What’s HOT at the 2016 Melbourne Fringe Festival

Melbourne Fringe The Xamels 4 + 4 = 4Now in its 34th year, Melbourne’s longest running and most popular independent arts festival once again takes over the City and surrounds in a spirited celebration of cultural democracy and art for everyone. With more than 400 events on offer, Australian Arts Review takes a look at ten shows in this year’s Melbourne Fringe, that are worth checking out!

4 + 4 = 4
Meat Market: 20 – 25 September
4 People. 4 Ropes. 4 Lives. They exist in the real world and they exist in the vertical world. Where do they fit? This is an exploration of the various facets of each personality, and of a closed group interactions, stretched and completed through this confined vertical escape. The Xamels invite the audience to a surreal journey through each performer’s quirky vision of her or his own personality, abstractly expressed by the interaction with a vertical rope, supported by the other members in either aerial or floor terms.

5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche
Lithuanian Club: 24 September – 1 October
It’s 1956 and the Cold War is at its peak, but even the threat of nuclear annihilation won’t stop the charming widows of the Susan B Anthony Society For The Sisters Of Gertrude Stein from getting together and celebrating their annual Quiche Breakfast. 5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche is the uproarious, award-winning, Off-Broadway smash, about sisterhood, community, and the best way to eat a quiche: deliberately and face first.

A Prudent Man
Arts House: 16 September – 1 October
Written and directed by Katy Warner and performed by Lyall Brooks, A Prudent Man takes an unapologetic look at a man in control of everything on the edge. A conservative politician, a leader, a man in a snappy suit, an athlete in a bad tracksuit. Meet A Prudent Man – an amalgamation of the right-wing politician that haunts us all. A darkly comic mixture of the Howards, the Abbotts, the Camerons and the Thatchers of the world, A Prudent Man looks at what it means to be a decent human being, and what it means to be right – in more ways than one.

Arts House: 18 September – 9.30pm
The greatest love of all? It’s inside of me. And you! And you, and you, and you. We are here and we are holy and we will party like we mean it. Celebratory sans dogma! Collectivity sans brainwashing! Community sans patriarchy! It’s time to worship at the altar of self-love and creative expression. Come together, wear your church hat and Sunday best, praise and shout as Mama Alto and her divine guests put the glory back into Glory Be! It’s femme, it’s queer, it’s multiracial. We all have a divine right, baby. It’s Church – but not as you know it.

Fringe Furniture 30: Redesign
Abbotsford Convent: continues to 1 October
Fringe Furniture has been the vanguard for iconic, eclectic, cutting-edge industrial design that, on occasion, might be described as totally impractical, verging on bonkers. To celebrate the 30th annual Fringe Furniture exhibition, we pay homage to this open access design exhibition’s experimental beginnings by asking this year’s designers to focus on the original brief. Expect to look back in order to look forward, be ready to embrace ideas alongside form, and to champion wild and innovative design.

Gasworks Arts Park: continues to 1 October
After international success with Cantina and more recently Scotch and Soda performer/director duo David Carberry and Chelsea McGuffin collaborate with circus artists Alice Muntz and delve a little further into the exploration of their genre bending art form. Blending circus, dance and live music into a genre of its own. Inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, Sediment explores the quirky, dark and at times comical nature of the human disposition to always question. Explore feats of physical impossibility, set to an original live score featuring the Theremin, the Typewriter, Crystal bowls and other interesting and unusual instruments.

Sky Light
Southbank: 15 – 18 September
An interactive performance and vast musical instrument that draws powerful beams of laser light between city building tops, Sky Light takes you on a journey of discovery, rewarding exploration of the site with an ever-changing show of light and sound that casts an entirely different perspective on the city. Beginning at the Southbank Pedestrian Bridge, choose a path along the North or South Bank, looking up to the sky as you follow the changes in light. Listen to the accompanying electronic soundscapes as you walk, and pause to take stock at designated viewing platforms, where live performances take place every 30 minutes.

Stupid and Contagious
Lithuanian Club: 24 September – 1 October
From the Kurt Cobain look-alike and “latter day high priest of sex comedy” (Adelaide Advertiser) Ryan Good, comes a karaoke cabaret cum mosh pit of Nirvana theatre. Climb inside the band that defined what it meant to be a rock god, decode the machinery that makes the magic and head-bang in the aisles like your lumberjack shirt depends on it.

Tina Del Twist – Gold Class
Arts House: 24 September – 1 October

Loved by audiences and critics alike, this gin-soaked velvet draped madame has been described as the lovechild of Dame Edna and Amy Winehouse. Tina was the cherub and comrade to the likes of Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe… But she never quite made it to be a household name. Or did she? In Tina’s eyes, she did. She was there, and is still here to tell the tale. Not their tales though. Hers. With a voice as smooth as honey, a comedic wit that could shred brie, and backed by a guitar maestro, you will have a ball enjoying the talents of Tina Del Twist.

The Right Unravelling
Arts House: 24 September – 1 October
Martial arts meets dance, singing and percussion in improvised performance. Creator Zac Jones merges techniques and performance forms to explore the possibilities of poly-rhythms played through the body in the same way a drummer plays a kit. Instead of the sound of the drum we see the dynamics of martial arts movement potential splitting the body in every direction. The narrative of breath and the bodies natural flow, the sound of a voice as the body contacts and releases.

The 2016 Melbourne Fringe continues to Sunday 2 October. For more information, visit: www.melbournefringe.com.au for details.

Image: The Xamels present 4 + 4 = 4 (supplied)