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February 29, 2024

Five Fringe shows to get you out of your comfort zone

It's time to seek out the Fringe weird and wonderful. We've done the legwork so all you need to do is free your mind at one of these shows.

  • Words: Sharni McPhail
  • Graphic: Jayde Vandborg
  • Pictures: supplied

Have Sex With Me, Please

This picture: Singkid

The premise of the show is simple – Nate Troisi and Eddie Morrison think it would be really neat if someone had sex with Eddie. Will you have sex with Eddie? Probably not, but you’re welcome to try!

Have Sex With Me Please (HSWMP) approaches sex with naivety to examine societal norms and the importance of sex in a hyper-digital world. Nate and Eddie question the influence of online culture and the explicitly targeted sex and dating content on men.

The show features Eddie as the brawn of the duo, showing off feats of strength and dexterity to display his sexual prowess in an attempt to woo and dazzle everyone in the splash zone (which happens to take up the entire venue). Nate, however, teases audiences with his impressive knowledge of sex science (with the reliable source of Google) and his latest marvel of computer science which is “a 100 per cent real supercomputer that I’ve built with my own knowledge of science and is not just a bunch of stuff I bought from Savers stapled onto cardboard boxes,” (just don’t tell Eddie where all their show money has gone.)

HSWMP is a fun show that emphasises the importance of safety, consent, and everyone having a good time.

It is also the most expensive show at the Fringe, ranging from $22 for students to $7000 for the VIP experience, which according to the check out will get you a handshake from either Eddie or Nate, a printout jpeg of their choice, a prop and Nate’s couch he needs to get rid of (which you need to pick up).

The most dedicated Fringe-goers can add this ticket to your cart – but we must stress (as the artists did to CityMag) there will not be any sex had on stage at this show. Before and after, however, is up to the individual Fringe-goer.

Have Sex with Me, Please is playing Prompt Creative Centre from February 22 to March 2.

The Mouth Inside the Mouth

Meet Douglas, a puppet (made from bones), and his wife, Marina (also made from bones). Douglas and Marina are a loving middle-aged couple who live a domestic life until tragedy strikes. The Mouth Inside the Mouth asks the question: “What gruesome acts would you do for love?”

Hot Heads Lily Kuenzler, Keir Aitken and Tommy Says have created an experience of live art through music (composed by Tommy) and puppetry that reflects the moments of madness and joy in life. Through their performance, Hot Heads challenges the “cleanliness” of conventional media and audience expectations, crafting an immersive journey that is uncomfortably vulnerable yet strangely beautiful.

“My previous work has always been about being really visual and visceral,” says Lily.

“We’re [Hot Heads] constantly playing with form and expectation. You’ve got these raw, handmade puppets that are these sculptures that we’ve made ourselves. They’re very vulnerable in their own way, too.”

Keir believes in the audience’s role as co-creators in any artistic endeavour.

The performance includes a holy ritual where the audience is offered a communal bone broth during the singing of a hymn, crafted from the puppets’ bones featured on stage (made with humanely sourced bones from a local butcher). This sacred communion invites attendees to partake, giving life to something that otherwise would have been forgotten.

The Mouth Inside the Mouth is playing at Studio 166 at Goodwood Institute from February 16 ’til March 17.

Finding Beauty in the Beast

This picture: Jack Miller

Within the darkest depths of Hindley Street lies a whimsical circus of mythological creatures and wonder.

Rising Phoenix Productions invites weary wanderers and curious folk to find beauty in the beast with performances that aim to break the chains of mental health and stigma within the adult performing arts. Experience a diverse range of intimate stories from one’s sexuality to one’s disability, told through the bodies of aerialists, pole and burlesque performers as well as drag and an acrobatic duo.

Through moments of vulnerability and ultimate triumphs, 11 performers share their deepest struggles and encourage spectators to reflect on their own inner beasts.

“We want people to actually feel like they’re part of the journey,” says Fawn Phoenix, producer and performer of Finding Beauty in the Beast.

“Maybe they can relate to a personal struggle that somebody has or one of our artists is portraying. We want to inspire people to overcome those struggles as well.”

As thanks for the beauties and beasts that have inspired the night, the Pheonix Flames cocktail will be served during the event with all proceeds from the drink going directly to Safe Pets, Safe Families, a local organisation that helps people in crisis and their pets find a safe place to stay until they’re back on their feet.

Finding Beauty in the Beast will be playing at The Crazy Horse from February 29 until March 10. Only ticket-holders are allowed entry, with the venue not open to the public at performance times. 

Singin’ in the Pain

The idea for Singin’ in the Pain came to Diana Divine in a fever dream, brought on by an allergic reaction to the painkillers they’d been given.

“The producers had to figure out a way to explain why I was in pain while singing, so then they named it the silliest little pun, Singin’ in the Pain,” Diana says.

“I woke up and just went like, ‘oh my God, that’s actually a pretty good show idea’.”

Returning to the Fringe with their award-winning show, crowned Mx Burlesque Adelaide Diana promises a gender-diverse show that creates an intimate connection between audience and performer (but not necessarily everyone being in extreme pain).

The theme of the performances centres on discussions surrounding assumptions and perceptions of disabilities, spanning from masking and neurodivergence to realistic expectations of the disabled community.

Each performer is given creative freedom to express their story with music ranging from the “Inspector Gadget Theme” to Kate Bush’s “Running up that Hill”. There’ll be some familiar faces as well as performers readying to debut on stage. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you might even want to give burlesque a try!

“We’re highlighting and embracing our experiences and saying, yeah, we are dealing with shit in the background. That doesn’t necessarily diminish us. Sometimes it even empowers us,” says Diana.

A sensory relaxed session will be available on opening night.

Singin’ in the Pain will be playing at the Nexus Arts venue from March 9 – 16, with a recording of their 2023 performance available to stream on demand. 

Blank Canvas

This picture: Brig Bee Photography

You’re invited to get sketchy with six amazing circus performers as your muse in Blank Canvas. From acrobats and contortionists to jugglers and burlesque dancers, this is a life-drawing workshop like no other.

Internationally acclaimed hula hooper Kate Lawrence had previously done life-modelling when she asked “what if circus and life drawing were combined?” And voila! The idea for Blank Canvas was born.

“Circus artists can do incredible things with our bodies that are designed to amaze,” says Kate.

“There are artists who would relish the opportunity to get involved and capture the extraordinary things the human body can do on paper.”

This will be the show’s debut at the Fringe and stands out from the usual Cirque Nocturne shows.

The circus performers will present poses and the audience will bring them to life on paper. Drawing kits are available for purchase, or you can bring your own materials (and yes, you can get your artwork autographed by the performers). Whether you’re an experienced artist looking to create, a beginner exploring your creativity, or just eager to witness the awe-inspiring performances, Blank Canvas will leave you inspired and entertained.

Blank Canvas will be playing at My Lover Cindi from March 14 – 17.

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