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Fringe World

eastend-cabaret_mainFor one short month the City Of Perth becomes a different place, as strange structures arise and a carnival atmosphere drifts into town. To those of us who enjoy our entertainment a little off kilter from the traditional, that delight in being shocked and amazed, that like to be titillated by the bawdy, swept away by the fantastic, or simply wish to see grown men dressed as pirates, it’s time to set foot into Fringe World.

This is the third full Fringe World festival for Perth. It will see various shows take place at over 60 venues around the CBD and greater Perth area. Included in this, of course, is the return of the Urban Orchard, a popular venue to chill out and relax before, after, or during a performance and the spectacular structure of the Spiegeltent which will now be surrounded by its very own Pleasure Garden (that is a very promising combination of words). As the last Fringe World saw almost a quarter of a million people experience the various forms of entertainment on offer, 2014 has big boots to fill.

As usual, Fringe World offers an eclectic range of shows covering a wide range of cabaret, circus, comedy, dance, film, multimedia, music, performance, theatre, visual arts, and community based events. With offerings for kids to grannies, it should have something for most age groups, and with topics as varied as Hitchcock to Halflings, mermaids to manscaping, divas to dirty talk, there is likely to be something for everyone’s peccadilloes.

It kicks off on Friday, January 24,  with a four day opening weekend that will see: mermaids return to the streets of Perth to freely tell their story to kids and adults alike in Mermaid Tales And Pirate Sails and frolic in the tank at The Fringe World Mermaids; people strutting to the sounds of silence as they wear their own headset on the dance floor, at the Silent Disco and the beginning of the Midnight Atari PONG! Championships (great to see this gladiatorial sport again getting the respect it deserves).

Fringe wouldn’t be Fringe without a strong representation of cabaret, and this year sees the return of many of last year’s favourites, as well as a number of new acts. The opening night at The Spiegeltent sees both the operatic diva stylings of An Intimate Evening With DivaLicious, and the hysterically funny albeit somewhat risqué duo of EastEnd Cabaret with Dirty Talk. Later the programme we will see the return of last year’s Best Cabaret winner, Spanky, with both a reprisal of Candice McQueen: Nasty and a new piece, Dead Bitches. There will also be Burlesque (Oh Crumbs), Boylesque, an ‘80s Apocalypse Sing Along Cabaret, and LadyNerd, just to name a few.

As for comedy, we will witness a man in a penguin suit touring the streets of Northbridge in 2014 When We Were Idiots, hear Rob Lloyd talk about his Doctor Who obsession in Who, Me, see how a puppet does “on the wagon” in Randy Is Sober, hear spine-tingling tales of comic suspense in Hitchcocked, and cheer a comedic cage fight in Chopper’s Big F**ken Late Show. As well as these openers, 2014 should see the best of Fringe comedy from the UK in the aptly named Aaaaaaaargh! It’s The Best Of Fringe Comedy From The UK, learn all about whisky in Alan Anderson: Whisky For Dafties, have a night of improv in A Night In Chicago, follow comedic heavy weight Fiona O’Loughlin in My Brilliant Career, or see if Paco Erhard Can Make You German.

For music the weekend kicks off with the funk/reggae/world fusion of Ziggi And The New Generation at the Flying Scotsman, and Rachel Gorman and Billie Rogers at Midlandia for their Songs In The Suburbs. Throughout the festival we can look forward to string instrument Thunderdome in Classical Vs Jazz -The Ultimate Harp Battle, dance through time at the Hot Dub Time Machine, or just chill to The Swing Revue.

If you are of a theatrical inclination, then Flood examines how far people are willing to go to protect their friends. Perhaps your preference for theatre is more for the dinner variety, in which case a dose of Basil in Fawlty Towers: The Dining Experience could be in order. Maybe a recount of hallucinogenic shamanic rituals with The Boat Goes Over The Mountain, or lo-fi sci-fi She Was Probably Not a Robot, or get a dose of punk history with Vicious Circles.

There is also plenty of action under the Big Top with the likes of Carousels And Clotheslines, The Luna Circus Show, or The Four Stuntmen Of The Apocalypse. If performance that involves less acrobatic antics is your style , then perhaps the unpredictability of 600 Seconds, the true life tales of Barefaced Stories, or the Middle Earth mirth of Hairy Halflings.

DAVID O’CONNELL

Fringe World runs at various locations throughout Perth from Friday, January 24, until Sunday, February 23. For tickets and details, head on over to fringeworld.com.au

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