Saturday 3 October 2015

Top 10 shows of 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival

Well, it's that time of year again! After seeing a staggering 41 shows, (which is STILL only 10% of what was available), here are my top ten shows of the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival. 
Admittedly, there are shows I really wanted to see but timing and life meant that I just couldn't make it work!
If the show was reviewed, you will find a link next to its name for more detailed thoughts and opinions. 

1. FAG/STAG - review

There are only three shows I have ever gone to see more than once. FAG/STAG is now one of them.
 It's a beautiful exploration of life, friendship and everything else in between. The way the story is told and performed is extremely natural and relatable. The two stars - Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs - play the characters with such honesty, truth and vulnerability.
FAG/STAG really is the kind of theatre that I wish was made more often. FAG/STAG is the kind of theatre that people need to go and see.

2. Barbaroi - review

In terms of circus shows, Barbaroi was by far the best thing I saw. 
From the beginning with the performers coming in and out of the darkness by three square spotlights on stage, the intensity and wonderment never stopped.
The foot juggling by Hazel Bock has got to be one of the most unique and amazing acts I have ever seen. The level of skill that would be required to accomplish something like that is incredible.

3. A Star Is Bored - review
Nick Eynaud's cabaret show this year was the perfect mix of story, music and laughs.
Beginning with the end of his WAAPA days, Eynaud recalls his journey to becoming rich, famous and powerful, including a hilarious audition tape for Toddlers and Tiaras
And his rendition of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" with Heathcliff changed to Netflix, is a stroke of comedy gold.

4. Mary Weather's Monsters - review
When Rama Nicholas is putting on a show, the only option is to go and see it. She is one of the best storytellers I have ever seen, who is able to create a world so vivid and real (without any props or set pieces) you really feel like you are there.
On top of that, she plays all the characters herself and her characterisations are detailed, honest and incredibly funny.
If you didn't see Nicholas' show then you just did Fringe wrong.

5. Suburbia - review
Suburbia wants us to look at our surroundings and see things we've never seen before. All while being driven around the backstreets and alleyways of North Melbourne.
There's a strong voyeuristic feel to the show as we go from one vignette to the other, including a young couple having a heated discussion in their car and a walk in the park that ends up being very creepy.
Absolutely loved the soundtrack composition by Simone Gustafsoon in this show too.

6. Minne And Mona Play Dead - preview
This was the second offering from Perth Theatre Company, The Last Great Hunt, the other being FAG/STAG.
The exploration of death and suicide is uniquely explored between two friends by a non-linear narrative that envelops your whole body and mind until the very end, and even then, it leaves you wanting more.
This is the third piece of Fowler's I have seen and my god, if he doesn't end up being one of Australia's greatest playwrights, there should be outrage.

7. Backwards - review
Emily Taylor's Backwards, created in collaboration with Brunswick East Primary School Students, has her playing a number of school children all trying to make sense of the world around them. Even with the adult characters thrown in, it is the younger characters that you end up warming too.
There are some good life lessons to take home from this show, even as an adult. We are never too old to be daring or adventurous or to have fun!

8. We May Have To Choose
You know the show you just take a punt on and have no real idea what it's about? This was that time and there are no regrets.
Written and performed by Emma Hall, We May Have To Choose offers 621 opinions in 45 minutes. 
It's a non-stop train of statements and opinions that Hall recites and all are said with deep conviction. Some of these are humorous and others are deeply moving, but all require us to make a choice. Do we agree or disagree? And how does this help make us - and society - better?

9. Christopher Doesn't Live Here Anymore - preview
I was actually quite upset I was going to miss this show but then it got an extended run so made sure I got to it.
Christopher Welldon has moved 60 times in 34 years,  and in this 60 minute show, he runs through the circumstances and reasons of why he ended up moving so many times.
The story is beautifully brought together at the end and it is such an unexpected and powerful moment from an audience's perspective that I was quite moved by it.

10. Transplant - review
This would have to be one of the weirdest shows I saw, a medical fairytale of sorts with puppets and performance and an incredible transformation of the smallest of spaces at Club Voltaire.
Transplant is a genuine full sensory experience of life and death and humanity with some highly engaging and visually enchanting moments. The puppet design and puppetry is also exquisitely executed.

Honourable Mentions (because ten is never enough)

Little V's Terrible Tea Party - review
Seen & Heard - review
Bock Kills Her Father - review 

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