CONTENTS Tom Ballard .................................................................. 4 Fallen ............................................................................ 4 Arj Barker ..................................................................... 4 Impro Melbourne ......................................................... 4 The Pedophile Terrorist And The Fight On Box Hill... 6 Sam Simmons............................................................... 6 Akmal ........................................................................... 6 VnV Boudoir................................................................ 6 Electric Shorts............................................................... 8 Man 40 Seeks Woman With Good Legs / Billie........... 8 Josh Thomas ................................................................. 8 Charles Barrington In Joyce’s Junkatique...................... 8 Ghostboy With Golden Virtues ................................. 12 Crook’d ....................................................................... 12 Jeremiah...................................................................... 12 Runtime Error ............................................................ 12 Belle’s Paradise ............................................................ 14 Sketch The Rhyme ..................................................... 14 The Book Of Revelation ............................................ 14 Jesus, According To Luke............................................ 14 Love In The Time Of Milk Bars ................................. 14 When The Sex Is Gone .............................................. 16 Centrelink: The Musical ............................................. 16 Felicity Ward Reads From The Book Of Moron ........ 16 Fringe @ The Store Room .......................................... 16 Hannah Gadsby ......................................................... 17 In Search Of Atlantis .................................................. 17 A Black Joy ................................................................. 18 Gasworks Presents Mikki Ross ................................... 18 Iris............................................................................... 18 The Post-Apocalyptic Users Guide ............................. 18 Loops Of Love ............................................................ 18 Love And Marriage ..................................................... 18 Passi Jo & Warako Musika ......................................... 18 Tongue Meat .............................................................. 18 The Hamlet Apocalypse ............................................. 20 Supper At Stanley’s Returns ........................................ 20 Field............................................................................ 20 Puppy Fight Social Club............................................. 20 Seamus McAlary: Thoughts, Musings And Proper Jokes . 20 Speaking ..................................................................... 20 Highlights................................................................... 22 Giveaways ................................................................... 22 BOOKINGS To book tickets to any of the shows at Melbourne Fringe head to melbournefringe.com.au or on 9660 9666. MANAGING EDITOR: Andrew Mast EDITOR: Baz McAlister CONTRIBUTORS: Tony McMahon, Toby Walker, Ghostboy SALES/ADVERTISING: Katie Owen, Sylvia Sokol DESIGN/LAYOUT: Matt Greenwood, Stuart Teague
NOTES ON THE HEAD By Melbourne Fringe Festival punk cabaret performer Ghostboy
‘Fringe’ has nothing to do with art. Or Edinburgh. It is all about heads.
one-woman hairless harp-based cabaret shows cut above the highbrow; unkempt lords soon wept.
In Cairo I developed my first stiff false beard – great for midday sacrifices and my early experimental theatre projects.
To end the 18th century with a mini-bird cage containing a flamingo and a maritime war scene on top of my scalp was not completely unexpected. Lady C preferred long raging ringlets and big coiffures – the mixture of horsehair and heavy powder created perfect nesting material for vermin, and in 1905 we opened our first lice circus for a limited ten-hour season.
Once I hit Athens I went for a chignon, shaved that false beard and became a true prophet of the skin, preaching love poetry at bath-houses. I soon moved on as my fine words were being lost in the vice of sodomy that seemed to grip the venue (and my host body). Holes! As an unmarried Chinese girl, I had little choice but to wear my hair long, knotted at the nape. Many a lone traveler was seduced by my sudden sword-swallowing and false signature. Africa presented a different challenge – how does a performance art beast inhabiting the spleen of a Maasia warrior take to tiny braids and animal dung? As it turned out – great – and the shit we produced using a straw basket, two virgins and a vengeful sun god are still revered. Once the 15th Century hit, I quickly entered a renaissance lady and we took plucking to the limit. Our
Making my way into the trenches of a Victorian gent’s macassar-oiled moustache soon led to snake charming and sideburn reading on the pavement by a local butcher. Before I had time to stroke anything I was deposited into the perfumed slicked-back part of a 1920s grifter, selling medicine shows to the rich rats of London. 1950s glamour – what a time for a punk cabaret musicale entity to possess a woman! The constraints of war gone, I housed myself in the fingers of Vivienne, a Las Vegas domestic goddess with a brown helmet of hair and a penchant for juggling shopping, three kids and sharp silver objects. My first bangs were in 1965 – platinum blond, I turned
more heads than a car crash and that was before I started yodeling in French on provincial street corners, garter belt and blind pussy by my side. As an art-rock punk I got sharp and was into installation art and live labia tattooing, before the ‘80s hit and I got lost up the nose of a mulleted, tanned ad exec who doubled as a kids’ comedian when the urge hit (and the libido waned). The ‘90s were harder for me – grunge flannelette kids, unwashed baggy pants and Britney Spears led to my muse taking refuge in the pubic hair of Leonard Cohen, waiting for the light to creep back in and for art to stop dressing itself down. 2009 – Fringes return to Melbourne! I have returned too, glammed and crammed into the bald cranium of a (dis)graceful gender-stressed punk performance artist, heading an outlaw outfit that goes down on Iggy’s Pop and takes cabaret to the darkest rim of the corner table: Ghostboy with Golden Virtues. This is my chance to take scissors to a fringe, to see what happens when the curtain parts and I am the one upfront with the clippers, buzz cut and loose, ready to tease audiences into a frenzy. Yell Shampoo and join us – let the Fringe begin!
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
“Circus is risk, and what appeals to the audience is realness of that theatrical form. The audience is there, in the moment, the danger is real, it’s in their face and you can’t rewind to watch it again. We’ve removed so much risk-taking in our lives that we find ourselves in predominantly safe, dreary bubbles, where popular culture and media tell us what we should think, how we should behave, what we should wear, say and think. Circus performance helps the audience step into real time and experience some of the thrill, some of the inspiration and some of the excitement that is missing from our modern culture.”
Despite Several Nights Only! being a completely new show, Ballard says there are some common themes, as well as just a little bit of possibly illegal activity. “My Comedy Festival show, Tom Ballard Is What He Is, was about gayness and gaying it up, gaying along and all that. Obviously that kind of stuff will come up now and again, because it’s part of my life, but it’s not the focus of this hour. The material for this show ranges from my recent travels overseas to religion to the death of the world’s oldest man to embarrassing things that have happened on the radio, and at the end I reveal the worst thing I’ve ever done. It’s not illegal (I think), but it fills me with great regret and shame. Comedy gold!”
O’Brien says that Fallen came to life as a production by unusual means.
In his quest for world domination, Ballard has just returned from the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and it appears that staying in the same hotel as John Cleese didn’t give rise to any Fawlty Towers jokes.
TOM BALLARD By Tony McMahon Hot on the heels of his Best Newcomer Award at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, rising star Tom Ballard brings his new show, Several Nights Only! to Fringe. Despite his tender age of 19, Ballard seems assured of a terrific future and says he is looking forward to the challenge, but don’t expect too much in the way of props. “In exchange for money, I will perform Several Nights Only! on a stage with a microphone, a stool, a bottle of water and back-up dancers. It’s a brand new show, so I’m jolly excited about debuting it at Fringe, and I’m also excited about the challenge of just doing an hour of jokes. There’s no narrative or whimsy to fill in the gaps where I’m not funny, so I’m pretty much living on the edge and stuff.”
“Although it will annoy Adam Hills (buy his DVD), I can only describe it as surreal. It’s a huge international festival with a lot of buzz around it. The Down Under shows were an absolute blast, I felt honoured to perform alongside people like Adam [Hills] and Wil Anderson and Julia Morris and Jimeoin. Drunk, patriotic expats are always good fun. Staying in the same hotel as comedy legends like Andy Kindler, Jimmy Carr, Simon Amstell, John Cleese, Ross Noble, Louis CK, etc, was just bizarre. And I got to see Bill Cosby live in tracksuit pants. Jealous?” Hmmm. Not so much. Anyway, Ballard says that being described as the hottest young talent around makes him feel, well, hot. “Dude, I’m freaking boiling. Seriously, I’m on fire, I’m like a hot plate. Don’t even touch me, unless you don’t want your epidermis layer anymore, ‘cause trust me, that shit will evaporate. I shine like the sun; my talent will burn your retina and give you skin cancer. Stop the debate – I cause global warming. I’m hot like magma and I’m only getting hotter. But you know, I’m trying to keep a level head.” WHO: Tom Ballard WHAT: Several Nights Only! WHERE & WHEN: Festival Hub Meeting Room Friday 25 September to Saturday 10 October (8pm, 7pm Sundays, not Mondays)
“Fallen has been created from a series of ideas of theatrical images. Then skills have been added and layered into the concepts, this differs greatly from traditional circus where the motivation starts from the tricks: how to make them bigger, more daring, more exciting. Certainly there is a stunning array of high skill in this show, but it’s married to images that melt your heart and play with your emotions, the challenge was to make work that evoked a response in a wider audience and appealed to everyone in some way.”
FALLEN By Tony McMahon Fallen is the story of an angel’s descent to earth told through circus arts and acrobatics by one of Australia’s best practitioners, Felicia O’Brien, who is also the show’s producer. Fallen deals with themes of unrequited love, possession and insanity, but, O’Brien explains, the show’s most important element is that it is physical theatre of an entirely new kind. “Fallen is a visual journey portrayed through the use of extreme aerial acrobatics, physical comedy and physical theatre skills. It takes the audience on a magical adventure involving naive characters in an inexplicable world. It presents circus in a way it has never been seen before with a language of theatrical imagery.” There is an inherent fascination for audiences watching someone risk their life for art. No nets, no tricks, no CGI. O’Brien says it is all about rebelling against the kind of lives we’ve come to lead.
By Tony McMahon By now almost an honorary Aussie, American funnyman Arj Barker returns to Fringe this year with his new show Keeper Or Crapper. Promising audiences an hour of future classics, Barker says that the show might also contain some good moments for those of us who enjoy seeing our comedians squirm. “This show is basically all the new or unpolished material I can come up with, although at times, I might chuck in a classic or two, to get things back on track. But overall, I want to explore new ideas in this show. 04
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WHO: Arj Barker WHAT: Keeper Or Crapper WHERE & WHEN: Main Theatre, Lithuanian Club, Friday 25 September – Saturday 10 October (7.30pm, 6.30 Sundays)
WHAT: Fallen WHERE & WHEN: Arthouse, Friday 25 October – Saturday 10 October (8pm, 7pm Sunday, excluding Monday and Tuesday)
Of course, the Theatresports format involves performers competing not just in front of an audience, but a panel of judges as well. Despite actors being known generally for dirty tricks, Geary says that he’s never managed to succeed in bribing anyone.
Barker has had a strong connection with Australia over the years, making numerous trips here and appearing regularly at our festivals or on our TV screens.
“No arts grants helped produce this show, just working five jobs and sheer determination.”
“The Fringe energises the city. Doing shows as a part of fringe confirms the fact that we a part of a strong, diverse, creative community. It provides scale. It’s wonderful.”
“I love doing the Fringe, this is my third time, but I think it’s still a little under the radar as far as the general population of Melbourne’s knowledge of it. That’s fine with me, because it makes it the perfect scene for me to do a show like Keeper. Those who do show up are definitely sussed up on what’s goin’ on. Heaps sussed.”
“It’s really, really cool. However, more often I just feel lucky to have been a part of something that so many people rate. I have to agree, its one of the best things on TV, because several programs aside, most of what’s on TV is pretty shitey. But anyway, I don’t pat myself too hard on the back, because like I said, I know that I am lucky to be a part of it, and basically I’m just thankful for it. Then other times, I just quietly think to myself, ‘Fuckballs of mercy, I’M THE SHIIIIIT!”
In her role as producer, O’Brien says that the main element was fortitude and, quite possibly, asking ‘Would you like fries with that?’
Obviously, Geary is an enthusiastic guy, and not surprisingly, his fervour extends not just to the show he’s performing in, but also to the Fringe Festival as a whole.
Despite his huge profile, Barker says that he loves doing events like Fringe, that the audiences he finds there are cleverer than most and that it is the perfect place to trial a new show.
And for anyone who’s just returned from the moon recently, Barker has a regular role in Flight Of The Concords, easily the best show on TV at the moment. Not surprisingly, he says this means he is the best person in the world.
