What’s HOT at the 2018 Melbourne Fringe Festival

Melbourne Fringe Anna Seymour SPINFeaturing over 440 events, presented by 3,358 artists, across 150 venues in a big, bold celebration of independent arts, Melbourne Fringe is back for another year from 13 September 2018. With so much on offer, Australian Arts Review takes a look at fifteen shows worth checking out:

A Cat’s Tongue
Kew Court House: 13 – 21 September
Combining image, object, movement and multimedia to explore the mysteries of human and animal pleasure, NoRoom Theatre Company makes its Fringe debut with their original piece: A Cat’s Tongue. Presented as an interconnected arc of obscure and visually captivating moments of high-energy contemporary theatre. NoRoom Theatre Company are pleased to ‘treat’ you to moments that ‘all’ humans gain pleasure from: sex, cats, upside down banana cake, and construction. Your understanding of pleasure, and displeasure will be turned on its ‘head’.

Alone Outside
Studio 2 – Arts House: 14 – 29 September
Following their success with A Prudent Man in 2016, Lab Kelpie return to Fringe with this powerful one-woman play by West Australian playwright Liz Newell that explores the conflict, awkwardness and nostalgia of returning home. Having just broken up with her long-time boyfriend, Daphne reluctantly returns from the ‘Big Smoke’ to the tiny country town she grew up in to visit her ailing grandmother. Experiencing run-ins with a revolving door of people she hasn’t seen in years, Daphne eventually reconnects with former best-mate Aidan, sharing a long-held secret that finally brings her the sense of clarity she hadn’t realised she’d been missing.

Anti Heroine
Errol’s & Co: 13 – 18 September
Looking through the mirror into the often-misunderstood world of the villain, Anti Heroine is a one-woman comedy cabaret set within the seedy world of a top-casting agent (think Harvey Weinstein before the conviction). Join Heather Bloom as she embodies the most fabulously dressed wicked women of childhood fairytales and shows off her remarkable range as a performer in this wacky comedy sure to bring on the nostalgic feels. A place for has-beens, wannabes and those that never were.

Theatre Works: 28 – 30 September
Creating optical illusions with movement and light, along with a unique combination of original vocal and musical elements, Ascent is an innovative new music theatre production that takes audiences on the journey of one woman ever reaching for the ideal. Undergoing a series of physical transformations in a quest to feel forever fresh and relevant, Ascent is another premiere Australian season by local outfit Citizen Theatre that examines what it is to be a woman, and the lengths some people will go to to achieve – perfection.

The Date
The Butterfly Club: 24 – 30 September
Created and Performed by Dean Robinson, The Date returns to The Butterfly Club following a sold out season earlier this year. A young, anxiety ridden Gay man, grooms and groans for a first date, he’s nervous and very out of practice so what else can he do but call his best friend for advice. He begins to ponder past relationships and dates, and how they have shaped him to who he is today.

Fuckboys The Musical
Ballroom – Lithuanian Club: 18 – 23 September
Karaoke night, every Wednesday, with your best friends in the world. What could possibly mess that up? You guessed it: fuckboys. In this hilarious one-act musical, four women will teach you the skills you need to take down the post dangerous predators in today’s modern dating scene. Fuckboys is a musical extravaganza you won’t want to miss!

Have you tried yoga?
Bluestone Church Arts Space: 14 – 30 September
One part autobiographical, nine parts necessary, Have you tried yoga? was created from verbatim interviews and shaped with music, physical theatre, and passive aggression, exploring what it’s like being disabled when surrounded by empty gestures, echoing platitudes and wannabe heroes. Rachel Edmonds’ original show ‘sets to redefine social narratives of what it means to have visible and invisible disabilities’ (Fest Magazine).

Brunswick Mechanics Institute: 25 – 29 September
A post-dramatic patchwork about queer millennial anxiety, Intoxication explores how the intense fear of being alone rules modern society, and how one person’s loneliness is symptomatic of everyone’s problem. Inspired by the work of sociologist Brené Brown, Intoxication weaves together concepts of vulnerability and shame with Christopher Bryant’s personal experience of a brain injury and amnesia, and the overall anxiety of being queer in the technological age.

