Fringe!!! That’s all you need to know right? Sorry, what’s that, you want more? I guarantee that’s not a phrase you’ll be saying on Feb 16th when the 700 Fringe events pack up stumps and move on. Below are some tips to help you get the most of the next four weeks.
Log onto the website or pick up a program. Opening up the program can be a bit overwhelming, kind of like the smorgasbord on an ocean-liner. If you thinks it’s hard deciding what to see, think about what it must have been like to put it all together! Like any daunting problem the best approach is to break it down into smaller pieces. Here goes.
- Pick an act you know you must see
Before you get distracted by the feathers and sequins write down the events you simply must see. For me it’s Gingzilla. I mean come on who doesn’t want to see a seven foot, ginger bearded, WAAPA graduate glamazon belt out a tune? I first saw her act at last years Fringe as a part of the Little Death Club and I couldn’t stop laughing. Since then I’ve watched her clip on one of the reality shows, Britian’s Got Talent or something like that. I can’t wait to see what she brings this time. Dates 17-19th, 21-26th.
2. Pick a group Cabaret/Circus Act
Cabaret acts come in all shapes and sizes from the one person show to the duo, trio or troupe. I highly recommend the troupe approach as there’s bound to be something in there to tickle your fancy. There’s usually half a dozen magnificent group cabaret acts. The wining formulae dictates they include around six to eight performers including a singer, some trapeze work, a comedic element, a circus element such as fire eating or sword swallowing, and depending on the time slot, a liberal sprinkling of raunch. I was very pleased to see that the Little Death Club is back again this year. Bernie Dieter puts together an incredibly professional group of performers. Dates 17 Jan – 16 Feb.
Other group acts include: Primo Loco, Feugo Carnal. Empire Club, Railed, and Circus Cision to name a few.
3. Individual cabaret acts
In terms of the one person cabaret shows there’s a list so long it would take a couple of days to read. One way to decide is pick and act and google it’s reviews. I usually pick one safe act that’s bound to be good and one more risky option which may surprise. This year I will be checking out The Adventures of Sherlock Homes as it received good reviews last year. I haven’t decided on my risky option as yet, however the Heritage Perth, Ghosts of Perth at the East Perth cemetery option is looking promising, though I might pick the 7 pm version instead of 9.30 pm.
4. Stand Up
Sure you can keep with the tried and true well known stand up comedians like Sandman and Flacco, Akmal, Sam Simmons (who I will be seeing) but it’s also a good idea to throw in some new people. A safe way of doing this is to pick on of the group stand up options e.g. All Around The World International Comedy Show. Similar to the cabaret troupes if you don’t like one act there’ll be another along in a minute.
5. Woodside Pleasure Garden
The Woodside Pleasure Garden is an excellent place to chill and watch the passing crowd while grabbing a drink and something to eat. It’s also a place where you can overhear people talking about the shows. Even better you can end up in conversation with a complete stranger about a show. Over the years this has often seen me toddling off to see something I wouldn’t have chosen myself. The Garden closes at midnight during the week and 1 am on the weekends.
6. Try something new to Fringe
Rather than sticking to what you know, you might like to add in one of the new events. This year sees a new venue, The Rechabite which promises to be good. There’s a lot of buzz going around about The Choir of Man and there’s also a Flea Circus for something completely different.
7. Out of towners
I’ve concentrated on the city as that’s my stomping ground. However there are also events are the metropolitan area e.g. Scarborough, Canning Vale, Bassendean and Ellenbrook to name a few. This year sees Fringe events in Kalgoorlie for the first time.
8. Others of interest include:
- The Girls School. Anyone who went to this venue last years knows they’re in for a treat;
- Yagan Square is featuring The Power Hour;
- Speed: The Movie, The Play is performed on a vintage bus;
- Flight and Seance both shows performed in 40 foot sea containers.
9. Children’s Program, Fringe Kids
There’s a children’s program which I can attest is just as much fun for adults. The Fringe Kids program is run in the Pleasure Garden from 1 pm. The Mermaids Splash Zone is always a good option to start with as is the kids silent disco, not to be mixed up with the adults silent disco later on. I usually end up getting drawn into the action in the Absurdly Kid’s Doorway Cabaret act, he’s brilliant, and I saw a sneak peak of the PreHysterical acrobatic act which looked good.
I’m pleased to say that Fringe takes great pride in making sure their venues are disability friendly. As an example last year it was easy to get up the curb at the Pleasure Garden thanks to strategically placed small yellow ramps. The Fringe website and programs are also brilliant as they give information about parking, wheelchair access, audio description, Auslan interpretation and more.
As I took one more look over the comprehensive program that includes a children’s program, street theatre, music events, dance theatre, film, visual arts and so much more, I pondered just one thing. How lucky we are to have the third largest Fringe Festival in the world in Perth. How great would it be if it was spread throughout the year. Have fun everyone, and please let me know what you enjoyed.
For more information go to Fringe Festival 2020