“Adding the very different skills of escapology and mime to the mix are Mitchell [Jones], and Jaques [van Jaarsveld], who travelled from Johannesburg to join the show. From dramatic stunt falls, daring escapes, whimsical acrobatic theatrics and breathtaking aerials, there’s not a moment that won’t have your heart leaping or maybe breaking.”
of the improvisation a cut above. It’s a night full of risktaking on stage, full of successes and epic failure, it’s all part of the fun. I love the stakes and I love to play, it’s fantastic.”
The name Keeper Or Crapper refers to the possibility that some of these bits will go on to become part of my next comedy festival show, and some of them will get tossed straight into the shitter. But it will be fun and goofy and might be interesting to people if they enjoy seeing a comedian out of their comfort zone.”
“There is no way to answer this without sounding corny, but what the hell: Australia is like the big brother I never had. When all the kids in America teased me, Australia came to my defence and said, ‘Hey little guy, come on over here. We’ll listen to your silly little jokeys.’ Really? Aw gee! You’re the best, Land Down Under!”
While O’Brien, originally a national level gymnast, studied trapeze in Montreal, she says that the rest of the cast of Fallen bring other skills that are just as vital to the show.
“You name it, I’ve tried it. All manner of bribes. Still doesn’t stop me getting sent off stage when I swear at them. Go figure.”
THEATRESPORTS By Tony McMahon Consistently one of the most popular Fringe or Comedy Festival events, Theatresports is also the longest running improvisation comedy show in Melbourne. It’s no surprise, either, as a night out at Theatresports often involves not just comedy, but drama and – as the name suggests – some sport as well. For the uninitiated, cast member Jason Geary, who has been involved with Australia’s premiere Improvisation Company, Impro Melbourne, as performer, director and co-creator for ten years, and has more recently been seen on Thank God You’re Here, explains the basics. “Theatresports is competitive improvisation of the highest standard,” he says. “As an improviser, it’s an exciting show to be a part of. The pressure to perform, to put a score on the board is what drives the standard
In all seriousness, though, improvised comedy would have to be the most scary way imaginable to make a living, right up there with lion taming, or working for the public service. Geary disagrees, and says that it’s pooches that freak him out. “Scary?” says Geary, as if he has no idea what the hell Inpress is talking about. “It’s really not at all. I know that if I dry up onstage my team-mates are there to stop my free fall. It’s all very safe. I can think of plenty of other ways of making a living that scare the crap out of me. Dog grooming is one… terrifying.” When asked to nominate other performers besides himself that are likely to go through to the Grand Final, Geary is a little bit cagey, and perhaps one-sided. “Obviously [team] Ogmios will beat all comers. It doesn’t matter who we open a can of whoop ass on. They are going down. (Yeah, I can talk smack.) Seriously, any team could make it. The skills are so evenly matched; each round will be very close. Come down, pick a team, get passionate. You’ll have a great time every time.” WHAT: Theatresports WHERE & WHEN: Theatre Works, Sunday 20 September – Sunday 29 November (7.30 each Sunday)
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
Simmons says he’s extremely excited that his show is now part of The Fringe Festival, but that Melburnian punters need to get out and support it more. (Who does not want to mix nakedness with dairy products?)
my mates were taking too long to arrive at the event. I had to place a stage name. On it I wrote: The One Who Does Not Exist. It appeared the MC believed it to be a joke at first, but I did go up. I read my spoken word stuff with shaking hands and a great deal of nervousness. However, on getting off the stage, the audience appreciation blew me away. After that show I was approached by the MC who liked my spoken word stuff and invited me to other regular open mic events that happened around town. Since then, my onstage performance has come along in leaps and bounds and the spoken word stuff has turned into characters and costumes that express different aspects of my identity.” The Pedophile Terrorist… is the latest evolution of Barressi’s art. It’s a Fringe show in more ways than one, being about the outcast characters that are subjected to humiliation by those in positions of authority.
THE PEDOPHILE TERRORIST AND THE FIGHT ON BOX HILL By Baz McAlister Ah, springtime in Melbourne, and a young man’s thoughts turn to the Fringe – and to coming up with a fucking killer title for his show. And if there’s a show at this year’s Fringe that’s a dead cert to win the ‘most memorable title’ award, it’s this one. The Pedophile Terrorist And The Fight On Box Hill is the brainchild of The One Who Does Not Exist (but if he did exist, he’d be called Frank Barressi). “I’m a performance artist with over eight years experience,” Barressi says by way of introduction. “My first true taste of the performance stuff was on stage at an open mic event during the Adelaide Fringe of 1995. At that time I was quite nervous and most of
“The main thing that got me to put this show on was a need to perform,” Barressi says. “However, it was not merely a need to be seen in the limelight but more a desire to collaborate and workshop the many characters that I have developed over the past eight years into a role that appears to be fun, entertaining and quite a buzz. It’s also a kinda funny show, and I feel we all need to laugh as much as we can in this world, where madness really does appear to have taken its toll.” Barressi shares his mad world with people like controversial performance poet James Jackson, and Team Red, who provide the live soundtrack for this suburban satire played out through performance art, theatre and multimedia. It’s through collaborating with guys like these that Barressi gets his buzz on. “All artists have a need to tear out their inner soul and set free their buzz factor,” Barressi says. “If that buzz factor is not released the artist may as well not exist or could well be dead. Life for an artist who does not express their buzz factor is hell. Thus, every artist wishes to express their inner buzz factor to enjoy and share good times with others even if that is an audience who does not know them.” WHAT: The Pedophile Terrorist And The Fight On Box Hill WHERE & WHEN: 303 Bar Northcote, Tuesday 29 September (7pm)
“It’s amazing,” he says. “But I have to say it: Melbourne has to embrace it more. A fringe festival is exactly what is says: fringe. You can see strange performance art pieces, nudity with milk, installation pieces involving coat hangers, pinecones and body fluid; basically freaks.” Naturally, the burning question of how The Net validated Simmons as a human being is on this interviewer’s lips, but the funnyman is somewhat cagey about answering it.
SAM SIMMONS IN THE NET STARRING SANDRA BULLOCK By Tony McMahon Given its title, Sam Simmons In The Net Starring Sandra Bullock is a must-see show at this year’s Fringe for all fans of mediocre, mid-’90s blockbusters. But the sellout cult hit of this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival promises much more than a trip down commercial cinema’s memory lane. Simmons, star of Triple J and ABC TV’s The Urban Monkey, promises to reveal to audiences how the 1995 film The Net, cashing in on fear of the then new internet, validated him as a person, while also explaining that the show smells just a little bit like teen spirit. “It’s the first time I have written anything with a story/ narrative substance,” he says. “It’s a teenage romance at the core, a fractured suburban love story set in a food court. Nearly the entire hour is scored and I don’t stop. I’m dripping sweat by the end and it smells like being 17.”
And it’s being able to try out these kinds of various approaches that Akmal says is one of the best things about Fringe, as well as the fact less people are dumbing themselves down in front of the box.
Few people in the know would deny that Akmal Saleh, more commonly known during his long stand-up career and on his many television appearances as simply Akmal, is one of Australia’s true comedy treasures. This year’s Fringe Festival sees a new show, It’s Not My Fault, where the Sydney funnyman will read extracts from his much anticipated forthcoming book. Although it will contain all the usual elements concerned with writing about one’s own life, Akmal says that the best part of the whole deal is that he’s never really done anything like this before. “It’s a show that will contain stories from various parts of my life so far,” he says, “including migrating to Australia, my experience with the Coptic Orthodox Church, school life, discovering comedy and my family. This is a new challenge for me as it will not be a 06
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On that note, Inpress asks if there’s anything else he’d like to add. “No,” he says. “In fact, I’d like to retract everything I’ve said so far.” WHO: Akmal WHAT: It’s Not My Fault WHERE & WHEN: The Ballroom, Lithuanian Club, Friday 25 September – Saturday 10 October (9pm, excluding Mondays)
“I like the idea of a show set in a scout hall based on the plot line from Die Hard 2: Die Harder (the one on the plane), but I don’t know how to crash land a scout hall.” WHO: Sam Simmons WHAT: Sam Simmons In The Net Starring Sandra Bullock WHERE & WHEN: Main Theatre, Lithuanian Club, Wednesday 30 September – Sunday 4 October (8.45pm, 7.45 Sunday)
“Melbourne is the fashion capital of Australia, not only does it support the forms of popular fashion, it is also highly supportive of alternative subcultural fashion. Alternative fashion can be any form of fashion that is worn from various subcultures, however in Visage n Vice (VnV), we specialise in gothic, emo, romantic, rocker, metal, hippie, and touching lightly on some cyber, Lolita and burlesque styles.”
“There is comedy in the book,” he says. “But unlike writing for performance you don’t know if it is really funny. Well, not until someone has read it.”
By Tony McMahon
Simmons says he has no immediate plans for stage adaptations of other mid-’90s semi-blockbusters, but a certain Bruce Willis vehicle might get a guernsey.
For those who don’t know anything about it, Shields gives us a brief rundown of alternative culture in Melbourne.
Akmal says that the main difference between writing for performance and being an author is that writing for the stage involves almost immediate feedback.
“The religion of comedy is very clearly understood. Bad comics who have stolen other people’s material will spend all eternity at the Blacktown RSL [Western Sydney] performing to drunk audiences who’ve seen your act before and didn’t like it the first time. They are heckled by the audience, who are predominantly violent bikers yelling ‘Fuckin’ heard it before’, and on the delivery of every punch line there is a huge cheer from the back of the room as someone wins on the pokies.”
“The festival is huge. Two thousand plus performances a day, streets littered with flyers and broken dreams. I personally had an amazing virgin Edinburgh experience. Some people didn’t get it and others loved it. I had heaps of people come a second and third time, and without blowing trumpets too loudly, [I] have been meeting with the BBC regarding a telly series, which is too exciting for words, walking into the building that housed Benny Hill, The Young Ones, The Office, Time Trumpet, The Day Today… I think the UK is ready for an OZ suburban jerk.”
“Voltera are a dark industrial/rock band, fronted by a woman known as Jess. We thought that they would be a suitable act, as they are known for putting on quite a theatrical and avant garde show. Voltera are an impressive band and Jess does undermine the male cliché by being a woman in a hard band, in an industry filled with men. Undermining clichés is really what this event is all about. [It’s] showing you the alternative.”
“Having a festival provides the community with a welcome alternative to Australian Idol and The Farmer Wants A Wife. Being a part of the festival provides me with an audience that allows me to try something new and different, other than a stand-up comedy show.”
Simmons has just returned from The Edinburgh Fringe and says that the experience was, of course, amazing.
brings something truly fresh to the hard music scene, as well as fitting perfectly what it is this show is trying to do.
stand-up comedy show, therefore there is no pressure to deliver a joke every 30 seconds.”
As everyone knows, one of the foundations of our secular society is the separation of church and Inpress. As such, religion very rarely gets a mention in these venerable pages. When that religion happens to be comedy, however, those in the Bond Street corridors of power are willing to make an exception. Akmal opens up his spiritual self and paints a picture of the comic’s hell that makes Dante’s seem like a night at the Northcote Social Club in comparison.
“It’s a life lesson,” he says simply, obviously not wanting to give too much of the show away. “A riddle wrapped in a mediocre Sandra Bullock film.”
As mentioned, VnV Boudoir features both tribal belly dancing and metal grinding. For complete ignoramuses like your hapless Inpress scribe, Shields explains slowly what these are.
By Tony McMahon
“Tribal typically refers to American tribal style (ATS), this being a strong departure from the very flashy belly dance and back to something that has a rich and deeply organic feel, but is very much a fusion of Egyptian, North African, Spanish and Indian dance styles. True ATS is done in a group, or tribe, however soloists have emerged and created tribal fusions that do not require cues or tribes. This evolution has also created popular tribal fusions such as dark tribal and gothic tribal.
