The best time of our year is just around the corner. Fringe World returns from January 18 and boy are we ready to get lost in the chaos and colour of this iconic festival. With a program of more than 700 shows, our beloved Fringe is no easy conquer, but there are some shows that you simply can’t miss.
From all-out cabaret blockbusters and circus smash-hits to magical displays and masterful comedy, with a plethora of dance, music and immersive experiences in between, we Perth Fringe-goers have some serious ground to cover. Here are our top picks at this year’s Fringe World Festival.
If You Want To Be Wowed
Fuego Carnal At Empyrean At The Ice Cream Factory
A show laden with fire, wild stunts, exotic beats and mesmerising moments, Fuego Carnal is fuelled by sensual choreography and a wicked sense of humour, so no wonder it’s been selling out crowds and earning rave reviews around the planet. This year’s show is full of new heat, new moves and new surprises, and is already set to be the hottest (both literally and in terms of popularity) show at Fringe. Better get your tickets locked in.
La Soirée At The Ice Cream Factory
Believe your ears, La Soirée is back. If you’ve seen it previously then you’re still coming because this La Soirée is reimagined, bigger and bolder than ever. Think sassy and hilarious puppet shows, seriously dangerous tricks, sword swallowers and some acrobatic mayhem. Don’t be that person who missed out, grab your tickets and experience all of this razzle dazzle at our iconic Ice Cream Factory.
Blanc De Blanc At The Pear Tree
From the acclaimed creative minds behind Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour comes Blanc De Blanc, returning to Perth for another round of breathless abandon. This cabaret-meets-acrobatic sensation of a show is all about the vintage glamour. We’re talking champagne sparkling, eyes glimmering and beaded dresses a’twirling as the performers undertake some incredible acts that will infatuate and enthral.
Feminah At The Blue Room Theatre
An ode to female censorship, Feminah is a gritty cabaret piece that follows a one-woman-war-path dismantling all those structures set in place to keep her seemly. Performance powerhouse Charlotte Otton rebels against femininity and instead, pursues ultimate vulgarity.
YUMMY DELUXE At The Edith Spiegeltent
Legendary cabaret show YUMMY is going deluxe with a brand new act, full of fashion-forward, gender-fluid show-peoples ready to take you on a ride. YUMMY DELUXE is everything you love about cabaret and drag with a new wave twist that you may just have to see to understand.
Bang Bang! A Tarantino Tribute At Air Nightclub
Appropriately named, Bang Bang! Is a tantalising ode to one of this generation’s most renowned filmmakers: Quentin Tarantino. We imagine it’s difficult to choreograph a dance that does the genius himself justice, but with The Showhouse Perth on the job (sass, style and stilettos in tow), we’re sure it’ll be a mind-blower.
Cirque Africa At The Regal Theatre
The greatest show to come out of Africa since their last one, Cirque Africa is absolutely one of a kind when it comes to Fringe. 100% African, high energy and a whole lot of fun, this show is part cultural experience, part blockbuster production and will undoubtedly transport you far away from Perth. It’s ‘very hot’ on the Kleenheat Sizze Factor so we’d recommend getting your tix ASAP.
Club Briefs At Dali Land Surrealist Saloon
The cult late-night variety show that makes the heart throb and the knees tremble, Club Briefs is back at an all-new site-specific and extremely sultry venue: the Surrealist Saloon. This rooftop bar at the immersive Dali Land (formerly known as Metro City) will have the heat turned on when the Briefs boys, joined by their flaming sisters from Hot Brown Honey, bring their world-class cabaret to the floor. Prepare to lose yourself.
Djuki Mala At Spiegeltent
Dance & Physical Theatre/Indigenous
After achieving overnight fame when they uploaded themselves dancing to ‘Zorba The Greek’ on YouTube, the Djuki Mala boys return to present their internationally-acclaimed, smash-hit dance production in the heart of Fringe; the Spiegeltent in The Pleasure Gardens. This show is infectious, we dare say even those who’ve been before will be returning for another dose.
Railed At The West Australian Spiegeltent
Anyone who went to see Elixir last year and loved will want to have their plastic at the ready for Railed, an all-new acrobatic adventure from Head First Acrobats. This western-themed circus sensation will roll all the things we love about Fringe into one extravaganza: incredible physical feats, finely chiselled bodies and comic showmanship.
