Meet the team

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Good morning and welcome to Day Two of the 2017 Sydney Fringe Festival! Coming up from 4pm today is the epic Fringe Ignite at Kensington St Festival Village. Curated by musical megaton explosive Ngaiire, this street party will heat your mood up for the month ahead.

Whether you’re meeting new folks at the party today, or trying to convince colleagues to head out to see a show this Fringe, you may need a quick primer to some events to look out for in the coming weeks. To help you, we Fringe writers sat down (at our keyboards, let’s be honest) and grilled one another about the events we’ve been hearing about.

Which fringe event are you most compelled by and why?

Alana Bowden: It’s a tie between The Mysteries of Mad River and Betty Grumble: Love & Anger.  Both of them have a dark and disruptive energy that really appeals to the Bacchante in me. I’m seeing them on the same night- it should be a wild evening!

Eleni Schumacher: Big contender for me is The Mysteries of Mad River: A Swamp-Folk Operetta at Django Bar, because aside from the fact that it calls upon the musical ancestry of Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave (STOP IT) it's described as one part cabaret, one part murder mystery. Rudyard Kipling decreed that "East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet", but obviously he hadn't met the genre-mashing legends that are Keppie Coutts and Theatre Excentrique. 

Genevieve de Souza: I’m most compelled by Silent Theatre. I find the idea of new work being developed both in and for a specific space very exciting, especially since I used to work in a hotel and the stories really are endless.

James Dalton: There’s a number of hybrid comedy/theatre/absurd works in this Fringe, and I’m keen to take a punt on the likes of A Call of Cthulhu, Fragility (the final refuge), The Nose, Puntilla/Matti, The Van De Maar Papers and What Are We Presents Here We Are!

Max Rapley: With the lockouts here to stay, Sydney can sometimes feel like a city that's lost its vibrancy. Fringe Ignite looks like just the ticket to rekindle the flames of Sydney's night life. 

Millie Roberts: Eliza J Scott’s one-woman performance Blackstrap Molasses. The show promises sickly sweet, yet dark humour through this physical and musical amalgamation. Think microcelebrities, reality television and fake news.

Rebecca Ha: Definitely the Library of Babel because of my anterior interest in, and relationship with, literature as a way of seeing the artfulness of consciousness and of that which simply exists all around us. To be immersed in a self-contained infinity of language? Weird and compelling. 

Sime Knezevic: Menagerie by Josipa Draisma. Her comedy is so zany, so playful, so full of life.

What is your fringe pick for a blind date?

Alana: Haunted Sydney Ghost Tour. It’s the perfect excuse for a bit of hand holding in the dark (wink). And if the date doesn't seem to be working out, you can pretend you're a ghost and run away.

Eleni: Romeo and Juliet at the Bondi Pavilion - just to get a solid "worst-case scenario" chat going with your potential lover right off the bat OR Psyche! because if the date really is a perfect stranger, you'll probably want a mentalist to do some sleuthing for you.

Sime: THE WAY(ne) by Ben Draisma.

What is your fringe pick to cheer someone up?

Genevieve: Definitely the Sydney Teapot Show; what’s more cheery than a bunch of outrageous teapots? Especially if the exhibition is shared with a friend and followed by a good cuppa. 

James: So dressing up is a solid way to help a person feel happier. The Shaun McGrath Wig Exhibition is all about surrealist fashion, and you can try the wigs on every Thursday night during the Fringe. For the more adventurous, Quick Bright Things gets you to don costumes and rehearse for a high school theatre production.

Millie: Nothing fixes a glum mood quite like mind-reading and hypnosis. Psyche! features Australian mentalist, Phoenix. Being temporarily convinced I’m a dog would definitely turn my frown upside down.

What is your fringe pick for a show to shock your friends?

Max: I don't think my friends are easily shocked, but if I wanted to shock my parents' friends, I might send them to Betty Grumble - shake up their delicate sensibilities a little. 

Rebecca: My friends are pretty shocking, so this is difficult - but I'm looking forward to pulling a friend along to Cleansed and seeing them sit, silently and unsure of how to feel, in their chair for many minutes following the show.


Have a clearer idea as to what you may want to check out this Fringe? Disagree with us completely? Just wanna dance at Fringe Ignite? Ok, don’t let us keep you, but check back here tomorrow for Sime’s experiences with local Hip Hop / Jazz seven piece Sagrada Familia and Mike Rivett.

Hi, hello, welcome, good morning.

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Hi, hello, welcome, good morning.

Wherever you are right now, take a short break and feel the air. Here we are on the first day of Spring, the crisp chill  already lifting, and perhaps there’s the little promise of something exciting on its way.

This is Day One of the 2017 Sydney Fringe Festival.

If you haven’t already done so, grab a physical copy of the Festival guide – hello beautiful Benjamin Law – and flick through to the white pages, the ones with more coloured rectangles than a kindergarten wall. Get your nose in close and sneak a whiff. That there is the smell of your next month.

Once you’re done sniffing paper, have a closer read of the guide and you’ll see that this year the Sydney Fringe is presenting a program of events that slip in and out of traditional genres. Comedy is mixing with music is mixing with theatre is mixing with art is mixing with circus is mixing with film, and you and your friends will be wading knee-deep through this glorious hot mess over the next few weeks. Use this to your advantage – find a show that’s half of what you know and half of something you’ve never been quite sure of. Even better, find a person who is all for that other half and bring them along. Chat about it afterwards. Have an arm wrestle. Be proud of your choices.

For the next thirty days, take this opportunity to re-imagine how you move around Sydney. You’ll notice in the guide that there are a number of multi-show venues and festival hubs. This means that on any given night you could stumble around from one event to the next, starting with something familiar and letting the venue usher you suggestively into the arms of artists you’d never thought of seeing before. Those really eager amongst you may find a particular hub – like the HPG Festival Hub in Alexandria, or the Kensington Street Festival Village in Chippendale – become your temporary stomping grounds, drawing you back night after night to a corner of Sydney normally beyond your radar.

The Sydney Fringe Festival has a particularly generous spread this year, extending from Penrith Panthers to the Bondi Pavilion, so this also happens to be a great time to draw shapes on Google Maps as you swerve back and forth across the city. Be as inventive and non-phallic as you can. For the full duration of this Fringe, you’ll find various writers sharing accounts of our own squiggles between the many offerings of this genre-fluid festival. Our goal is to shove you (safely) into the many wonders of the city, offer suggestions for events and give reflections on the shows we’ve seen. You may find yourself following our lead or, better yet, picking your own path through the many winding ways of the guide. 

Actually, do that, we’ll cover more ground that way.

Join us here tomorrow for an introduction to the Fringe writing team and read about some of the events we’re keen to catch. Until then, enjoy the spring weather and huff yourself some blooming jasmine!

Written by James Dalton

Victoria Anthony

Victoria Anthony

Victoria Anthony is the angel of Oxford Street. She’s a pillar of glittering sequins and a regular face in some of Sydney’s most iconic queer spaces. In the past few years she’s accrued residencies as a DJ in Palms, Stonewall, The Midnight Shift and the Beresford amongst many others, and graces any dancefloor under her spell with a dynamic mix of party anthems and contemporary house. As a performer she’s highly sought after, having DJ’d for Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour in 2015 as well as the official Mardi Gras Party in 2016 and 2017.

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