VnV Boudoir is a fashion show with a difference. A serious difference. “You won’t see stick thin models looking bored and walking in straight lines,” says creator Alice Shields. Given it features cabaret, tribal belly dancing, metal grinding and the best the local alternative fashion world has to offer, this comes as no surprise. And this performance is about so much more than just clothes; as Shields goes on to explain. “It’s a darkly themed event, punchy and fun with the focus on talented performers creating a mood and momentum to the local art clothing and accessory creations they are wearing. One of the other perks about VnV Boudoir is that if you don’t give a hoot about fashion, it’s filled to the brim with entertainment and visual eye candy and headed-up by a dynamic hard hitting musical act.” Talking of music, VnV Boudoir features a performance from Voltera, and Shields says that their lead singer
“Metal grinding or angle grinding provides a spectacular alternative to fire, with no naked flames and carefully directed sparks. It achieves a stunning effect. Angle grinders are used in conjunction with metal body plates to create a shower of sparks.” WHO: Voltera WHAT: VnV Boudoir WHERE & WHEN: Spanish Club, Saturday 3 October (8pm)
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As one of the longest running programmes in Fringe – this is Electric Shorts’ sixth year – Stamatakos is in a unique position to comment on the importance of the Festival, and intimates it is only at events like these that one can see such cutting-edge material. “Electric Shorts is proud to be involved with the Fringe Festival,” he says. “Because the films are not mainstream and part of that mediocrity that comes with it. The films are truly on the fringe; exciting, innovative, and ahead of their time.” Electric Shorts’ focus on self-funded films in a culture where certain elements of the industry wouldn’t break wind without Government funding can only be a good thing, and Stamatakos says this is a large part of the reason the festival came into being in the first place.
ELECTRIC SHORTS By Tony McMahon Now in its sixth year at Fringe, Electric Shorts is a program of fully independent, self-funded short films that promises the kind of cinema you should, but are decidedly not, seeing anywhere else. If you think that Quentin Tarantino makes inventive films and is not simply riffing off others’ work, or that Juno is not anti-abortion, Electric Shorts might have a thing or two to teach. And it’s probably worth mentioning this is an entirely free event, and those attending will truly be supporting these filmmakers. Festival director Jim Stamatakos says that the main aim of Electric Shorts is simply to get this stuff out there, and to facilitate a discourse, no doubt with a refreshment or two thrown in afterwards. “Electric Shorts was essentially created as a platform for true independent filmmakers to have their films shown to an enthusiastic, passionate, and willing group of cinephiles. After the screenings a discussion can be had between the artist and the public,” he says.
“I believe films that have been funded publicly or privately have organizations behind them that can help them get promotion or screenings, either through connections or funds. The self-funded filmmaker has to do it all on his own and doesn’t have these privileges. Electric Shorts was created to help these self-funded filmmakers.” In a multiplex-oriented, market-driven and star vehicle film culture, it’s arguable that even ‘independent’ films are playing it way too safe. Where are this generation’s Godards? Or Fassbinders? It’s a pretty safe bet that, were they to emerge, they would do so from something like Electric Shorts. Stamatakos gives his own version of why films so rarely compel, entertain and shock. “Because films are too safe,” he says. “They don’t go far enough, they don’t push boundaries, and that’s a result of not being truly independent. When you’re not truly independent, you, to a certain extent, work for others, thus the creative process is compromised and made safer.”
MAN 40 SEEKS WOMAN WITH GOOD LEGS / BILLIE By Tony McMahon Man 40 Seeks Woman With Good Legs and Billie is a double bill of interrelated works inspired by Tim Winton’s 1994 novel The Riders. “These two works illustrate my fascination with beauty and suffering,” says writer/performer Michelle St Anne. “Although made at different times of the year at VCA, they have very much become companion pieces.” St Anne goes on to explain that it is not just Winton who has inspired her.
“Everyone’s highlight will be different. I’ll leave that to the Electric Shorts audience to decide.”
“Man 40… [is] a large ensemble work, dealing with the epic, the landscape of abandonment and betrayal. It opens with a parade of women circling the two Scully [Winton’s protagonist in the novel] characters, who are at a loss of why Jennifer left. Inspired by works of Pina Bausch, Robert Wilson and LePage, Billie on the other hand is about the domestic. The theatre shrinks down and the world becomes about the intimate, the personal, telling a tale of a young girl who has been left behind. Here I use composition methods of minimalist composer Steve Reich, adapting his music into text and image.”
WHAT: Electric Shorts WHERE & WHEN: LOOP Space and Bar, Wednesday 7 October (7.30pm)
St Anne makes the important point that the Fringe Festival is a great way for a southern city, for example, to thumb its nose at a pretentious northern neighbour.
When it comes to nominating a highlight of this year’s program, Stamatakos is ether exceedingly diplomatic or – more likely – has trouble choosing between what is undoubtedly a high quality selection.
“Fringe festivals are really exciting. Anyone can put on a show so you get some really cool weird stuff. Also you get some really horrible weird stuff. They are important to encourage new ideas, or packages of old ideas,” he says with a cough.
By Tony McMahon After three triumphant years selling out shows and leaving audiences with stained trousers at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Josh Thomas has created a Best Of show, Things That I Have Said Before, for this year’s Fringe. Thomas won the Raw Comedy competition in 2005 and the coveted Best Newcomer award at Melbourne two years later. In the tradition of bands releasing Best Of albums, Thomas will also be… yes, releasing an album, which means, of course, punters who see this show will have the opportunity to achieve immortality by shouting out something rude or interesting enough to make it onto the record. What more motivation could one reasonably ask? In explaining his theory on the concept of compilations in general, Thomas is, well, pretty straightforward. “I am doing some of my favourite anecdotes from my last three solo shows,” he says. “And recording them to make an album.” In a slightly more expansive mood, Thomas explains that the best thing about festivals like Fringe is that you get to see stuff you wouldn’t see anywhere else. Be warned though, he adds, this is not always a good thing. 08
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
“It’s all I really learnt how to do at high-school,” he quips. As befits a rising star of Thomas’ stature, he has made all-conquering trips recently to Festivals such as Edinburgh and Montreal. Despite being the cities where Trainspotting and Jesus Of Montreal, respectively, were set, it seems as if gigging there would be old hat if it weren’t for the other comics. “Performing at those festivals isn’t that much more exciting then performing at home but you get to watch so many great comedians. Discovering a new artist you love is the best and you get to do that, like, three times a day at festivals like that.” Is there anything Thomas would like to add? “I love you.” Awww. WHO: Josh Thomas WHAT: Things That I Have Said Before WHERE & WHEN: Lithuanian Club, Tuesday 6 October to Saturday 10 October (8.45pm)
“The Riders has a lot of space in it. Meaning, if you read it at the pace of Scully you miss Winton’s clues. That is the frustration of the book. Winton’s world bounced around in me for about a year until it manifested itself into these two works. It wasn’t that I looked to adapt a book or even adapt The Riders. It was more like I was compelled to make something in response to the book. Especially with Man 40…, it was almost like I was lead by something else when I made it. I think that is why it has such a haunting quality.” It seems that both these works are interested in the spaces between things, the interstices. St Anne seems quite excited when Inpress mentions it. “Aaahhhh,” she says, as if to indicate a nail, banged well and truly on the head. “It presents the endless possibilities and gives me a platform for dreaming, my favourite place. Although I am not into lurking. No lurking in my work.” WHAT: Man 40 Seeks Woman With Good Legs/Billie WHERE & WHEN: fortyfivedownstairs, Wednesday 7 October – Sunday 11 October (7.30pm; 8.30pm, Sunday 4.30pm; 5.30pm)
But the show must go on, as they say, and Rodger says he is looking forward to letting Barrington and his absurd coterie of special guest characters loose on Fringe audiences, following a successful stint at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival where he debuted his full-length show.
“Ha. I am not sure people are so familiar with me that they have favourite bits? I’m not sure. Do you think people will complain? What if people complain? Oh no. I hadn’t thought of this. This is going to be a disaster,” Thomas says. Renowned for many things, Thomas’ most famous trait is undoubtedly his preternatural ability to talk about his genitals in front of large crowds of people. Education Revolution be damned, he says, Kev and Julia are flogging a dead horse, there’s nothing at all wrong with the state of our schools.
Despite his terrible endings, Winton is undeniably one of Australia’s finest writers. St Anne says it his sense of space and his depiction of a world that compelled her to write these works.
“It’s a second-hand shop in Ballarat and I just liked the name so I thought I would use it for a show,” he says. “Obviously I hadn’t heard the news because I live in Melbourne now and registration for the show was 12 months ago or something so there wasn’t much I could do. I feel kind of bad about it.”
Given this is a Best Of show, Inpress asks if Thomas thinks he might get people complaining that their favourite parts weren’t included? Unfortunately, this seems to set off a conniption of some kind in the comedian, and punters would perhaps be advised to check that Things I Have Said Before has not been cancelled.
“It’s very exciting to be involved with an energy that feels so much bigger than yourself or your work. Fringe Festivals are a beautiful way for a city to show off. Not only their aesthetic and works, but the ideology and sentiment of a city. Hey, I’m from Sydney. We can’t even be bothered having a fringe festival. Maybe don’t print that.”
CHARLES BARRINGTON IN JOYCE’S JUNKATIQUE By Toby Walker Charles Barrington, who among other things is an actor, writer, director, beekeeper and jam enthusiast, is a raconteur entirely at ease with telling tall tales involving the rich and famous who have crossed his illustrious path. But Barrington’s creator, 27-year-old comedian Andy Rodger, is far less comfortable in his own skin when talk turns to the title of his new Fringe Festival show, Joyce’s Junkatique. At home in Collingwood a few weeks ago, Rodger discovered via Facebook messages from friends in his former hometown of Ballarat that the popular elderly owner of the second-hand shop from which he had borrowed the name for his show had passed away. Rodger was reluctant to publicly discuss the unfortunate timing of events but Inpress didn’t want him to come out looking like a heartless prick either.
Rodger was recently named joint runner-up in this year’s Raw Comedy competition. Earning the penultimate position in the competition that has served as the launching pad for so many talented Australian comics was a huge surprise to Rodger, who had decided to ditch the setup/punchline approach he had taken to Raw in previous years. Unveiling Barrington for the first time paid off, and as one online forum poster wrote: “great to see him getting through by getting weirder.” “I don’t know if that’s true actually,” Rodger laughs. “I think if anything I was less weird because the first year I did [Raw] I hadn’t done any stand-up at all or seen anything live so it was really unstructured and strange. Then I did [Raw] last year and it was more straight stand-up, a bit more clichéd I guess. I probably wasn’t honest with myself and was just trying to fit into everyone else’s idea of what stand-up was. Doing the characters worked for me I think because it was more true to my own sense of humour. It’s kind of ironic that people can tell if you’re not natural at something and I never had any punchlines anyway but funnily enough I’m more comfortable being someone else. Maybe the subject material is getting weirder though.” With Rodger’s one-man show inviting to the stage the likes of Gino ‘Great’ Gonzales, former wrestling champion turned children’s author; Germany’s own Da Amazing Mobius, a magician with no sense of humour and Fred Pascal, French existential philosopher turned stand-up comedian, audiences can expect Barrington’s anecdotal flights of fancy will be anything but banal. WHO: Andy Rodger WHAT: Charles Barrington in Joyce’s Junkatique WHERE & WHEN: Trades Hall, The Evatt Room, Tuesday 29 September to Friday 9 October (8pm, not Mondays)
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
This is a band apart, if you will; a band notorious in their hometown of Brisbane for their onstage antics, fire and passion. “It’s primal,” says Stavanger, “but it’s not cheap art. There’s a lot of spirit and heart, as well as groin, in what we do. That’s what makes it sexy – it’s not just about sex, it’s about the whole, and sex within that whole.” “That’s right,” Staniford adds. “Sex is sweat and laughter and a bit of fear, too.” Staniford confesses to having felt fear onstage before, but not because of stage fright – more so because she never knows what the unpredictable Ghostboy is going to do next.
GHOSTBOY WITH GOLDEN VIRTUES By Baz McAlister “Cabaret-punk-musical, is the best way to describe it – and sort of free psychotherapy,” purrs David Stavanger, poet and slam-master and the man who occasionally rents his skin out to a steamy, libidinous, uninhibited and mercurial creature called Ghostboy. “I like to call it ‘art-rock’,” puts in siren-voiced chanteuse Skye Staniford, one of the sultry Golden Virtues. The two are talking about their duo of Fringe shows, Swallow and Exit – outrageous stabs of razor-sharp rock’n’roll debauchery right to the brain. Right from the start, Stavanger and Staniford are keen to stress the psychosexual nature of the shows. “Swallow, in particular, contains a very strong sexual element,” he says. “It’s all about asking an audience to swallow something they’ve never seen before… and we do more than invite them. We’re probably gonna lock the back door and give them art-rock medicine. Teach them it’s okay to swallow.” Ghostboy With Golden Virtues are going to be checking audience inhibitions at the door during Fringe.
