wives are introduced to the lives of the protagonists who unknowingly shared a flat in the original; more hiliarity ensues.

Mr Love will operate the lighting, Mr Furnell's dad Darcy helped construct much of the set and Mr McNamara will fill one of the starring roles.

The rest of the cast is from Victoria, and Mr Furnell said they were excited about performing at one of the world's great arts festivals.

"They're a great bunch ... they're all from small towns and know what it's like to come from a small town and do theatre," he said.

In the longer term, though, he hoped the company would keep returning to Murray Bridge.

"This is our home town," he said.

"There are lots of artists and lots of musos out here.

"We all want to be seen, we all want to be heard; it's just a matter of getting the word out there."

He credited organisations such as youth centre The Station for preparing the next generation of local performers.

"There's so many kids there getting enthused by music, playing old-school rock'n'roll, songs that are 30 and 40 years gone by," he said.

"It's great."

  • Performances: 7.30pm tonight, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2.30pm Friday and Saturday, at Norwood Town Hall.
  • Tickets: From $15 at adelaidefringe.com.au.