Another Night At The Musicals At Teatro
From the same producers behind the glitz and glamour of Blanc de Blanc comes Another Night at the Musicals, the force-of-nature duo of Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo. Dubbed the ‘Ebony and Ivory of drag’, these two bring some serious sass to the stage along with a mixed bag of musical theatre karaoke, vaudeville, variety, sing-along and costume chaos.
Matt Tarrant: More Unsolved At Megamouth Yagan Square
Fringe Festival’s resident trickster, Matt Tarrant is back with more magic than ever before in his brand new show, More Unsolved. Prepare to be mind-blown as he performs world class magic and mentalism that’ll convince even the most stubborn of cynics that the dark arts are a thing.
If You Want To Belly-Laugh
Luke Bolland: Weight Dropper At Casa Mondo Yagan Square
If you caught Luke Bolland’s show ‘Name Dropper’ at last year’s Fringe (which is on again this year, too, see), then you have an idea of what to expect from this local laugh machine. Weight Dropper is his new show that follows the trials and tribulations of his 10-month-long weight loss journey. The goal? To lose 25kgs, write a comedy show about it, and make people laugh at all the epic fails endured. Get your tix to find out whether or not he succeeds.
Aborigi-lol At Casa Mondo Yagan Square
Two of Australia’s funniest first-nationers are back (‘like a boomerang’, they say) after sold out Melbourne Comedy Festival shows two years running; this time, to bring the belly laughs west with Aborigi-lol. Usually cracking jokes on Have You Been Paying Attention? And ABC’S Comedy Up Late, these guys strike the dad joke/cynicism balance pretty damn well. Go see them put the ‘rad’ in ‘traditional’ as you get a dose of ‘Strayan culture up in you.
Double Denim At The Blue Room Theatre
Sceptics of this fantastic ensemble combo be damned, Double Denim is back in a big way and we don’t just mean the outfit. After hit seasons at both Melbourne, Adelaide and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, this absurdly funny and highly nostalgic show is hitting Perth and you won’t want to miss it.
Comedy Hypnotist Matt Hale’s Feelgood Factory At Megamouth Yagan Square
Our grand synopsis of Matt Hale’s fantastic show last year amounted to: ‘Seriously LOL, go see it’. We stand by that. This guy has redefined the idea of hypno and is more about making people laugh than making people pretend to be chickens and he’s bringing a whole new show this year, just to show off. Whether you’re on stage or in the audience (we recommend volunteering yourself just to see what happens) you’ll walk out feeling ten years younger.
Brewed Laughter: A Beer Tasting With A Comedian At SONAR Room & The Lucky Shag
The name kind of says it all: comedy, plus beer, equals good times, right? Happening every Friday and Saturday evening across two venues for the whole duration of the festival, Brewed Laughter will involve a comedian, a beer drinking expert, yourself and five beer tastings, along a delicious voyage that’ll tickle more than just your tastebuds. There’ll be a different comedian and beer featured at each show, so you can hit it up more than once.
If You Want To Go To The Theatre
A Region Where Nobody Goes At The Blue Room Theatre
Ever wondered what it would be like to be a speech writer for a Prime Minister when the world is falling apart? In partnership with The Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights, Lindstedt & Davies bring this very state of affairs to life in A Region Where Nobody Goes, exploring what happens when uncertainty and chaos takes over.
Blueberry Play At The Blue Room Theatre
A portrayal of adolescence not just for the adolescent, Blueberry Play by the Griffin Award-shortlisted Ang Collins follows the story of an awkward 17-year-old who is taking care of her sick father. A must see; intimate, tender, bare-all, and an insight into family life in regional Australia.
A Westerner’s Guide To The Opium Wars At The Blue Room Theatre
Thirty Five Square presents the offbeat Tabitha Woo, who (with the help of a sock puppet, Queen Victoria and some Broadway showtunes) addresses the question ‘But where are you really from?’ in A Westerner’s Guide to the Opium Wars. Tracing her family’s lineage as far back as she knows, she tries to make sense of her cultural heritage; for herself, and her audience.
My Greatest Period Ever At Megamouth
Folk artist Lucy Peach has been making waves with her life-hacker show My Greatest Period Ever for a few years now, leaving the women in her wake rejoicing and the men wishing they menstruated. Between her exceptional vocals and her husband’s live illustrations, this show is changing the world one period at a time and it is a must see.