“I’d be clenching my butt cheeks going, ‘Oh no, don’t go up to those people… Oh no, he’s on their table. Oh no, he’s kissing that 70-year-old woman. Oh, there he goes’,” she laughs.
“Ghostboy comes out of me and takes the wheel,” Stavanger says of his frequently-unleashed alter ego. “I tried to divorce him once, but you know, some lovers are stitched to your skin, they’re tattoos. He’s renting my kidney. And the world needs Ghostboy as it needs Golden Virtues. And since Ghostboy has now found a full-time marriage with Golden Virtues, he comes out in that context, they get to all make love onstage in a way that few bands would ever dare, and I get to go along still being a poet and vaguely respectable.”
By Tony McMahon
“Vaguely being the operative word,” Staniford quips. This Fringe, the seductive band will be inviting you to strap in and join them for an hour of riotous, intimate cabaret and ‘spoken weird’ debauchery, during which no audience member is safe from being tied to a chair and fed cupcakes. This is art rock for the brave, the uninhibited and the sexy. “Come into our bedroom, come into our heart chambers… it really is about that spirit of ‘everything is allowed’,” Stavanger says. “It’s an anti-airbrush approach to art,” Staniford adds. “It’s warts-and-all, and it’s about how exquisite wartsand-all can actually be.” WHO: Ghostboy With Golden Virtues WHAT: Swallow And Exit WHERE & WHEN: Festival Hub Main Theatre Lithuanian Club, Saturday 26 September to Thursday 1 October (10pm; 9pm Sunday; not Monday)
Billed as a sharp and fast, 1930s-style crime caper, Crook’Ed is new and audacious theatre company Heist Productions’ contribution to this year’s Fringe. Co-writer/director Alex Talamo throws the references out hard and fast when describing the show, and Inpress almost expects him to end by saying ‘got it, Mac?’ “It’s a classic crime caper,” he says. “Five criminals, two cops, one snitch, with a twist. Think The Untouchables meets The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, only better. The story follows five legendary criminals as they attempt the greatest heist in history. It’s a fast-paced screwball comedy, written and staged to mimic the style of classic period comedies like His Girl Friday and Singin’ In The Rain. It’s punchy and sharp, using the stylised language of cinema to jump from one scene to the next with the pace and energy of live theatre. We’ve managed to work in three big show-stopping scenes that are performed to music. We stop short of actually breaking into song, but think ‘Broadway musical spectacular’ and you’re getting close.” Interestingly, Talamo says Crook’Ed is, in part, a kind of oppositional reaction to the direction he sees new theatre heading in these days. “Funding bodies place emphasis on innovation and originality, and that is often interpreted as a need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to narrative construction. There is a definite trend towards
Phillips: It gets people away from what they see day to day. They suspend disbelief, which allows them to have a little fun and experiment with some of our strange ideas.
Lee: It was just what came out. The story kinda dictated the writing and that’s just how it started.
By Tony McMahon A political satire disguised as a children’s story set in medieval England, featuring Contiki tours and a Guild Of Differing Opinion, Jeremiah is the latest work from up and coming comedy theatre company Double Pump Producement. Inpress caught up with cast members Dylan Watson, Jordan Lee and Amos Phillips. Inpress: Why the decision to set the play in feudal times? Watson: It didn’t really begin that way – we began with the idea of a witch hunter in a modern world but it slowly changed and as we got a better idea of what we really wanted it to be about, it just made sense to set it in feudal times. Lee: It shows how the tactics and techniques of politics really haven’t changed for a long time. It’s also great for a comedic format because it allows you to add the ham needed to portray a message. It opens things up comedically. 12
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
Watson: Most of the comedy we watch is Britcom. We just find that more engaging, especially stuff like Snuff Box, Brass Eye, The Day Today… Lee: I personally trust the intelligence of British humour more than American. There’s more bravery to it, it tends to tackle more important issues. To me, American humour doesn’t come from an intelligent place. Is Jeremiah like your last show, A Son Of Your Own? Lee: This one is better. I can feel it in my waters! WHAT: Jeremiah WHERE & WHEN: Rehearsal Room, North Melbourne Town Hall, Friday 25 September – Friday 2 October (6.30pm, 5.30pm Sunday); The Loft Lithuanian Club, Saturday 3 October – Saturday 10 October (10.30pm, 9.30pm Sunday)
And talking of doing anything… “We are also available to solve mysteries,” says Talamo. “Expressions of interest can be sent to our office at 221 B Baker Street, Chinatown, in 1950s Detroit. Our rate is ten dollars a day. Plus expenses.” WHAT: Crook’Ed WHERE & WHEN: St Martins Youth Arts Centre, Wednesday 23 September – Saturday 26 October (7pm)
Runtime Error was originally devised to be a one-off black-light theatre corporate gig until Minniti began collaborating with other performers and adding new parts to the show. Inspiration for the show’s story came later in the form of a book brought home by Minniti’s 15-year-old brother. Gillian Rubinstein’s Space Demons, about a group of children who enter a video game world through a game cartridge (remember them?), was a massive hit with teens in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and is also the basic premise of Runtime Error, which is about a boy who is sucked into his computer during an electrical storm.
Lee: There was a lot of research that went into this show and when you do this kind of research, you see how extremely and insanely the people who run this world live. So really the play isn’t that much of a stretch.
Phillips: We didn’t want to recreate the Holy Grail, or…
“Movies are in different places in the video-store for a reason, you know. Genre stories are the stories we like watching and the stories we like making. They present accessible and familiar narratives that audiences readily understand and are keen to see, and that’s exactly what we want: to make plays people want to see, that are as familiar as the last good Bond film and as digestible as chicken soup. And if we can blow stuff up in the process, that’s even better: we like to keep things exciting. Ultimately we believe there’s nothing you can do in film which you can’t do in theatre. Ever seen Transformers on stage? Neither have we. But we’d like to.”
“We spent a good four or five months in a room that was basically a tanning salon trying to work out what effects looked right. It took a while and I’ve got a hell of tan from being in the dark room.”
Phillips: I think we highlight the message well by starting with something that is relevant and taking it to its most extreme conclusion, which is where the comedy comes in, while giving attention to the slightly less crazy reality that we’re drawing inspiration from.
Talamo says that Heist Productions’ interest in genre pieces comes from an ‘anything you can do…’ attitude, and that punters should watch out for stage adaptations of Michael Bay films.
move through space – that are really convincing illusions,” he says.
Sounds like there might be some resonances for modern punters to take away? Lee: There is a heavy message underneath if you wanna see it, but you add some ham onto that and it appeals to everyone. The hardcore cynic or the guy that’s just after a good time and doesn’t want his buzz killed.
Sounds like there’s a bit of a Monty Python influence there. Lee: You can’t deny Monty Python’s influence on our comedy. I find it more intelligent than say American humour, but it wasn’t intentional.
producing theatre exclusively for the ‘theatre elite’; this idea that theatre must in some way be ‘worthy’, or provide social commentary, or political perspective. For this reason, contemporary theatre can be an incredibly alienating experience. Artists these days are afraid to simply tell a story, and what a lot of people forget is that a good story contains everything that makes theatre ‘worthy’. And then some.”
“In a world where the rules of physics do not apply, will he make it back to reality or forever be caught in a world of non-existence?”
RUNTIME ERROR By Toby Walker Runtime Error director Frank Minniti may have earned a tan to rival that of perpetually tandoorishaded Chanel boss Karl Lagerfeld but Europe’s red carpets are a world away from the dimly lit garage Minniti and the After Dark Theatre crew used to start putting together their Fringe Festival debut. A mix of circus performance, puppetry and innovative projection, sound and lighting, Runtime Error’s visual stunts and physical feats are enhanced with black-light theatre which, as Minniti explains, cloaks the stage in darkness and uses a UV light that reacts on certain parts of costumes, make-up and props. “With [black-light theatre] you can create a lot of amazing effects – like making an object appear to
Back to our just as frustrating reality, Runtime Error and the After Dark Theatre itself struggled with existence last year when those originally lined up to fund the show pulled out. “Basically the company almost went to rest,” Minitti explains. “My business partner pulled out and I was left with half a show. So I started doing corporate gigs to raise money to help put on the show.” With a number of After Dark’s performers also graduates of the National Institute of Circus Arts, Minniti at least had talent to call on when booking acts for the business world. Hiring circus acts to entertain would-be clients over a cocktail at the casino may seem an uncommon request from the corporate world but Minniti says there is growing demand among the suits for those kind of performances. It has been enough to help Runtime Error reboot in time for the Fringe Festival. “The show has now been two years coming but I think the extra time spent on it has made it a lot better.” WHAT: Runtime Error WHERE & WHEN: Theatre Works, Wednesday 23 September – Saturday 3 October (8pm)
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
Hillman-Stolz is 27 now, or at least her character in Belle’s Paradise is, an age commonly associated with a bit of a life stock-take. Apparently, this has something to do with that big planet with all the rings around it. “You enter ‘Saturn returns’ at 27,” says Hillman-Stolz. “It lasts, generally, for three years. Saturn, apparently, turns everything upside down and you begin to question everything in your life. Saturn returns every 27 years and the questions you haven’t answered at 27 will be brought up again at 54. It’s just a theory, but one of those spookily on the money type theories.” One of the ‘messages’ of Belle’s Paradise is that it’s not all that necessary to grow up, a message no doubt appealing to 40-something boys and girls like this writer everywhere. Hillman-Stolz says it’s all about trading in idealism for perspective.
BELLE’S PARADISE By Tony McMahon Belle’s Paradise is a semi-autobiographical solo show from ex-Neighbours writer Sarah Hillman-Stolz exploring notions of love and life across the passage of time. Originally written when she was a teenager and rediscovered in a box as she neared 30, Hillman-Stolz says that Belle’s Paradise is all about learning to cope with change. “It’s a story of accepting who you were and through that finding who you are. The original Belle’s Paradise – the one I wrote when I was 18 – is quite an overly earnest play about romantic notions of love being shattered and learning how to be ok with that.”
“There’s an idealism when we’re young, at least that’s how it was for me. Granted it’s a very white middle class experience of being young. I’m sure the boy soldiers of Sudan may have different views on it. However, this is my story and I’m white and middle class – I’ll get over the guilt now. But even as a grumpy teenager there was always hope for something: a great career, a great romance. I had an insatiable enthusiasm for potential and lived in my imagined future more often than in the world that was going on around me. As I grew older it became clear that there were things I may never get to do – being a Rockette at the Radio City Music Hall for example is looking like a slim to nil chance. There’s something great and real and grounded in gaining perspective.” Naturally, I can’t let Hillman-Stolz go without asking her what it was like writing for Neighbours. “Dear God where do I start? It was interesting. Let’s be clear first that I wasn’t writing scripts, I was a storyliner, which meant that me and four others plotted that show each week in-house. So no wake-up-at-10-rollout-of-bed-in-PJs-freelancing for me. Storylining is a harrowing, self-confidence depleting, all consuming, constantly terrifying, exhilarating, hilarious, energetic and on rare occasions an inspiring experience. It’s an experience I’m honoured to have had but happy to be out of now.” WHO: Sarah Hillman-Stolz WHAT: Belle’s Paradise WHERE & WHEN: Evatt Room, Tuesday 29 September – Saturday 10 October (9.15pm)
SKETCH THE RHYME
created a bunch of games that structure the show and one of the games we’ve got is called Guess The Topic, which is a bit like Pictionary. The artists and audience have a topic and the rappers have to guess what it is from what the artists are drawing.”
By Tony McMahon
Sketch The Rhyme began as a Sydney phenomenon, but for this trip down south, Rapaport and the rest of the crew are calling in some local talent.
Boasting perhaps the most eclectic elements of any show at this year’s Fringe, Sketch The Rhyme is improvised visual art in a theatrical environment, with hip-hop. Oh, and there’s a touch of Mr. Squiggle and Pictionary, as well. Sketch The Rhyme’s creator, Joel Rapaport, is a music teacher, guitar player and MC for The Phonies, has his own solo project Rapaport, and says that the show makes perfect sense when you think about it.
