With over five hundred performances presented by some two thousand artists over thirty-one days, it’s no surprise that trawling through this year’s FRINGE WORLD Festival requires stamina, many hours and a glass or two of wine.
Once you have your list of fifty possible shows the hard task begins of asking yourself, “What do I really want to see?”
Dwindling the list down to a reasonable number and finalising a schedule that does not require you to pitch a tent and live in Northbridge for thirty one days, requires some ruthless tactics and date manipulation.
So, having armed myself with my laptop, a glass of wine or two, a pen, diary and an open mind, here are my set of selections for Perth’s 2024 FRINGE WORLD Festival!
Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett
L’Euro Grande: 19 January – 18 February
BERNIE’S BACK! FRINGE WORLD Festival’s hottest ticket is here! After sell out shows around the world and straight from a smash hit 3 month season in London’s glittering West End, the iconic Queen of punk kabarett returns to Perth with a brand new troupe of bombastic Bohemians.
With a brand new menagerie of the finest international misfits, expect a 100-minute heady cocktail of breath-taking circus, gender-bending aerial, hair-hanging sideshow, and dangerously funny kabarett sound-tracked by Bernie and her infamous haus band.
All set in the largest and most jaw dropping venue FRINGE WORLD has ever created – L’Euro Grande, Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett promises night-after-hazy-night of electrifying cabaret and live music with lashings of laughter and full glasses. It’s wild, rollicking, and a little bit sinful.
Bernie Dieter has cemented herself as one of the standout cabaret artists of her generation and along with her unmissable globetrotting cast, this season will be like nothing else you’ll see at Fringe.
Expect to be enthralled by the Australian debuts of London superstars, the death-defying, hair-hanging, fire-breathing Bella Diosa, and gender-bending aerialist Joe Keeley. Along with the terrifyingly talented pole dance king Blue Phoenix; chaotic carnie Adam Malone, burlesque starlet J’aiMime, and body bending strong woman Soliana Erise. Grab your tickets quick and prepare yourself for a night of full-frontal fabulousness.
The Jonesway Theatre: 19 – 21 January
Poisoned apples. Glass slippers. Who needs ’em?! Not Snow White and her posse of disenchanted princesses in the hilarious hit musical that’s anything but Grimm.
The original storybook heroines are none-too-happy with the way they’ve been portrayed in today’s pop culture so they’ve tossed their tiaras and have come to life to set the record straight. Forget the princesses you think you know – these royal renegades are here to comically belt out the truth.
The Vault at The Pleasure Garden: 19 January – 11 February
Welcome to Railed – a western-themed circus spectacular, combining the trademark physical talents, finely chiseled bodies and hilarious comic timing of the Head First Acrobats.
Prepare yourself for when bare chested circus meets bare knuckle bar fights. A racy, heart-stopping display of the finest acrobatics by the most ridiculous storytellers in the circus.
Leave your expectations at home, come to the wrong side of the tracks, and let the HFA boys steal your hearts. If you miss this one check out Head First Acrobats other smash hits GODZ and the child friendly, PreHysterical Circus.
The Vault at The Pleasure Garden: 19 January – 11 February
This show rocks! A hilarious circus show for children and parents of all ages following three foolish Neanderthals as they struggle to survive the harsh natural world. The three cavemen have incredible strength, flexibility, and acrobatic talent!
Avoiding predators, navigating harsh environments, and learning to work together are all explored with marvellous circus skills and hilarious slapstick comedy. With truly incredible circus and tongue-in-cheek humour for the adults, PreHysterical is something everyone will enjoy. Child friendly event!
Reuben Kaye: APOCALIPSTIK
THE RECHABITE HALL at THE RECHABITE: 19 January – 4 February
Loud, politically active, queer, brash. Multi-award winning, Australian comedian, singer, and writer Reuben Kaye returns to Perth with the world premiere of APOCALIPSTIK.
Part eulogy, part elegy, part Eastern Bloc Dog Day Afternoon. This scandalous story of Reuben’s scoundrel Uncle springboards into a cabaret that crosses continents, generations, and the political spectrum of the 20th century.