KooKoo The Bird Girl
Studio 2 – Northcote Town Hall: 20 – 29 September
Minnie Woolsley was born in 1880 and was a rock star of her times – a freak show performer, a film actress, and most importantly, free from life in the asylum. She starred in Freaks (1932) as KooKoo the Bird Girl – a film that was banned for 30 years for its controversy. A century later acclaimed circus and physical theatre performer Sarah Houbolt uncovers this cult classic film (rated as #72 in the list of 1001 movies you must see before you die). Equipped with an uncanny resemblance to Minnie, and a undeniable higher calling, Sarah brings you a haunting, captivating, visceral experience of the beauty of difference in this one woman show.

The Mouse
The MC Showroom: 13 – 23 September
A darkly twisted thriller from the mind of home grown talent Clancy Fraser, The Mouse is a thoroughly creepy original thriller filled with intrigue and murderous intent. Her mother is dead, the funeral is over and now Claire and her husband Rob must return to the family home to sort out the issue of the inheritance. After shocking revelations emerge, Claire desperately seeks to make amends with her troubled younger sister Beth, who, in turn, has her own dark motives for keeping Claire at the house.

Nigella – Love Bites
Alex Theatre St Kilda: 20 – 22 September
A triumphant character cabaret that explores the sugar highs and front page lows of the domestic goddess’ career, Nigella – Love Bites returns to Melbourne for 3 nights only. If you missed her last year here is your chance. She has been tantalising our taste buds for years. Single handedly bringing sexy back into the kitchen with her smooth rich British accent, voluptuous physique and rampant addiction to alliteration. After a slew of recent media disasters, she has relaunched and revamped and is back with a vengeance.

Studio 1 – Northcote Town Hall: 21 – 22 September
A dance party created by contemporary dancer Anna Seymour, that offers an immersive experience combining the visual and tactile elements of DJ music, visual installation and dance performance. However, SPIN is no ordinary dance party. Your hosts are Deaf, and invite you to challenge your understanding of how dance and music can be experienced. Inspired by club scenes in San Francisco, Mexico, Cuba and Berlin, SPIN celebrates the physical and social experience of dance parties, subcultures and the beats that bring us together.

This Woman’s Work: The Songs of Kate Bush
Main Theatre – Lithuanian Club: Friday 14 September
She’s been described as an ‘enigma’ – an eccentric-original-rarity that polarized audiences and sent the pop world into a spin. Since the release of her self-written number-one hit, Wuthering Heights, Kate Bush became the banshee-like voice of individuality. Self-professed Kate Bush enthusiast, Kate Finkelstein will lead you through of night of singing and dancing – embracing the hit songs including: Wuthering Heights, The Man With The Child In His Eyes, Cloudbusting, Running Up That Hill, Love And Anger and many more…

Tomfoolery – The Words and Music of Tom Lehrer
Gasworks Arts Park: 12 – 22 September

Enter the thoroughly twisted world of famed satirical songwriter and Harvard mathematician, Tom Lehrer. Discover why the South Australian Playford government banned five of his songs during his 1960 tour. From Poisoning Pigeons in the Park to The Vatican Rag and The Masochism Tango, this is one hilarious cabaret show not to be missed! Directed by Theresa Borg, Tomfoolery features Michael Dalton, Peter Hurley, Susan-ann Walker and Sean Weatherly.

The Ukulele Kids Show
Gasworks Arts Park: 25 – 27 September
The Ukulele Kids Show
is a brand new show by renowned Victorian children’s music company Woody’s World. Musical expression is made easy when Woody teams up with the entire audience to learn and play the ukulele together! Play along to the story of Jasmina – a shy young girl at school in need of the tools to express herself through music.

The 2018 Melbourne Fringe takes over the city from 13 to 30 September 2018. For more information, visit: www.melbournefringe.com.au for details.

Image: Darebin Arts presents SPIN as part of the 2018 Melbourne Fringe (supplied)