“We’ve got some great MCs from Melbourne that are gonna step and take part in the games with us. Mantra and 1/6 from Illzilla are just two amazing lyricists, Julez, dragonfly and Hugo were involved in the show last time we were in Melbourne, and they have a real theatrical approach to hip hop which is kinda like how we see ourselves. It’s all just good fun to freestyle with these artists that I really admire.”
“It’s actually not that weird. When I used to rap with mates, at times we’d run out of ideas and would pull out things like magazines or old record covers and start rapping about whatever was in the picture. I had a bunch of artist mates and mentioned to them it might be cool to freestyle while they were drawing and that’s basically how it started. The show just grew out of the rappers and artists just trying out different ideas and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Believe me, we’ve tried hundreds of things and we’ve found about five or six different games that actually work.”
Sketch The Rhyme also features lots of audience participation, but Rapaport assures us it’s very much the friendly kind.
Everyone at Inpress is a huge Pictionary fan, so naturally we want to know how that comes in. “Well, it’s basically a live freestyle show with visual artists and MCs drawing and rapping over a live band. We’ve
“Basically, we ask the audience to write down topics and other things on paper at the start of the show and we use what they’ve given us as part of the games that we already have. It makes it fun for the audience because they know they were part of the show. We also need the crowd tell us when we get the right topic. They get all loud and make heaps of noise and it lets us know we’re still being wanted.” WHAT: Sketch The Rhyme WHERE & WHEN: The Ballroom, Lithuanian Club, Friday 25 September – Friday 2 October (7.45pm, 6.45 Sunday) that we should forget about the wag-tailed, water-crested whatever and concentrate on saving a real icon. “Growing up in the late ‘80s the local milk bar was a bit like a dream,” he says. “You’d walk in, get a sugar fix or the thrill of getting the footy card you need, and leave in a much happier state. These days, with big chains and shopping centres within a seven km radius of each other, the local milk bar is getting grubbier by the year. Some milk bars around the suburbs look like a war zones. These places were icons and staples in the ‘80s, when I was growing up. Now they’re an endangered species.”
JESUS: ACCORDING TO LUKE So, Robert Turnbull of The Backyard Bard – what’s this show all about? “The show takes passages word-for-word from the beginning to the end of Luke’s Gospel. Using merely a chair and two milk crates, I recreate each scene and character using the powerful craft of storytelling. The Gospel Of Luke was written in the second half of the first century by a doctor. His account presents a radical Jesus, despised for his scandalous social behaviour and celebrated by outsiders and the destitute. Told with humour, passion and even Scottish angels, Jesus: According To Luke will appeal to both the Homer Simpsons and the Ned Flanders among us.”
THE BOOK OF REVELATION
You have one chance to convince Kevin Rudd to make stimulus payments a yearly bonus. What do you do? “I’d perform Jesus’s Sermon On The Mount from Luke 6 (from Jesus: According To Luke). I performed this passage in the Great Hall of Parliament House when Kevin Rudd launched the Poverty And Justice Bible published by World Vision and the Bible Society. Sadly due to a last minute scheduling issue, both Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull needed to leave the event before my performance.” WHO: Robert Turnbull
WHO: Robert Turnbull
WHAT: Jesus: According To Luke
WHAT: The Book Of Revelation
WHERE & WHEN: James Squire Brewhouse Sunday 4 October, 10.30am and 6pm. Free show.
WHERE & WHEN: St Jude’s Church Hall Saturday 26 September to Tuesday 29 September (7.30pm)
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
“I was living in Fitzroy North just off St. Georges road, and I’d often find myself with a burning desire for a rainbow Paddlepop. I have many vices, but that is certainly my worst. There was a two-week period where I really came to rely on my local milk bar for my rainbow Paddlepop fix. So the choice of the milk bar setting seemed a very natural one, because it’s a perfect symbol of something that can be so rewarding, while also seeming to be disappearing before our eyes. The cast and crew are all spending time canvassing their local milk bars to help add to the mood of the performance. Although it is difficult to sing when you have a White Knight in your mouth, or so I’m told.”
So who are you and what do you do? “I’m Robert Turnbull (no known relation to Malcolm) and I’m a full-time performer with The Backyard Bard. It began as a Shakespeare Theatre company wanting to make Shakespeare accessible for modern audiences which then morphed into a predominantly biblical storytelling theatre company, where we perform sections of the Bible word-for-word. People think of the Bible in a similar way to Shakespeare: old and hard to understand – but if you can present either of them in a way that makes sense, they’re both profoundly moving.” What’s your show all about, then? “The show is my performance of the The Book of Revelation from the Bible, word-for-word in its entirety. Everyone has heard of ‘The Four Horsemen’, ‘666’ and ‘Armageddon’ – now they have the chance to hear this infamous prophecy for themselves. It’s an epic feat of memory; the production is in the tradition of a bygone culture of storytelling, rarely given expression in the west today. The book itself has been esteemed, despised or ignored for almost two millennia and remains the most controversial book of the Bible. Is it the ravings of a lunatic? Are there insights into the modern geopolitical world hidden within it? Or does it reveal something else entirely?”
Gillard says that the inspiration for the show came from that most common of muses, the rainbow Paddlepop.
Talking of singing, Love In The Time Of Milk Bars is billed as a musical, but Gillard says it will not be one in the strictest sense.
LOVE IN THE TIME OF MILK BARS By Tony McMahon With a title like Love In The Time Of Milk Bars, how could you not want to see this show? When it turns out that the plot revolves around the main character, Billy MacNeal, and his quest to marry Pamela Anderson in order to save his milk bar, the deal is even more decidedly done and dusted. Author Lucas J Gillard says
“We don’t follow the conventional musical genre,” he says. “We use improvised songs – written lyrics with improvised tunes and improvised instruments, which allows the actors more freedom in the way they can shape each scene and relate to the other characters.” When it comes to reminiscing about what was best about milk bars, Gillard dreamily recounts some of his favourite politically incorrect lollies. “Big Boss Cigars with the end lit,” he says in a voice that is almost a sigh. “Now I ate Big Boss Cigars with the end lit as a kid and have never smoked an actual cigar in my life. I also smoked Fags as a child, so they were very innocent times… Of all the culturally insensitive sweets on the market the Redskin was the most flavoursome.” WHAT: Love In The Time Of Milk Bars WHERE & WHEN: Northcote Town Hall, Wednesday 7 October – Sunday 11 October (9.30pm)
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
“Now retired from years traipsing the red-light districts of the world, our protagonist muses over a life of romance-infused eroticism. Foul-mouthed, sharptongued, fast-talking and very funny, our protagonist is sexy, darkly humorous and magically entertaining.
power ballad, and there’s a couple of upbeat group numbers thrown in to keep the toes kicking.” For those of us who can’t even remember the last time we smiled at Centrelink, Harry says that, actually, the comic possibilities are pretty infinite.
“[The show is] part stand-up, part storytelling, part cabaret, part musical, part character study, part poetry. When The Sex Is Gone is an arousing and unique theatre experience.”
“Adam Willson, who wrote the play, has taken a wellknown scenario perceived as negative and put it in a context of fun and celebration. He’s then thrown in a few likeable characters to interrelate, and found that comic possibilities were endless. Specific examples are the long term unemployed bogan who flitters about the stage, reminiscing about how life on the dole was so easy in the ‘80s. Then there’s the highly motivated Centrelink Officer lamenting that she always wanted to be a big star herself and breaks out into a Broadway number, equipped with hats and canes.”
Many shows promise to make us laugh, many to make us cry. Some even go so far as to claim they will make us do both. When The Sex Is Gone, however, is the first show in the history of the theatre that promises to do both at the same time, to make us craugh. “Craughing is awesome,” says Bradson. “I craugh all the time. Why just laugh? Or just cry? Do it all at once. It’s like hugging or kissing. How much better to do it all at once. The show will surely make people craugh. I’m craughing just thinking about it.”
Despite Centrelink’s reputation as a torture chamber of bureaucratic misery for artist types, Harry points out that it is, in fact, something of an alternative Arts Council, and says we often don’t pay it enough respect.
As mentioned above, When The Sex Is Gone is also a musical. In discussing this aspect, Bradson almost namechecks an old Grace Jones album, and says that there’s only one reviewer that really matters.
WHEN THE SEX IS GONE By Tony McMahon No, When The Sex Is Gone is not the long-awaited autobiography of your faithful reporter. It is, in fact, a one-man Fringe comedy musical about Charlie Martini and Alistair Estaire, a stripper and a boxer inhabiting the same body, living the one life, sort of. Writer and performer Tommy Bradson explains. “What would you do, if you were born with both a gun and a holster resting quietly between your legs? How would you see the world? How would you be seen by the world? How would you make your way in the world? A world driven solely by desire. When The Sex Is Gone is a portrait of a cherry-ripe, splitperson hermaphrodite with the sex-drive of a teenage Casanova.
“The songs are all original works inspired by or derived from Charlie and Alistair’s lives. Songs they have heard in the past, songs they have written themselves, songs sung by dirty sailors and songs from the heart. Composed by Jacqueline Morton, who plays Boris, an extraordinary pianist and back-up vocalist, the songs are a mix of glam rock, dirty jazz, smokey blues, disco and inspirational anthems. We are slaves to the melody. My mum listened to one and said, ‘It started out nice, but then it got a bit weird.’ That’s the best review I could hope for.” Some of the song titles are interesting, to say the least. I Can’t Fuck Myself So Don’t Tell Me To in particular sounds like a real showstopper. “[It] is a response to the ignorance of the everyman; a bluesy ‘fuck you’ to the close-minded. A song for anyone who’s been ridiculed for being a little different.” WHO: Tommy Bradson WHAT: When The Sex Is Gone WHERE & WHEN: Dog’s Bar, Tuesday 6 October – Saturday 10 October (9.30pm)
CENTRELINK THE MUSICAL By Tony McMahon Judging shows at this year’s Fringe by their titles alone, Centrelink The Musical would clearly rate as a must see. But as actor Rohan Harry explains the details of the production, Centrelink The Musical moves from ‘must see’ category to ‘not to be missed on any account’. “The story line is built around five main characters,” says Harry. “Each with their own agenda for being there. As the characters talk amongst themselves and share their own stories of self-loathing and frustration, they individually break out into hilarious dreamlike song and dance sequences. Then we are constantly drawn back into the reality of the dole queue where the story is continued from there. Each character has their own
“Hash is a bad idea for so many reasons,” she says. “In my personal experience it was because I equated the strength of the hash and its potential effect on me, proportionate to its strength of flavour. My thinking was: if I can’t taste it I’m not going to get wasted, right? This is wrong. This is very, very wrong. My thing against Martin Lawrence is that he is an impostor, of comedy and African-Americans. He impersonates how he thinks black people should act and what he thinks is funny. Both of these are erroneous. He is a vacuum on screen, sucking up any talent around him, filtering it into visual amnesia; making everything he does just so forgettable.” The subject on one of Ward’s essays is her Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Surprisingly, she has gotten flak in the past for airing the subject, and neither she, not this writer, can quite work out what the problem is.