Adults Only Magic Show
Lotterywest De Parel Spiegeltent at The Pleasure Garden: 19 January – 1 February
Prepare to be WOW’D out of your comfy red seats in this raunchy and absolute jam-packed, adults only spectacular! Magic duo Sam and Justin have toured across the world presenting their unique display of hilariously raucous comedy, mind-bending illusions, stunningly dangerous stunts and just a cheeky hint of nudity!
Dizney in Drag: Once Upon a Parody
The Enchanted Ballroom at Perth Town Hall: 19 – 28 January
Prepare to have all your childhood dreams shattered like Cinderella’s glass slipper. Dizney in Drag: Once Upon a Parody is a fantasy-driven, tongue-in-cheek musical comedy that warps the classic Hero’s Journey into a modern fairy-tale of self-discovery.
Follow some of your favourite childhood characters (…like never seen before) and discover sides of them you never knew existed. This show is a healthy dose of nostalgia with a side-serve of feel-goods. Be Our Guest!
George Glass’ Scientology The Musical
The Little Palais at The Pleasure Garden: 30 January – 4 February
70 shows, 5 festivals, two countries and one failed attempt to enter the US (I wonder why?) Scientology The Musical has been five years in the making.
The Adelaidean musical comedy group turn their sights to one of the most infamous pseudo-science-psuedo-religions. The George Glass team have undergone testing in their local Scientology centre in Adelaide in an effort to provide an authentic experience. They’ve been filmed in the street, threatened over email.
The George Glass team are going after the litigious, celebrity-popularised religion with all their might – will they get sued? Probably, so you best help fund their legal team and book front row seats.
Featuring a live funk-rock soundtrack, outrageous costumes and the secrets of the universe, don’t miss this fast-paced cult classic. P.S. They’re legally required to tell you this show does not represent the Church of Scientology.
2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrow Investigation
Brass Monkey Hotel: 19 January – 4 February
Australia’s favourite mind-reading detective is back! More murders! More explosions! Wowing crowds the world over, this hilarious gumshoe is part comedian, part mentalist, part magician, part storyteller & all gritty retro 1930‘s film-noir! Think Boardwalk Empire meets Naked Gun meets Derren Brown. Based on a story by Dashiell Hammett.
Big Top at The Pleasure Garden: 19 January – 18 February
The award winning dystopian cyberpunk circus showdown finally comes to FRINGE WORLD! Gangs overrun the neon-clad side streets, the underbelly and outcasts rule the forgotten ruins of the old district. Chaos and danger lurk in the shadows.
There is a showdown happening downtown; an initiate stumbles amongst a crew of meta-human misfits, the BARBAROI. Will she have what it takes to be one of them? This is do or die, this is her initiation. This high-octane acrobatic show will lead audiences down a gritty, cyberpunk rabbit hole of wild, daring circus.
Bradbury The Musical
The Gold Digger at The Pleasure Garden: 6 – 11 February
The Musical that’s way overdue. In 2002, Steven Bradbury claimed Australia’s very first gold medal at the Salt lake City Winter Olympics. Coming last in the 1000m Speed Skate, his opponents fell over at the last corner allowing him to glide to victory.
Since then, the phrase “Doing a Bradbury” has been immortalised in the Australian vernacular and now he will be immortalised on stage! Featuring a live funky soundtrack, outrageous costumes and plenty of fake blood, don’t miss your chance to see the last man standing!
With FRINGE WORLD being the third largest Fringe on the planet, there is something for everyone. From comedy, music, musicals, street performances, dance and physical theatre, visual arts, film, circus, cabaret and child friendly events. It will be hard to limit your list to just a few. And don’t forget to check out the list of free family events and street performances.
The 2024 FRINGE WORLD runs from 19 January – 18 February. For more information and full program, visit: www.fringeworld.com.au for details.
Images: Bernie Dieter – photo by Rachel Mia | PreHysterical – photo by Callan Harris | Dizney in Drag: Once Upon a Parody (supplied) | Barbaroi Circus (supplied)
Words: Craig Dalglish