Review by Thomas Gregory
There is a long and distinguished history of European detectives uncovering shadowy conspiracies, from Hercule Poirot to Inspector Clouseau and beyond. Now, we can add the deviously clever Seraphine to the list. An amateur detective (as she would get in trouble claiming otherwise), Seraphine has discovered a range of clues about Melbourne that have led her to discover sinister controlling forces in our city. Taking a short tour of the CBD, she shows us what she found and the mystery's natural solution! And it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had when made to walk.
De-Tours of Melbourne is a series of comedy walking tours presented by Jenna Schroder. As she takes on the character of the charismatic Seraphine, she lets us laugh at our trams, soap operas, and our terrible sense of style. While Seraphine relies a little on stereotypes as a character, the natural, often improvised comedy of Schroder relies on a keen eye and understanding of the small group she is working with during each tour.
Fringe is about risk, and what is riskier than having your performance occur outdoors in our unpredictable weather? While our tour was fine, I would be surprised if poor weather wasn’t prepared for. While a “walking tour”, the activity required was relatively low - none of the steep hills that can be found in the Hoddle grid, and in the hour of “touring”, the actual walking time might only have been ten minutes. While not suitable for those who have complex needs, being unfit is definitely not an excuse for missing out on this one.
I wasn’t born here but I have lived in Melbourne for over a decade. As an avid walker during that time, I’d assumed I’d discovered all the hiding places of the Hoddle grid. This tour still sent me to places I hadn’t been before and made me pay more attention to some of the buildings I have passed all the time.
The mystery side of things isn’t taxing in the brain, nor is meant to be. It’s a conceit designed for fun. So if you are the puzzling type, remember that you are coming for the comedy, not the conundrums.
De-Tours runs afternoons and nights throughout Fringe and also hosts a “Rom-Com” tour with Sunanda and Angela Fouhy. Have a nice little stroll with a comedian and then use it as an excuse to get an extra drink or dessert when you go to your next event.