FELICITY WARD READS FROM THE BOOK OF MORON By Tony McMahon “The show is a collection of stories and essays about what happens when you’re a moron,” says Felicity Ward, winner of last year’s Most Outstanding Newcomer Award at Fringe, talking about her new show, Felicity Ward Reads From The Book of Moron. “Couch that moron in a setting of cravats and pipes and Winchester chairs and a trusty dog and it’s moron versus pretension,” she goes on. “The perfect battle. Who knew that essays could be so gladiatorial?” Felicity Ward Reads From The Book Of Moron promises to reveal why hash is such a bad idea, why Martin Lawrence is such an arse clown and why Ward will never again go to a poetry night. Of course, the poetry thing is self-explanatory, but Ward reveals some interesting things about the other two. 16
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
“I don’t make the rules Tony, but I am happy to break them if that’s what needs to happen. In 2009, a lady should be able to read out an essay dedicated to her stool and not be ashamed. IBS is kind of like a secret society; I’ve been emailed and approached, clandestinely, at gigs, by women and men, eyes cast downward, whispering words like ‘That happened to me too’. Maybe I’m stumbling onto a cause far greater than that of an essay show? Maybe I’m just writing about my bottom. You decide.” Ward’s offsider in the show is none other than the inimitable David Quirk, playing the role of a dog named Dan Aykroyd. She refuses to elaborate on his role, but does give us a juicy hint. “That will remain somewhat of a mystery. However I will use the words: ‘muscles’ and ‘serenade’ and let you do the rest.” And, thankfully, Felicity Ward Reads From The Book of Moron will contain bad language. “Despite its jaunty, early time slot there will still be swearing as I am prone to it, like ringworm. There will also be a soundtrack. And some choose-your-ownadventure stylings. This is going to be fun. I can’t wait to see you there.” WHO: Felicity Ward WHAT: Felicity Ward Reads From The Book of Moron WHERE & WHEN: Rehearsal Room, Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, Saturday 26 September and Saturday October 3 (5pm), Sunday 27 September and Sunday 4 October (4pm)
“The world doesn’t consider anyone to be a successful artist unless they can demonstrate to the world that they are a successful artist first. This takes time and money. Some turn to mummy and daddy, some learn the art of fellatio, and others resort to Centrelink. Most wannabe artists are quick to bitch and moan to Centrelink for forcing them to pretend they really want a full-time job in Customer Service, but forget they are indirectly funding their side projects by handing out support money.”* Apparently, Australia is coping with the GFC really well. Naturally, this means less Centrelink customers, but Harry doesn’t think it will affect ticket sales. “I often forget all about the Global Financial Crisis,” he says. “My landlord still charges me the same amount for rent each week, and it still costs me just over five bucks for a double cheeseburger meal. I seriously doubt the GFC will be a strong barrier for us. If anything, it’s given us more to laugh about.” *The 2008 Adelaide Fringe registration for Centrelink The Musical was funded by an advanced payment of $500 from Centrelink. WHAT: Centrelink The Musical WHERE & WHEN: Trades Hall, Tuesday 6 October – Saturday 10 October (9.15pm) there will be board games for people to play in the audience and then that roles on into a dance party.” CLAIRE HOOPER: “It’s kind of a puppet radio sitcom which is Claire, a puppeteer and a few other people doing a series as a radio serial which will be broadcast on RRR.”
FRINGE @ THE STORE ROOM By Toby Walker The Store Room, one of the Fringe’s favourite (and award-winning) venues from festivals past, returns to the live performance fold in 2009 with a long list of established and up-and-coming talent ready to shake the foundations of North Fitzroy’s Parkview Hotel with laughter. The Store Room producer Laura Milke Garner has applied Tetris-like mastery in programming a ten-act showcase that will take over two stages for six shows a night (and eight each night on Fridays and Saturdays that hand over to a late night dance party). It’s on for young and old, so Laura gives Inpress the rundown on who’s who, what’s what and the fact she’s living a publicist’s nightmare having booked acts with the longest show names at this year’s Fringe. THE HOUNDS: “It’s very exciting because they’ve got Gerard Van Dyke from Kage Physical Theatre directing them, so it’s a bit of a new direction for them. It’s a show basically about themselves and growing up, learning to be mature.” PUPPY FIGHT SOCIAL CLUB: “These guys are absolutely out of control. They’re an improv group from Sydney and it’s sort of headed by Dave Bloustien, who’s one of the head writers on Good News Week. There’s guys from The Chaser and Underbelly in it too. It’s two nights only and we’ve got special guests coming in to do improv with them, including Greg Fleet and members of Tripod. They encourage audience members to bring along vinyl so their DJ can do improv to the music,
KATE MCLENNAN: “Kate did really well a couple of years ago with The Debutante Diaries [she won Fringe Best Comedy Award and Most Outstanding Newcomer in 2006] so she’s back with a new piece called Dead River, which is about life in a fictional country town where there’s been a death and the kids are trying to find out what’s going on. I guess it could be Enid Blytonesque, if that’s a word, but a lot funnier and darker.” LITTLE ONES THEATRE: “It’s described as a fivecourse black comic disgustation and if you’re familiar with Declan Greene’s work then you’ll know he’s quite out there.” BART FREEBAIRN: “He’s done some really good stuff in Adelaide and Melbourne this year and he’s one to look out for. He’s doing a show called A Breathtakingly Magical Journey Into The Ordinary. I think I’ve got almost all the acts with the longest names in Fringe.” ANDREW MCCLELLAND: “He’s back with another extremely long title for a show which is A Somewhat Accurate History Of The Fall Of The Roman Empire. He’s going to fit all that into one hour as only Andrew can do.” LOU SANZ: “It’s called Please Don’t Use My Flannel For That and it’s about her time living in LA and sharing houses and her attempts to grow up as well.” SANZ SCRIPT: “For one night only, it was conceived by Toby Truslove who you might know from Thank God You’re Here. It’s another improv show but Lou Sanz is going to be writing the script onstage with a whole host of comedians performing as she goes. It could be a real cock-up or extremely marvellous.” MELBOURNE TOWN PLAYERS: “Attract/Repel is a raw, beautiful and idiosyncratic investigation into racial identification, discrimination, and the darkness and light inherent in Australia’s many-cultured society.” WHAT: Fringe @ The Store Room WHERE & WHEN: All shows at The Store Room, Parkview Hotel Nth Fitzroy during Fringe. See www. melbournefringe.com.au for dates and times.
theatre, if you will. It’s not a musical, but it’s not just a live gig and it’s not just a novelty band; it’s somewhere in between.”
But Gadsby says that the true impetus for the show was revenge for a seriously deprived childhood. “The ultimate frustration for most people when they are growing up is a lack of a voice. Everything is potentially vetoed by parents. This show is my attempt to return the favour. My parents don’t come off well. Serves them right for not letting me have a cabbage patch doll.”
Despite its prog rock aesthetic, Mager says that there will not be any ten-minute guitar solos during the performance, or cucumbers wrapped in tinfoil, and it’s entirely possible that your faithful scribe has gotten prog rock confused with cock rock.
Gadsby is a huge fan of the Fringe Festival, but she also hates it. In fact, she says, taking part is a little bit like having a mental illness.
“We’re really inspired by prog bands who brought the theatrics to rock music. Bands like Queen, Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues or early Genesis. It’s like bringing classical music into rock and basing it in story, which is how we approach our stuff. I’m not saying we get a full orchestra on stage or anything, but we do endeavour to bring something epic and theatrical while still rocking out.”
“Every Fringe I’ve been involved in tends to bring a bit of a different flavour to the city. There is so much creative energy floating around that it can be quite inspiring. That is until you have a bad show. Then both the city and the festival become your enemy. Then you have a good show. Being involved in a Fringe is ‘bipolic’.” It’s hard to argue that ‘growing up a little bit lesbian with a homophobic mother’ is not good material for a show, and Gadsby agrees, but there is more to it than that, she thinks.
“I would agree that it is rich material. But furthering our differing styles of being is the fact that I’m accidentprone and Mum has a pathological fear of doctors. Sometimes I think that we met through some kind of dodgy dating site that advertises during infomercials.”
By Tony McMahon
One of Gadsby’s other recent achievements was walking across England, which is, of course, a small country, though not small enough to stop her wanting to beat up on the odd grandmother and grandfather.
Kiss Me Quick I’m Full Of Jubes is another of the intriguing show titles at this year’s Fringe. A much anticipated solo performance from award winning comedian Hannah Gadsby, it promises to answer the burning question of what it’s like to grow up a little bit lesbian and accident-prone, with a mother who is slightly homophobic, misogynist and has a pathological fear of doctors. And the title, Gadsby explains, as well as perhaps a future one, comes from the very same mother. “My mum speaks in code. She has many different, complicated ways of describing things. My personal favourite is ‘piffy on a rockbud’, which apparently means when something is in a precarious situation. ‘Kiss me quick I’m full of Jubes’ is mum’s way of saying gay.”
“It’s not that small when you have insufficiencies of the feet,” she says. “I thought it would give me time to think, which it did, but the only thought I had was how much my feet hurt. Some people are impressed that I did it, but they would lose respect if they saw how many pensioners passed me. I would have slapped the wrinkles off their smug faces if they weren’t moving so fast.” WHO: Hannah Gadsby WHAT: Kiss Me Quick I’m Full of Jubes WHERE & WHEN: Trades Hall, Tuesday 29 September – Saturday 10 October (7.15pm, excluding
IN SEARCH OF ATLANTIS By Tony McMahon Although it’s listed in the cabaret section of the Fringe Festival, In Search Of Atlantis defies categorisation. A ‘concept’ performance, featuring prog rock and theatrics, the show settles somewhere in the murky interstices between a live gig and a complete piss-take, explains composer/actor/musician Tim Mager. “The term ‘concept show’ comes from the idea of the ‘concept album’, says Mager. “Rock bands would write entire albums around a particular theme or story, taking their rock to a more theatrical level. Kai [Smythe, co-actor/musician/filmmaker] has a very strong background in gigs and rock ‘n’ roll bands and as The Minstrels, we have mainly been playing rock gigs, playing songs that don’t really have any linkages, so with In Search Of Atlantis we’re calling it our first ‘concept’ show, as it’s the first time we’ve written songs within a bigger story structure. Think of it like a rock band doing
Other elements In Search Of Atlantis boasts are cabaret, storytelling, character-based theatre, comedy, Atlantis, conspiracy theory buffs, and cross-platform performance. Despite the busy-ness of the show, Mager says that ultimately it’s all about the story. “The story is the key, isn’t it? If you don’t have a good story then all the rest is just bells and whistles. We are a rock band performing a cabaret based on a story of two explorers setting off in search of the lost city of Atlantis. We use projected (sometimes animated) backgrounds to show them journeying around the world, which brings in the cross-platforms element. The storytelling balances all these out and in turn they help to bring the story to life.” And the show is being performed at Bar Open, which Mager says should make for an amazing performance space. “Bar Open is also acting as a bit of a hub for the festival this year. There’s around ten shows playing upstairs throughout Fringe, so you can come along to our show and stay for a night of some of the freshest theatre and performance around. Plus there’s a bar. What more could you need?” WHO: The Minstrels of the Revolution WHAT: In Search Of Atlantis WHERE & WHEN: Bar Open, Wednesday 30 September – Sunday 4 October (7pm)
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
A BLACK JOY So who are you and what do you do? “I’m Declan Greene. I wrote A Black Joy, a sickly comedy being performed at fortyfivedownstairs. I also wrote Home Economics, which is being performed at the Storeroom.” What’s your show all about? “A Black Joy is a fucked-up half-satire about survival and dependency. Seven people − including a childhood leukemia-survivor, a teen neo-Nazi, a female bodybuilder, and a Paris Hilton-style celebutante − are joined in a weird cannibalistic chain of ‘feeding’.” If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, to put on a Fringe show next year, who would it be? “Kyle Sandilands. He’s amazing: utterly mindless, opinionated − that beautiful chubby little cherub face with these impassive, soulless, black eyes, like staring into the eyes of a chicken. I love that no-one enjoys anything he does on any level: that he has absolutely no sense of humour about himself, but he’s still inexplicably famous and influential. I would love to write a one-man ‘vehicle’ for his specific talents where he would be hogtied and then gang-raped by baboons live onstage. For five hours. Oh Kyle, Kyle, why don’t you return my calls?” Describe your show in five words. “* * * * *”. I figure if you print those then we can start quoting “FIVE STARS” − Inpress.”
TONGUE MEAT: A FEAST OF URBAN FAIRYTALES
GASWORKS PRESENTS MIKKI ROSS
So who are you and what do you do? “My name is Beth Martin. I’m a writer, performer and storyteller.”
So who are you and what do you do? “My name’s Mikki Ross and I’m an old-fashioned entertainer. On the basic level, I’m a musician. I sing pop, play classical piano and produce film music both electronically and acoustically.”
What’s your show all about? “Tongue Meat: A Feast of Urban Fairytales is a story about love, belonging and building a sense of community – told (with warmth and humour) through the eyes of Duncan the Python. Duncan works as an adviser to a wealthy Sultan who lives in a secret palace in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. The palace is so secret not even devotees of Melbourne’s funky laneway bar culture have managed to find it.” What inspired you to do this show? “The initial idea came from a story in the Herald Sun just before Christmas in 2007. A python had gone missing from a Collingwood apartment. I wondered why the Python had left and what sort of people he would have met in his travels.”
