El and Lucy talk with Tom & Alex on Triple J Breakfast 23-09-2010.mp3


On the Edge …
12.21PM  14-9-2010

Rising lights, dark secrets and quiet achievers. Burlesque dancers, nuns with guns and arty ninjas. Street art, visual art and a museum of particularly bad art. Yes, it’s time again for the Melbourne Fringe Festival, where anything is not only possible but both highly probably and easily affordable, meaning a gamble on that nude dance act will cost you less than the taxi fare home.

Fittingly, among the best of this year’s crop are those likely to dodge the media glare – those dusty gems you’ll recognise some years later sparkling on the cover of some magazine.

For a start, there’s the surreal, experimental humour of Dances With Worms, a one-man comedy act that sees Stuart Bowden armed with a ukulele and spinning the kind of yarns that suggest he’s been spending far too much time on his own for far too long.

There’s more music-tinged comedy in The UnEnchanted Princess, in which classical singer, harpist and award-winning comedian Linda Beatty finds herself lost in a dark forest in this fairytale-themed spin on the stand-up genre.

More firmly tied to the modern world, I Hung Out With Generation Y … And All I Got Was This Lousy Facebook Account offers an evening’s satire of tech-obsessed youngsters with short attention spans. An easy target? Possibly, but we’re promised high-energy theatre and, curiously, a giant dancing bottle.

Inspired by writer Katy Warner’s research into mental illness and social isolation, These are the Isolate charts more challenging waters, as Mutation Theatre present the unsettling story of an unhappily married man returning home to find a strange woman setting up an elaborate suicide machine.

Mutation is also presenting The Arrival, another debut performance, based on the acclaimed picture book by Australian author and illustrator Shaun Tan. Featuring a cast of 20, the play tells a moving and timely tale about an asylum-seeker fleeing the terrors of his homeland and having to face up to the challenges of settling in to a new country.

With a similarly acute eye on social matters, Send in the Clowns is a journey into the imagination of a young boy, inspired by the dissociative worlds abused children create for themselves. Using elements of clowning, puppetry and music, the performance explores themes of fleeting innocence and the shifting lines between fantasy and reality.

Dogmeat also tackles dark issues of childhood abuse, inspired by the true story of a young boy chained to a lamppost by his parents. Overseen by Bell Shakespeare director Jessica Tuckwell, this black, vitriolic piece is to be performed in the forecourt of La Mama, where the unpredictable elements are likely to provide an extra frisson.

As a contrast to all this darkness, I Love That You Forgot … is an entertaining blend of cabaret, pop music and nostalgia as two strangers meet on a midnight train to Georgia and look back on where they’ve come from to work out where they’re headed.

Boldly going to places few plays go, The Omega Quest is a “sci-fi action romance” in which the last human crosses the galaxies in pursuit of a new Earth. There are aliens to be fought, new worlds to save and some striking visuals on show, including a re-creation of a gravity-free spacewalk.

Rather more low key, Short Stories #1: Versions of Contemporary History relies on everyday visuals, sitting its audience in the shopfront of a Gertrude Street florist to watch real-time stories through the glass, with the aid of recorded conversations and projected subtitles. A cross-media installation, the piece examines Australian cultural identity while?crafting a fluid exchange between performer and voyeur.

At the noisier end of things, Love & Theft Records Showcase will deliver a taste of the finest Melbourne rock, garage and pop. Singer-songwriter Catherine Traicos, whose recent album The Amazing didn’t disgrace its cheeky title, will also be in town with Notes From Hell, a show tackling her attempt to base an album on Dante’s Divine Comedy. For a more traditional evening of tunes, piano duo Georg and Saunders will be playing a mix of traditional and modern classics, or there’s a chance to get down and dirty with Deep Street Soul, as local soul stars revisit funk classics from the ’70s.

For a risqué end to an evening on the fringe, Red Bennies’ B&B Shuffle will be premiering an evening of world-class burlesque to the strains of live swing, jazz and blues.

Last but not certainly not least, Big Shoes to Fill has a little bit of everything. There’s comedy, there’s theatre, there’s circus tricks. A regular on the cabaret circuit both here and abroad, Anna “Pocket Rocket” Lumb is a thoroughly modern old-school entertainer whose knack with a hula hoop will have you utterly in awe.

If it’s all still too much, the Fringe Club offers an ideal jumping-on point. Artists mix with the art-curious on the dance floor while performances offer a grab-bag selection of satire, dance, circus acts and, ahem, erotic fiction. Best of all, it’s free.


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