In what has fast become a Perth summer institution, the Fringe World Festival kicks off this weekend offering Westralians the opportunity to make the most of the balmy summer nights and enjoy an incredible array of more than 750 events and almost 130 venues to explore in every corner of the city. Australian Arts Review takes a look at 12 events worth checking out:
The Blue Room Theatre: 13 – 17 February
Five people with five stories that unravel the contemporary nature of isolation. Alone in an apartment, in a bustling bar, in the dial tone of a message bank and across the deep blue – waiting for a reply. Inspired by the true story of 52 Blue – the loneliest whale in the world. This whale, first discovered in the late 80s, calls out at the abnormal frequency of 52Hz and to this date continues to be tracked as it follows its solo journey across the ocean. 52 Hertz uses performance and movement to reach out and touch the empathetic soul of human existence.
Briefs: Close Encounters
The Pleasure Garden: 7 – 25 February
The world’s hottest all-male boylesque group are back! Having glitter-bombed the globe as we know it with their iconic and hilarious brand of circus, drag, burlesque and comedy, the Briefs boys are now ready to explore the third dimension. With their trademark skill and humour they test the limits of masculinity, taste and decency. Expect interstellar aerials, incredible artistry, and warped speed strippers from outer space. Prepare yourselves for a close encounter with the Briefs boys.
The Ice Cream Factory: 25 January – 25 February
After three sell-out seasons, the creators of La Soiree return to Perth with a brand new show. Loose, glorious and irresistibly fun, Club Swizzle is a night of sassy entertainment where the mayhem gets kicked up a notch. The cheekiest souls in showbiz gather on, in and around the bar where legends are made and good times abound. It’s a melee of outrageous cabaret, air-defying acrobatics and infectious musical revelry, backed by a band with a repertoire as big as its bar tab.
The Pleasure Garden: 28 January – 25 February
Djuki Mala return to Perth on the back of their 2017 Summer Festival, Sydney Opera House and Edinburgh Fringe sell-out seasons! Unique, infectious, high-energy exuberant, fusing traditional Yolngu, pop culture, dance storytelling to create work that is a marvel of timing, comedy & clowning, with a hefty dose of heart soul! If there is one show that is guaranteed to leave you feeling genuinely happy then this is it!
The Pleasure Garden: 13 – 25 February
The smash hit of 2017 returns bigger and better! Elixir is circus with a difference! Uninhibited by cliche or expectation, subversive and hilarious, the story follows three enthusiastic and acrobatic scientists who attempt to create the elixir of life. Elixir returns to Fringe World after being redirected and re-created for a spiegeltent audience by award-winning UK director John Walton. The boys are back with their incredible acrobatics and tongue in cheek humour, combined with sweaty muscles and smiling faces.
The Blue Room Theatre: 13 – 24 February
Fleabag may seem over-sexed, emotionally unfiltered and self-obsessed, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With relationships under strain and a guinea pig themed cafe struggling to keep afloat, Fleabag suddenly finds herself with nothing to lose. Stumbling through a maze of social anxiety, disastrous job interviews and meaningless sex, the award-winning Fleabag serves up an uproariously true account of some sort of a female living her sort of life. The inspiration behind the BBC series, this is a blisteringly funny solo show from Phoebe Waller-Bridge (star of the Netflix series Crashing) and stars Maddie Rice.
Hannah Gadsby – Nanette
Heath Ledger Theatre: 27 & 28 January
Beloved Australian comedian, Hannah Gadsby is bringing her award-winning and self-described swansong Nanette back to Perth. Nanette, Hannah’s masterpiece, saw the comedian complete an unheard of comedy trifecta, taking home Australia’s most prestigious comedy award ‘The Barry’ for Best Show at last year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival; followed by the Helpmann Award for Best Comedy Performer; and finally the world’s biggest prize for live comedy, the Best Comedy Show award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. One of Australia’s most applauded and beloved comedians, don’t miss your chance to be spellbound by the inner workings of Hannah’s unique mind while you can.
Hot Brown Honey
The Pleasure Garden: 8 – 25 February
Unapologetically fierce, defiantly shattering preconceptions in an explosion of colour, culture and controversy – fighting the Power never tasted so sweet. Hot Brown Honey turns up the heat with lashings of sass and a hot pinch of empowerment in the smash-hit, genre defying, firecracker of a show that’s taken the world by storm. Steeped in the Word of The Mother and packing a punch of Hip Hop politics, Hot Brown Honey will make you laugh until you cry, clap until your hands bleed, dance in the aisles and shake every part of what your mama gave you.
Livvy & Pete: The Songs of Olivia Newton John and Peter Allen
The Pleasure Garden: 5 – 12 February
Helpmann award-winner Michael Griffiths and cabaret darling Amelia Ryan celebrate the songbooks of Aussie icons Olivia Newton-John and Peter Allen. From their humble small-town beginnings to world domination in sequins and jumpsuits, revisit all of their sing-a-long classics from Rio to Tenterfield, all the way to Xanadu and beyond.
The Ghosts of Fremantle
Fremantle Prison: 24 February
Join experimental music/arts collective “Genrefonix” in the atmospheric Fremantle Prison Theatre for a fictional multimedia show featuring original horror music and immersive soundscapes. The Ghosts of Fremantle is a visual feast told through story, black humour and haunting soundscapes narrated by WA’s most famous bushranger Moondyne Joe, a former inmate as he takes the crowd on a journey through Fremantle’s dark past. See some of WA’s most haunted buildings brought to life through emotive tunes, eerie sound effects and imaginative ghost portraits created for the show – including the original theatre screen used for prisoners.
Wank Bank Masterclass
The Pleasure Garden: 27 January – 10 February
Winner of the Best Interactive Show at the 2017 Adelaide Fringe 2017, Adam Seymour (AKA Rural Ranga) is an Australian artist who created an art book from his happy ending massages in New York City. Now he brings you an informative, interactive and playful masterclass of original techniques to perfect the art of handling your partner’s member (or even your own). Enjoy waves of adolescent laughter and be prepared to end up in a hilarious circle jerk with carrots and cucumbers.
Zoe Coombs Marr
The Ice Cream Factory: 7 – 11 February
Zoe has been on hiatus. Sort of. For the past 6 years, she’s been a terrible male comedian with a neckbeard called Dave, winning stacks of awards and tons of great reviews. Whatever. Now, she’s scraped off the neckbeard and is BAAAAACK… as herself!
The 2018 Fringe World Festival runs 26 January to 25 February. For more information, visit: www.fringeworld.com.au for details.
Image: Maddie Rice stars in Fleabag at The Blue Room Theatre (supplied)