February 24, 2016

Knitting While Sleeping

The Fringe Festival tends to offer some weird options which turn out to be either awful or awesome. Knitting While Sleeping is of the latter variety.

Warning: contains audience participation. I was anxious before the show started. I hate audience participation. Please, please, don't pick me. They didn't. Then I was anxious for the people on stage - would the dancers step on them?

It seemed a little like you and your friends got drunk and decided to dance, while having a pillow fight. Except that, unlike you and your friends, they can dance, in unison. Feathers fell like snow. Dancers birthed from each other then intertwined like jealous lovers. Finally the pressure is too much and one dancer has a complete mental breakdown on stage. There is also a chicken.

From anxiety to hysterics of laughter to thoughts of "what the hell will they do next?" this performance piece takes you through everything. It's only got a short season so go see it while you can.

Performances: 24-27 February, 9pm
Tickets: $18

February 18, 2016

Putting the G'Day in Cabaret

10pm on a Wednesday night (I have been known to refer to this as a "school night") would normally find me either in bed or preparing for it. Last night I didn't get to bed till 11:30pm which, if you knew me you'd know, is pretty impressive. It was my first foray into the Fringe Festival this year appropriately held at the Fringe Bar.

What would a real Aussie bloke think of cabaret? What would a former-kiwi-turned-Australian woman pretending to be an Aussie bloke think of cabaret? That pretty much sums up the show. Thank you and good night!

I was tired and part of me was wondering why I agreed to be there, so much so that I appreciated the apologies from the performer about "technical difficulties." Ah, but then the techie came on stage and it was beautiful. Who knew you could get leather jackets that lit up? A true bogan mocking burlesque was genius and I was happy I turned up.

Joana Simmons is multi talented - actress, signer, comedian, dancer and I'm reasonably sure she wrote and choreographed the whole thing too. After the bogan came a diva, a hipster, a reporter and another Australian character. It seemed that every form of comedy was brought in from puns to physical and making the stage hand uncomfortable to making the audience uncomfortable.

The highlight for me was the first dance. Some of the other sketches seemed to last a little long (yes, yes, we get the joke). It's a shame the show isn't at a more hospitable time but I think it's worth losing a little sleep over.

Shows: 17-20 February, 10pm
Venue: The Fringe Bar, Allen St
Tickets: $17

February 15, 2016

Extraordinary Tales of Strength and Daring

Tacked onto the end of Webstock (a two day party conference for those who work in the webspace) is Extraordinary Tales of Strength and Daring an afternoon of talks which, as far as I could tell, was by women for women. The candles and floral theme should have tipped me off.

As the proceeds go to Women's Refuge and Rape Crisis I had expected harrowing tales focused on overcoming men ruining their lives. Another attendee had expected a feminist or political slant around current issues. Their friend had expected tales of lived experiences as a woman, from everyday women. It was none of those things though the last was touched on necessarily by each speaker and especially by Zelda Edwards. None of us had expected the event to feel so sanitised. I identified with the first two speakers but these two attendees discussed leaving during the break, but were glad they didn't as the second half was well worth staying for.

Cindy Gallop is a force of nature. Natasha, the organiser, confessed she wanted to keep Cindy in a cupboard and bring her out whenever inspiration was required. No cupboard would hold Cindy in my opinion though I wanted to take her home too. Her talk can be summed up: wear what you want, date who and how you want, say what you want (I cleaned up the language a bit). This self affirming talk was followed by Zelda Edwards former superwoman trying to be everything to everyone who changed tacks completely to become a zumba instructor. I could have heard more from her. I did wish we were in a different space so that everyone could have joined in the dance she led.

My expectations were not met but I ended up having a great time. It was a little like a women's TED gathering but with less messages being conveyed. I wish all speakers had been as good as the last two but had these two not completely overshadowed the others I still would have enjoyed myself.