2019 Fringe Festival Review: Wet Sounds

Wet Sounds in action. Photograph: SDNA

What: Wet Sounds
Who: Newtoy and Joel Cahen
Where: Adelaide Aquatic Centre
When: 20th February – 23rd February
Cost: $30-35

Wet Sounds is an immersive and interactive underwater music experience. The water surface becomes a barrier between the real world and the underworld. Underwater, the curated sounds travel differently, it seems to seep into your bones as they whisper and wash over your body. To be honest, it kind of feels like you are a mermaid.

Wet Sounds has returned to the 2019 Adelaide Fringe after a sold out 2018 season. Produced by London-based arts organisation Newtoy and with music by Joel Cahen, the show has returned to Adelaide to offer its unique underwater sound experience.

As we approached the pool, the atmosphere was tense. The Adelaide Aquatic Centre was dimly lit by dark blue lights, washing over the pool which was gently glimmering below. We all approached curiously, until the first person jumped in and broke the spell.

To begin with, the sounds were peaceful. The lights reflected this, light blues and greens. However, as the performance continued the water turned violent shades of red, the music outside clashing, and the voices in your ears grew sinister. The way the sound travels differently above and below the water is really obvious here. Below the sounds are softer, blocking your ears does nothing, and it feels like it permeates your bones.

Wet Sounds is a show that had rave reviews at the 2018 Fringe and has toured Europe and the UK to regular 5 star reviews. There was a lot of hype. While it was less interactive than we thought going in, Wet Sounds is deserving of this hype in many ways. The performance itself is so novel, it’s such a fascinating way to experience art and the freedom of floating and moving about the water was dreamy, and sometimes nightmarish. The way that Joel Cahen and Newtoy controlled the mood and shifted the atmosphere was masterful.

3.5 / 5 stars

Rachel Wong and Natalie Carfora

5 thoughts on “2019 Fringe Festival Review: Wet Sounds

  1. This show actually wasn’t supported by The Dive Shack or Rosie in any way this year unlike last year. I think that may have been why it wasn’t quite as successful with sold out shows. Instead it was supported by Diving Adelaide

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  2. Rosie Sheba and the dive shack had nothing to do with the show this year. Last year we put months of effort in, including advertising and promotion, with no payment except for a portion of our costs. This year we had nothing to do with the show due to difficulties working with NewToy. Please remove my name and The Dive Shack name from this review. There is an incorrect print in the fringe advertising. Thank you. Rosie Sheba.

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      1. Thank you, Natalie! Much appreciated. Yes the underwater performance definitely completes the picture. Last year we had ballerinas, dancers, a mermaid, someone watering an underwater plant, a sailor, a weight lifter… All interactive. It was a lot of work but the effect was great. I’m actually 6 months pregnant at the moment too so wouldn’t have been diving either way, but the rest of the team would have loved to do it again! I hope you enjoy the rest of the fringe and thanks again for your fast action and response. All the best, Rosie.

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