If You Want To See Something Different
Dali Land At Metro City
Visual Arts & Design/Cross-Artform
It’s not only about the headline cabarets and drag at Fringe. Mix things up with this totally immersive art exhibition that sees you enter the mind of surrealist master Salvador Dali. Taking over Metro City with four levels of original drawings, sculptures, film, graphics and photography, Dali Land is the place to go when you want to enter another world; through virtual reality, a creative workshop, or just settling into the glory of it all with a Dali-inspired cocktail at the rooftop bar.
Briefs Factory Presents: Dali After Dark At Dali Land
Visual Arts & Design/Performance
Here’s one way to see the aforementioned Dali Land: after dark with an immersive performance from Briefs, the show-stopping creative collective who’ve brought us the likes of Hot Brown Honey and Club Briefs. Bringing to life the mayhem and surrealism of Dali’s original works through theatrical movement, Dali After Dark promises to be one of the most extravagant performances at Fringe. Wander through Dali Land as the performance happens around you for a whole two hours, and then park up on the rooftop bar for a drink when you’re done.
A Midnight Visit At Girls School
Part interactive dream-world, part adult-playground, part theatre performance, A Midnight Visit is taking over Perth’s very own abandoned castle and turning it into an immersive gothic theatre that’ll have you shaking at the knees with excitement. There's a neon forest, a creepy hotel, a mysterious king and a troubled young ghostess waiting to invite you into it all.
AphroZodiac At Sunset Verandah, Scarborough
Your Sunday horoscope check is about to get saucy. Lady Velvet Cabaret presents a side to the signs you haven’t seen before, a seductive, adults-only adventure through ‘ass’trology, in their brand new show, AphroZodiac. They’ll be lighting up the Big Top at Scarborough’s Sunset Verandah for one sizzling weekend at Fringe, and we recommend locking in your spot ASAP.
What Doesn't Kill You [blah blah] Stronger At The Maj
We’ve all experienced misfortune in one extreme or another, but this show brings to life some categorically unbelievable stories of survival with humour and pizazz. What Doesn’t Kill You [Blah Blah] Stronger is a tribute to those unlucky-but-lucky souls who’ve escaped the seemingly inevitable; a river guide who’s swallowed by a hippopotamus and still survives, for example, or a housewife who’s hit by a meteorite and lives to tell the tale.
50/50 With Michael Shafar
While the Fringe program tends to confront an array of social and identity issues, few shows do so with such rawness as Michael Shafar’s 50/50 is said to. Shafar’s 2017 testicular cancer diagnosis has provided him with a lot of material, mainly, he says, around ‘confronting mortality’. Sounds heavy (and it is), but he reckons it’s the most he’s had audiences laugh yet.
Polar Force At Pica
Music & Musicals/Installation
Set to be quite literally the coolest art experience this summer, Polar Force is a multi-sensorial show designed to have you immersed in one the elements of the harshest environments on Earth: that of the Antarctic ice shelf. Exploring ideas of human fragility and our relationship to the natural world, Polar Force is bound to get blurry in more ways than one.
If You Want Music
A Boy Named Cash: Johnny Cash Experience At Atrium Bar At Rigby’s
For all the lovers of that husky Cash voice out there, A Boy Named Cash is not to be missed. Monty Cotton (you know, from The Voice) is set to perform all the Cash classics in a tribute show to end all tribute shows. Seriously, people have said that if you close your eyes while he plays, it could actually be Cash up there. A sophisticated evening, complete with full bar and a la carte menu available, for those with sophisticated taste.
Diary Of A Racially Confused Girl At The Ellington Jazz Club
Music & Musicals/Performance
Soul singer Nicholette C makes her Fringe World debut as a ‘crazy middle-class Asian’ rearing to take you through her hilarious journey of growing up in Australia through the wonder of music and story. Diary of a Racially Confused Girl calls all those who love spring rolls, karaoke and politically incorrect discussions, as well as fire vocals and expert-level sass. Expect an intermingling of traditional Chinese instruments and a contemporary rhythm section rattling off western sounds, plus real stories from real Asians that’ll have the more sensitive audience members sweating in their seats.
Dirty Jazz At Duke Of George And The Ellington Jazz Club
Music & Musicals/Cabaret
No stranger to the sultry side of jazz, Jessie Gordon brings Fringe-goers Dirty Jazz, a thrilling speakeasy adventure into the deepest depths of the jazz archives. This show is smoky seduction and sophisticated sorcery at its best, devoted to songs about dirty deeds and desire set in one of Perth’s finest of venues.
Until Fringe starts, check out our top picks of new openings in 2018.
Image credit: Brinkhoff Mogenburg