Tripod: This Gaming Life

A comedy trio, a symphony orchestra and video games galore – This Gaming Life is a rather pleasing, albeit unexpected, union of cabaret components. In a unique fusion of comedy, nerdery and musicality, Tripod and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra combine to take gaming to a new level.

Tripod: This Gaming Life, Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2016, Image by Photographer James Penlidis
Tripod: This Gaming Life, Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2016, Image by Photographer James Penlidis

Tripod, the wizards of transforming mundane, everyday life observations into witty musical comedy, have repeatedly entertained Adelaide Cabaret Festival audiences with their unique perspectives. This years’ AdCabFest vessel is video gaming – a world where mundane, everyday life observations are obsolete. A world where everything is heightened and everything is exciting. This is an environment where virtual reality trumps actual reality. The soundtrack of which, naturally, cannot be a simple guitar… An orchestra is required for this journey.

The trio, Scod (Scott Edgar), Yon (Simon Hall) and Gatesy (Steven Gates), have collaborated with Grammy-nominated video game and film composer (and conductor on the night), Austin Wintory, to heighten the musicality well beyond three men and a guitar. The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, who have slaved away rehearsing these numbers for days months, is perfect as always. The ease of interaction between Tripod and Austin Wintory indicate that this collaboration has forged strong friendships and musical bonds. 

This Gaming Life features works from Journey and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, as well as numbers such as ‘Does it Have Guns’, highlighting Yon’s virtual murderous obsession, and ‘Head of Zombie – Body of Hottie’, a hilarious commentary about the absurd characterization of females in games. Nostalgia is rife in ‘Squares on a Screen’, and ‘Halo – The Musical’ is a hilarious review of multiplayer gaming.

While there are snippets of audacious musical brilliance in This Gaming Life, the simplicity of the Tripod’s usual musical style is lost. The importance of the lyrics becomes muddied behind the wall of symphonic sound, and the familiar intimacy is lost on the cavernous Festival Theatre Stage. Combined with regular errors in staging, harmony difficulties and sound issues, the production lacked the polish that Tuxedo-wearing performers implied.

This Gaming Life seems to targets a rather small audience – video gamers with a preference for orchestral music. According to the patronage at the Adelaide Festival Theatre however, this cohort is not so insignificant. Knowledge of video games is not essential to enjoy This Gaming Life; it is, however, desirable.

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