What’s your show all about? “The themes are very ‘lifey’, like those of most singer/ songwriters: learning, loneliness, silliness, mental illness, spirituality and my current state of mind.” What inspired you to do this show? “I’m a pop musician. It’s actually my natural and favourite style [but] it’s difficult to perform this ‘pop’ without a record deal and million-dollar production. Add to this, I have no band. Most of the time I write, record and perform all elements of my pop songs from start to finish. So one day I thought to myself, ‘They want a production show to enjoy pop music? I’ll effin’ well give ‘em one!’ It took me about two weeks to put together a simple prototype. I used an old clothes rack, coat hangers, cardboard, paperclips and sticky tape. Since then, I’ve built two better versions of the WhizzBang Theatre contraption.”
WHAT: A Black Joy WHERE & WHEN: fortyfivedownstairs, until Sunday 4 October (7.30pm Tue-Sat, 5.30pm Sun)
WHO: Beth Martin WHAT: Tongue Meat: A Feast Of Urban Fairytales WHERE & WHEN: Guildford Lane Gallery Thursday 1 October to Sunday 10 October (1, 2, 8, 9 at 7.30pm, 3, 10 at 2pm). Free show – entry by donation.
THE POST APOCALYPTIC USERS’ GUIDE
LOOPS OF LOVE
LOVE AND MARRIAGE
So who are you and what do you do? “Jody Lloyd, a rapper/producer from NZ, and devika bilimoria, a fine art photographic artist, both involved in the Pigeon Hole artist-run studio/gallery in East Brunswick.”
So who are you and what do you do? “I’m Cath Styles, and I’m a comedian, psychiatric nurse, and mother of four. You would not believe how closely related these three things are!”
So who are you and what do you do? “I’m Xavier Michelides, a stand-up comedian living here in Melbourne, but originally from Perth. I have an improv background and have been performing stand-up, theatre and improvised comedy for the past eight years.” What’s your show all about? “It is your guide to surviving any End Of The World scenario, from giant pigeon attack to all-out cannibal war. It’s more theatre than stand-up, with different characters, monologues and sketches all based on the central theme of the Apocalypse.”
What’s your show all about? “It’s a CD launch in the form of an exhibition of large versions of 12 Polaroid images presented in a handwoven album, in the form of cards. It’s a seamless marriage of two dying mediums – CDs and Polaroids. The launch will be a two-week exhibition with a big opening night. The music is something close to DJ Shadow, Beck and Buck 65.”
WHO: Mikki Ross WHERE & WHEN: Gasworks Arts Park Studio Theatre until Sunday 27 September (7.30pm)
What’s your show all about? “Love and Marriage is about life, love, relationships, and chocolate! It’s the story of a very single girl who went out for a night with the girls and woke up in an alternate reality married with four kids. It’s about fate and how sometimes you can accidentally catch that most sinister of sexually transmitted diseases – love – via the simple act of shagging.”
You have one chance to convince Kevin Rudd to make stimulus payments a yearly bonus. What do you do? “I just take him out for a lovely date, dinner, dancing and a show. Then I’d take one for the team.”
You have one chance to convince Kevin Rudd to make stimulus payments a yearly bonus. What do you do? “With a backing band of West Papuans, we would stand and perform Waltzing Matilda, exchanging the words ‘swagman’ with ‘Indonesian military’, ‘jumbuck’ with ‘West Papuan Native’ and ‘troopers’ with ‘Australian Government’, and in the third verse it doesn’t say, ‘You’ll come a-waltzing…’, rather ‘You’ll come to International War Crimes Tribunal with me!’ .”
What inspired you to do this show? “I think people have become a little jaded about relationships. You don’t really need them for anything anymore. You want companionship? Get a cat. Friendship? Hello! Facebook! Sex… Babies? Well you can buy all that now. And have it delivered. So what is it that makes rational human beings want, even need, to pair up? Is it peer group pressure? Hormones and chemicals? Or vodka? Well, it’s vodka, obviously, but there is still a point to relationships.”
WHO: Xavier Michelides WHAT: The Post Apocalyptic Users’ Guide WHERE & WHEN: Festival Hub – The Loft, Lithuanian Club Friday 25 September to Wednesday 7 October (9pm; 8pm Sundays; not Monday).
WHO: Devika Bilimoria and Jody Lloyd WHAT: Loops Of Love WHERE & WHEN: Monkey Bar, Wednesday 30 September (opening night from 7pm) to Saturday 10 October (6pm to 11pm)
WHO: Cath Styles WHAT: Love And Marriage WHERE & WHEN: Glitch Bar, Saturday 26 September, Tuesday 29, Friday 2 October, Saturday 3 (9pm), Thursday 8, Saturday 10 (10pm)
What’s the one thing you reckon all artists have in common? “Someone told us we were talented. I think that’s all it takes; someone says that to you and you’re doomed for life.”
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
IRIS So who are you and what do you do? “My name is Gulsen Ozer, I’m a performance maker and curator.” What’s your show all about? “The show has been created in partnership with Dani-Ela Kayler. Together we perform a story about two characters, Aberdeen and Abigail, who share an imaginary friend called Iris.” If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, to put on a Fringe show next year who would it be? “The first thought coming to mind is a show written by Lally Katz, performing alongside Peter Houghton, with a big production budget. I’m not sure if that makes it a Fringe show anymore, but it’d be completely amazing.” How would you convince Kevin Rudd to come and drop his own moolah on seeing your show? “If I was making my pitch in person I would walk directly up to him and introduce myself and tell him that I am an artist and a fan of his visual artist nephew Van Rudd and that I have a show on and that it is very good and that he should come, maybe with Van, and maybe the Arts Minister and a few others from work and make a group booking.” Describe your show in five words. “Woohoo! Yeah… that was great!” WHAT: Iris WHERE & WHEN: Festival Hub Rehearsal Room Friday 25 September to Saturday 10 October (Tue-Sat 7.45pm, Sun 6.45pm)
PASSI JO & WARAKO MUSICA So who are you and what do you do? “We are Warako Musica, lead by Passi Jo, an internationally acclaimed musician from the Congo, who started the band in 1998.” What’s your show all about? “Our show is about music, dancing and joy. The joy starts from the opening guitar riffs, and moves from the feet up, like a current that runs through the body from the sole to the soul, and before you know it, you’re freeform soukoussing and shimmying all over the dancefloor with a big grin on your face!” What inspired you do to this show? “Quite simply, we’ve never been part of the Festival before. We felt like African music should be represented in Fringe, as part of the rich musical spectrum that epitomises the Melbourne live music scene.” You have one chance to convince Kevin Rudd to make stimulus payments a yearly bonus. What do you do? “The Kev Carmody song From Little Things, Big Things Grow done in true Congolese style, accompanied by the wickedest mataku (bottom) shakin’ soukous dance moves!” WHO: Passi Jo & Warako Musica WHERE & WHEN: The Spot Friday 25 September (10pm)
PEDOPHIL E TERRORIST AND THE FIGHT ON BOXHILL
TUESDAY THE 29TH OF SEPTEMBER 7:00PM BAR 303 303 HIGH STREET NORTHCOTE SON FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: JAMES JACK 580 THEJACKSONPOSTALSERVICE@HOTMAIL.COM 0431 431
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
PUPPY FIGHT SOCIAL CLUB
So who are you and what do you do? “I’m Antonia Goodfellow. I’m a visual artist, I make large-scale sculptural installations that require the viewer to immerse themselves in the spaces I have created. These spaces are places for imaginary experiences. The work allows people to interact on a physical level exploring spatial planes, euphoria through sound, light and layering of differing visual effects.”
So who are you and what do you do? “We are Puppy Fight: an antediluvian order of comedic radicals dating back to the Middle Ages. We assemble our favourite local funny people, play records, create comedy sketches, then party ‘til 3am.” What’s your show all about, then? “It is about everything and nothing. As part of our ancient ritual, we take words from the audience and our guest speaker relates a personal tale on that topic, then Puppy Fight takes the stage and all morality and sanity go out the window. There will also be guest comedians and a boardgame-and-dance break. In the past, a single word from the audience has brought forth: underage bridge fondling, a retarded president waging war with glittersticks and crayons, a double-agent East German shepherd and crimes against manatees.”
Can you name one thing that inspired you to get this show up, and tell us why? “The work is inspired by the geometric structure of the water molecule and its dynamic character, its ability to exchange hydrogen bonds with its neighboring water molecule thus creating movement and a fascination with the idea that the water molecule is smaller than a light wave. What got me thinking about water apart from an ongoing interest in geometry in nature was probably prompted by the heatwave in January this year. It took my friends and I four days and nights to install a completely created cavelike space within the gallery, including the walls, corridor and ceiling.”
SEAMUS MCALARY: THOUGHTS, MUSINGS AND PROPER JOKES So who are you and what do you do? “I’m Seamus McAlary, and I’m a stand-up comic from Sydney.” What’s your show all about, then? “It’s a collection of stories and stand-up, things I have seen in life and things that have happened to me. Also how I deal with stress, all told with jokes.”
TANIA BOSAK: SUPPER AT STANLEY’S RETURNS So who are you and what do you do? “I’m Tania Bosak – percussionist, performer, producer, director, teacher, tired…” What’s your show all about, then? “Love, defection and the beautiful chaos of percussion.” Can you name one thing that inspired you to get this show up, and tell us why? My father’s defection story. He defected from former Yugoslavia whilst on tour as a muso to Belgium in 1958. the show has been developing and evolving now for nine years.”
You have one chance, via your art, to convince Kevin Rudd to make stimulus payments a yearly bonus. What do you create for him? “A sculptural installation system of interconnected rain water tanks or water harvesters through out Melbourne or and/or a giant solar/mirror powered projection of a rain cloud.”
You have one chance, via your art, to convince Kevin Rudd to make stimulus payments a yearly bonus. What do you perform for him? “We would conjure up A World Without Kevin, a nightmare vision of a land where the coalition have maintained their power, and an undead army of itinerant workers shuffles from Centrelink to Centrelink, feasting on the brains of public schoolchildren. Don’t let it happen, Kevin.”
Can you name one thing that inspired you to get this show up, and tell us why? “I’ve never done comedy in Melbourne before and thought that the Fringe Festival would be a good place to start.” And how would you convince the Ruddster to come and drop his own moolah on seeing your show? “One part vodka, one part Rohypnol. But if that didn’t work, probably Mr T.”
You have one chance, via your art, to convince Kevin Rudd to make stimulus payments a yearly bonus. What do you perform for him? “In my show I do a beautiful tango called ‘Zasto’ - it means ‘why?’ in Croatian. I would change the lyric to ‘Why not change the system to match the deal that French artists get, where federal arts funding matches the sports budget.’Sounds Better in Croatian”
WHO: Antonia Goodfellow WHAT: Field WHERE & WHEN: The Library Artspace, North Fitzroy until Saturday 3 October (free show)
WHAT: Puppy Fight Social Club WHERE & WHEN: The Store Room, Parkview Hotel Nth Fitzroy, Friday 2 October and Saturday 3 (10.45pm).
WHO: Seamus McAlary WHAT: Thoughts, Musings And Proper Jokes WHERE & WHEN: Glitch Bar, Thursday 1 October to Sunday 4 October (8pm)
WHO: Tania Bosak WHAT: Supper At Stanley’s WHERE & WHEN: Northcote Uniting Church Friday 2 October and Saturday 3 October (8pm)
SPEAKING So who are you and what do you do? “May Jasper. I’m a playwright.”
