It’s back: Fringe World Festival returns to Perth this weekend with more than 700 shows across comedy, theatre, cabaret and circus over four weeks. More than 150 venues in the city and suburbs are involved, with most of the action taking place at the festival’s hubs in Yagan Square, Scarborough’s Sunset Veranda, the Woodside Pleasure Garden, Fringe Central in Northbridge, The Ice Cream Factory, The Rechabite and the Girls School Cinema in East Perth. Here’s a taste of who’ll be hitting the stage.
Fringe on the Water
In a world first, the cruise ship Vasco da Gama will dock at Fremantle Harbour and transform into a Fringe hub for one night only. There’ll be live music, DJs and a performance by Yuck Circus, as well as roving sideshow performances and magicians. Guests stay overnight and receive breakfast and dinner, so expect to fork out a little more than your average Fringe ticket.
Starts at 2pm on February 1 (finished)
This cabaret crew returns to Perth after winning Best Cabaret at Fringe World 2019. The show is unpredictable, sexy and full of glitter, the costumes are innovative and the acts are outrageous. There’s also an adults-only version, Yummy Up Late, which turns the risqué factor up a notch.
January 28 to February 9
South Australian Erin Fowler makes her Perth debut with her theatrical dance show Femme. The 60-minute one-woman show explores concepts of femininity, sexuality and prescribed gender roles. It won Best Dance at Adelaide Fringe 2019.
January 29 to February 7 (season finished)
A Simple Space
Predicted to be one of the big hitters at the festival this year, A Simple Space – an award-winning circus show by the Adelaide-based troupe Gravity & Other Myths – features seven acrobats in an honest and intimate performance that uses only live percussion as an accompaniment. There’s no stage makeup, no over-the-top theatrics – apparently it’s so intimate you can hear the performers breathing. And they’ve done it more than 600 times, so the execution is stellar.
January 18 to February 16
This unsettling show from UK immersive-theatre company Darkfield (the team behind Séance) makes its Fringe World debut after performances in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne. Like Séance before it, Flight takes place in a shipping container. But this time the creators tap into a universal fear: being 30,000 feet above ground and powerless. For the audience, that fear is amplified by sensory deprivation (the cabin is plunged into total darkness) and binaural sound recordings (3D audio transmitted directly to each audience member) of unnerving creaks, whispers and children crying.
January 17 to February 16
It wouldn’t be Fringe World without a puppet show. In 3deg, five silent performers from experimental Perth theatre group Fizzy Rascals use puppets, props and lighting to explore climate change in a playful but powerful performance. The show creates landscapes and dramatic weather events – a reef reaching boiling point, falling glaciers, a 100-year storm – to draw the audience into a captivating journey into the fragile natural world.
January 24 to 26 (season finished)
30 Day Free Trial
Perhaps one of Fringe World’s most risqué shows, 30 Day Free Trial pushes boundaries with sex stories, “cringe-erotica slam poetry” and a theatrical sex tape. Part theatre, part confessional and part game show, this R-rated performance from multi-award winning theatre-makers Charlotte Otton and Andrew Sutherland Sutherland (behind last year’s acclaimed Feminah and Poorly Drawn Shark) is part of the Summer Nights program at The Blue Room Theatre in Northbridge.
February 4 to 8
Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale: Random Acts of Mindness
Perth’s favourite hypnotist returns with 31 performances across multiple venues, including Yagan Square and Scarborough’s Sunset Verandah. Hale’s peformances are always full of laughter, and this one-hour show will have you in stitches as he hypnotises volunteers from the audience and creates bizarre and fun scenarios for them to act out, from transforming into human coffee machines to competing in fictional reality TV shows.
January 17 to February 16
New to Fringe and making its Australian premiere from France, Liar (Life is a Rehearsal) is a playful three-person performance that takes the audience on a dream-like journey of self-discovery from childhood to adulthood. Remi Martin (from previous Fringe shows Limbo and Blanc de Blanc) is the star of this theatrical circus, which mixes live music with magical props and special effects.
January 23 to February 10
Boys Taste Better With Nutella
Theatre and comedy duo Aggy and Frederick not only share a love for Nutella, but also a knack for not picking the right partner. This hilarious show explores relationships, self-worth and, well, Nutella. The show received Fringe World 2019’s Weekly Award for Best Theatre.
February 11 to 16
Fringe World Festival 2020 runs from January 17 to February 16 in Perth. Tickets and full program available here.