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Highlights from Melbourne Fringe Festival 2014

EXPERIENCE Melbourne’s vibrant arts scene at one of the city’s trademark events – the Melbourne Fringe Festival! Daniel Driscoll scoured the programme to bring you his highlights.

Image: Melbourne Fringe Festival Facebook page

Image: Melbourne Fringe Festival’s official Facebook page.

The Melbourne Fringe Festival begins on September 17 and boasts one of the biggest lineup of programmes in the festival’s history.

Art aficionados can choose from music performances, cabaret, live theatre shows, to art performances and visual art exhibits. Artists from various arts disciplines will also showcase their new work over the 19 days.

North Melbourne’s Fringe Club venues will host the festival’s music programme this year with an eclectic selection of sounds. Each of the 12 nights promises a different experience – ranging from folk, art-rock and thrash metal cartoon themes, to chiptunes, indie pop and tribute shows. Free entry at these venues. 

Key highlights include the indie-pop extravaganza 8 First Dates – a one-night-only special event featuring eight of Melbourne’s best indie music artistes. Eight-piece band The Marionettes, who were a favourite at last year’s festival, will return to launch their upcoming album, Can’t Wait For The Weekend.

Image Provided

8 First Dates do their thing. Image provided.

With more than 100 new productions by acclaimed troupes and new faces at the festival, the performance programme features challenging, entertaining and thought-provoking work from the cutting edge of independent theatre. Watch an innovative interpretation of Hamlet, set against the backdrop of a smash hit reality TV series, or catch  Death By Soprano, a smorgasbord of ‘operatic occupational hazards’ explored in an alphabetical romp through grande opera. 

The comedy programme features 140 shows with festival regulars such as Claire Hooper, international favourites such as Arj Barker, and a stellar lineup of rising acts.  

Audiences will also be treated to 15 new shows as part of the festival’s circus programme. These include multiple performances at Gasworks Arts Park and the Circus Oz Melba Spiegeltent. Prepare to be dazzled at Carnival of Rustic Dreams, where circus and magic meet in a fantasy world, and Plan B, one-man circus show exploring what happens when one steps out into unfamiliar territory.

Part of the Melbourne Fringe Circus program. Image: Melbourne Fringe Festival Facebook page.

Part of the Melbourne Fringe circus program. Image: Melbourne Fringe Festival Facebook page.

The festival isn’t only about live performances. Visual art will be on display at 22 free exhibitions which range from on the spot street art to challenging imagery at selected gallaries.

Love cabaret? Choose from 30 provocative and lyrical performances as part of  this year’s programme. Miss Fletcher Sings the Blues is a musical comedy with educational benefits about a well-meaning, but slightly unhinged music teacher who treats an unwitting geography class to a surprise music lesson. Fat Boy Slimm…er sees Stephen Valeri share stories and songs of his weight loss journey from a chubby childhood to his tubby teen years and beyond. 

A piece from the Fringe Furniture: Living Traces exhibition. Image: Fringe Festival Facebook page.

A piece from the Fringe Furniture: Living Traces exhibition. Image: Fringe Festival Facebook page.

Central to each year’s Festival is the Creative Program, an initiative to bring established and emerging artists together to create ways for audience participation. This year, the festival’s Creative Program focuses on the following: 

Uncommon Places explores the concept of ‘the third place’ – meaning neither home nor the workplace, but social locations where people gather, converse, catch up and hang out. Third Places stitch the fabric of society together, informal sites that foster civic engagement, political thought, multicultural vibrancy and a sense of belonging. On certain dates, meet the artists to engage them in informal conversations about their works.

Fringe Furniture 2014: Living Traces invites artists and designers to respond to these ideas and create ‘living traces’ of our world, constructing artefacts from the now that acknowledge both our history and the future to come.

Fringe Film is a free event that returns for its second exciting year under the theme of Digital Creatures. Australia’s best emerging digital screen artists will be showcased in a dynamic programme of short films, animation and video art. Screening will be held at Little Creatures Dining Hall in Fitzroy every night of the Festival.

With so much to see and do, visit the Festival’s site and draw up your plan of attack. Challenge yourself to see something different and expose yourself to a world you might not be familiar with. It’s an adventure all of its own! 

The Melbourne Fringe Festival 2014 runs from September 17 to October 5. For more info and to book tickets head to the Melbourne Fringe Festival’s site.
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