Circus An Exhibition By Leila Morrissey
Exhibition Wednesday 28th October to 11th November 2009 The Rooftop Bar Level 7, Curtin House 252 Swanston St, Melbourne
What’s your show all about, then? “Speaking is about a character called Nick, who’s in unrequited love with Olivia, who is deaf. He decides to call her using the Ogmios Relay Service, which is a slightly fictionalized version of a real thing, the NRS or National Relay Service, which allows deaf people to talk on the telephone. Conversation is relayed between Nick and Olivia by an operator, whose name is Beth. The play is basically about how awkward this kind of threeway dialogue is.” Can you name one thing that inspired you to get this show up, and tell us why? “In researching, I read a lot of fascinating stuff about the deaf community. Deaf people really do have their own culture, language and way of thinking about the world, and I wanted to explore that in the play as much as possible.” You have one chance, via your art, to convince Kevin Rudd to make stimulus payments a yearly bonus. What do you perform for him? “A magic trick. I’d get up on stage and show how fast I could make $900 disappear. The audience would be stunned.” WHAT: Speaking WHERE & WHEN: La Mama, Carlton until Sunday 11 October (Wed/Fri/Sun 6.30pm, Thu/Sat 8.30pm except Sep 24)
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
THE HAMLET APOCALYPSE So who are you and what do you do? “I am Steven Mitchell Wright. I am a director, actor, teacher and the artistic director of The Danger Ensemble.” What’s your show all about, then? “It’s about a group of actors staging Hamlet the night the world is ending.” Can you name one thing that inspired you to get this show up, and tell us why? “We began the development for this work in January in Boston. Going into the development we were just exploring the apocalypse as it seems to be fairly heavy in the collective consciousness at the moment. In the development, it became about a group of actors and then we realised they were working on Hamlet. I think the main inspiration for continuing the work was the need to understand it; to continue the exploration of a world that we don’t understand. It also came out of needing to do work different to our history.” You have one chance, via your art, to convince Kevin Rudd to make stimulus payments a yearly bonus. What do you perform for him? “The dance of the seven veils…” WHAT: The Hamlet Apocalypse WHERE & WHEN: La Mama, Friday 24 September to Sunday 11 October
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
by Nicole Breedon and BiLD Architects, this exciting project uses a blend of handmade techniques with new online technologies to link visitors to each other around the state. Inside each gallery, you will find a handmade Circuit unit whose low-fi retro construction belies a high-tech interior of the latest interactive technologies. As you peer into the artwork, specially designed face-recognition software will snap an instant photograph of your face, subsequently projecting your image further into the artwork – and out through the ether to the other Circuit venues across Melbourne, Bendigo and Gippsland. Galleries participating are Bus Projects, Kings ARI, West Space, Seventh Gallery, Yarra Sculpture Gallery, Off The Kerb, Allan’s Walk in Bendigo, and Gallery Arc in Gippsland.
life shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Join this socially incapable and endearingly awkward explorer as she poetically surveys the ruins of her self-worth in This Temple of Love is a Renovator’s Dream, and experiences the high-speed emotional danger of the Alps in I Broke My Heart on the Blackrun of Your Emotions and Now I’m Well and Truly Piste. It’s on Friday 25 September to Friday 2 October at Son of Loft, The Lithuanian Club (Fringe Hub).
THE FRINGE CLUB
Thirteen nights of free entertainment all in one spot! What have you done to deserve The Fringe Club, Melbourne? You must have been good boys and girls this year. This year sees the Club transformed into a cosier, warmer space built for bumping gently against your fellow artists and audiences. Apparently, that’s illegal in Sydney, by the way. Get in the middle of the entertainment, the atmosphere, the dialogue and the dancing at the Fringe Club, running from its opening party night on Friday 25 September to its last gasp on Friday 9 October, where special guest host Daniel Kitson will personally curate an extra special line-up, lifting the specialness quota to a level that is, indeed, very special.
The inimitable Daniel Kitson is heading back to Fringe with a new show, which can be best described only by the man himself. Take it away, DK: “Everyone you have ever known will die… and so will you. And yet we dance in the looming shadows of mortality, we dance and we talk and we eat and we argue. We read books. We care for people. We buy houses. We plant trees and we start to drive and we learn how to make milk frothy. Because something, somewhere in the middle of it all has to matter. As our seconds and minutes and days slip by, something has to be important. And who are we to giggle and point and sneer at what others have found to care about? Who is to say what is beneath us, what is not worthy of our hearts? Everybody needs something to hold when it gets dark, so who am I, who are any of us, to point at anything and call it facile or redundant or stupid or rubbish? Even when it quite clearly is.” We Are Gathered Here is Kitson’s new stand-up show about finding something important in an ocean of twaddle. It’s at the Athenaeum Theatre Tuesday 6 October to Saturday 11.
THE HAT BOX
As recipients of the St Martin’s Threshold Grant, breakaway production The Hat Box is set to establish Family of Strangers on the forefront of independent theatre with their distinct style and extraordinary brand of theatre. Between cellophane drifting at your feet in waves and a strand of spattered hair in the bathtub drain, The Hat Box balances afloat the real and the unreal as two strangers journey on a boat to Spain. Featuring live music from jazz singer Rachel Zbukvic and musician Simon Rashleigh among others, The Hat Box provides an original score and arrangement by Melbourne composer Matthew Lorenzon, crafting a fanciful world of music amidst a spectacle of colour and imagery. It’s at Irene Mitchell Studio, St Martin’s Theatre Complex Tuesday 6 October to Saturday 10 October at 8pm.
Bittersweet is a heady cocktail of circus, theatre and cabaret. Enter the murky depths of the Dice Club, a 50s joint where all is not as it seems. Bittersweet draws on film noir, Weimar Cabaret and beats with the pulse of contemporary circus to tell a tale of lust, fake eyelashes and dirty martinis. Developed at the now legendary retro club Sweet Jelly Roll, The Garden of Unearthly Delights (Adelaide Fringe) and The Last Tuesday Society, Bittersweet has emerged from Melbourne’s world class burlesque and variety show scene – a collaboration between the rising stars of Melbourne’s red-hot performance circuit, Richard Higgins, Anna The Pocket Rocket, Simoncee Page-Jones and Stephen Williams. It’s on at The Arts House Meat Market Wednesday 7 October to Saturday 10 (55 min).
We’d like you give you the chance to experience the best of the Fringe on a shoestring. Luckily the kind artists have given us some tickets to pass on. To nab a freebie email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the show you’d like tickets for in the subject line. And do it right away – some of these shows are happening this very weekend, and we don’t want you to miss out!
GHOSTBOY WITH GOLDEN VIRTUES
Four doubles to Swallow and Exit at the Lithuanian Club Main Theatre Tuesday 29 September at 10pm
Five doubles to Keeper Or Crapper at the Lithuanian Club Main Theatre Saturday 26 September at 7.30pm
Five double passes to Felicity Ward Reads From The Book Of Moron at the Festival Hub Rehearsal Room on Saturday 26 September at 5pm
Five double passes to Akmal’s It’s Not My Fault in the Festival Hub Ballroom on Sunday 27 September at 9pm
Two Double Passes to Tom Ballard in the Festival Hub Meeting Room on Saturday 26 September at 8pm
In the lead up to its 25th year, Fringe Furniture is extending its program. In 2009, two concurrent furniture exhibitions will be held in iconic Melbourne venues as we simultaneously reflect on our past and project to the future. Silver is at The Arts House, Meat Market and has encouraged designers, artists and object makers to explore the visual, physical and symbolic properties of this bright metallic with 80 dazzling pieces on display including furniture, homewares, lighting, indoor and outdoor works. It’s on until Saturday 10 October, 12-7pm, and entry’s free. There is also an Alumni Retrospective at Melbourne Museum, a curated collection showcasing 30 works from 1986 to the present day, looking back over the history of this innovative design event. That’s on until Sunday 11 October, 10am to 5pm, and again entry’s free.
MONSTER OF THE DEEP 3D
Eat your heart out, Jim Cameron… Claudia O’Doherty is doing her first solo comedy show. It turns out she is the last surviving member of a small colony that lived in an undersea habitat in the Pacific Ocean. She’s booked a slot at the Lithuanian Club at the Melbourne Fringe Festival from Friday 25 September to Saturday 10 October so she can tell you about that. In addition to colossal squid, the salinity of the Pacific Ocean and the effects of long-term deep-sea living on humans, Monster Of The Deep 3D will cover gang warfare and witchcraft. It’s on at 10.15pm, 9.15pm on Sundays, and there are no Monday shows.
WHILE I’M AWAY
Set against a retro slideshow of the world’s greatest sites, While I’m Away takes audiences on a deliciously ridiculous grand tour they will never forget with Poet Laureate Telia Nevile – a poet they never expected. This subtle character-based comedy is part travel slideshow, part meditation on love and life, and 100 percent under-the-radar entertainment for those who know
Circuit is a new interactive artwork which will showcase some of Victoria’s extraordinary independent and artistrun galleries. Created by renowned Australian artist Matthew Gingold, and featuring customised elements
THOUGHTS, MUSINGS & PROPER JOKES
GLITCH BAR, 318 ST GEORGES RD, NORTH FITZROY 1/10/09 - 4/10/09. STARTS 8PM FULL $15, CONC $12, GROUP $10 CALL 03 9660 9666 OR WWW.MELBOURNEFRINGE.COM.AU
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
PASSION OF CRIME
Two double passes to Passion Of Crime in The Loft at the Festival Hub on Thursday 8 October at 9pm
SHARYN BOOTH HAS A PURPOSE?
One double pass to Sharyn Booth Has A Purpose? At the Glasshouse Hotel, Collingwood on each of: Wednesday 30 September, Thursday 1 October, and Friday 2 October at 8.45pm
Kate McLennan, the dynamo behind one-woman show The Debutante Diaries, is back this year with her new ensemble play Dead River. It’s the tale of Janie and Rachel, two young girls growing up in a small country town. Life in Dead River is typified by freedom, innocence and one Enid Blyton-esque adventure after another. But when the girls stumble upon the body of a dead man in their ‘magical forest,’ their idyllic life takes a darker turn. It’s a semi-autobiographical work inspired by McLennan’s childhood in a small country town in Victoria’s western district. Dead River will be performed as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival at The Store Room Tuesday 29 September to Saturday 10 October (8.15pm, no show Mondays).
Two double passes to Ecosexual: Green Just Got A Whole Lot More Attractive at The Order Of Melbourne, Swanston St on Monday 5 October at 8pm
VIR: SCHUMANN AND THE ART OF PIANO DESTRUCTION Three doubles to Vir: Schumann And The Art Of Piano Destruction at the Czech House on Friday 2 October at 8pm
WHO’S YOUR DADDY?
Five double passes to Who’s Your Daddy? at The Bull And Bear on Tuesday 29 September at 8.30pm
One double pass to VnV Boudoir at The Spanish Club Fitzroy on Saturday 3 October at 8pm
RETURNING BY POPULAR DEMAND!
Supper At Stanley’s
A concert with a twist. A cabaret with a cork... Featuring an all star 10 piece band
1st 2nd & 3rd October. 8pm. The Northcote Uniting Church, 251 High Street.
...no facade of feathers here. Playful, great musicianship, genuine and a little weird
...Supper at Stanley’s is a wild night of musicianship and stories with a performer at the top of her powers, and a cracking band
BOOKINGS 9660 9666 or at www.melbournefringe.com.au Great group booking deals!
Love Marriage VENUE: GLITCH BAR, 318 ST GEORGES RD, NORTH FITZROY PREVIEW DATES: 26/09/2009 - 26/09/2009 SEASON DATES: 29/09/2009 - 10/10/2009 6 SHOWS ONLY. SAT 26 SEPT, TUES 29 SEPT, FRI 2ND OCT, AND SAT 3RD OCT: 9.00PM - 10.00PM. THURS 8 OCT AND SAT 10 OCT: 10.00PM - 11.00PM. TICKETS: PREVIEW $13.00, CONC $13.00, FULL $16.00, GROUP $13.00, TIGHTARSE TUES $13.00 BOOKINGS: FESTIVAL TIX: 03 9660 9666 OR WWW.MELBOURNEFRINGE.COM.AU
MICHELIDES As seen on Rove live
APOCALYPTIC USERS’ GUIDE Winner comedy@trades best instructional show
25th SEPTEMBER 7th OCTOBER
9:15 PM (8:15 PM SUNDAYS) FRINGE HUB Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St North, Melbourne Tickets: $17.00 Full, $15.00 Concession, Tuesday and group Book Online www.melbournefringe.com.au
A SICKLY BLACK COMEDY FROM THE CREATORS OF RAGEBOY written by Declan Greene directed by Susie Dee
Sept 24th - Oct 4th
Tues - Sat @ 7:30pm | Sun @ 5:30pm
fortyfivedownstairs theatre 45 Flinders Lane, CBD Bookings: 9660 9666 www.melbournefringe.com.au www.fortyfivedownstairs.com
BLACK JOY a
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE
Love is like a power ballad and the lead singer is pointing right at you.
29 Sept – 10 Ocll 2009, 9:15pm Trades Hall – Evatt Room (cnr of Victoria and Lygon)
Discounted Piña Coladas Wednesday Nights
2009 FRINGE FESTIVAL GUIDE