[THEATRE AND PHYSICAL THEATRE/Theatre ~ WORLD PREMIERE ~ SA]
Streets and Parks of Bowden, Sat 19 Feb.
As late as the early 1990s the Bowden-Brompton area was regarded as low class and troublesome. As we learn from our host on a pleasant dusk stroll around this now genteel neighbourhood it bore this kind of reputation for over a century. Our host from the Oily Rag Theatre Company was suitably dressed in period costume and told tales of the many tanneries (life in Bowden at the time was always accompanied by an unpleasant stench), small factories and shops that filled the streets with activity from the mid-19th Century. She herself lived and worked in the area and reminisced a little as she gazed upon her old workplace – a shirt factory that is now someone’s home.
Many of the locations visited are still standing on their original sites, but one of the tanneries that was the centre of a large labour/union dispute has been replaced by a park and playground. To stand on a street corner that was once the hangout of a notorious gang and hear of their exploits was a curious experience. Bowden back then was reputed to be a place that offered safe haven to such gangs and others who lived on the wrong side of the law.
A lot of information was packed into this 70-minute show and tell. There were certainly some grisly stories, but much of it felt like a lesson in local history which was fine by me. Guess the 21st Century voyeur in me just wanted more of the seedy or macabre aspects of 19th Century life. A couple of listening stops were artfully placed in the shadows of original buildings as the dusk grew dimmer and added an atmosphere of mystery to the stories about their past inhabitants.
The narrative was engaging and delivered with great clarity. You didn’t have to crowd together to catch what was being said and this is a strange comfort these days. Darker Side Of Bowden is a delightful excuse to stroll around charming old streets in the late evening and learn about one of Adelaide’s oldest suburbs.
Darker Side Of Bowden continues on the Streets and Parks of Bowden, at various times, until Thu 19 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.