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'Shrek'-Inspired Burlesque, ABBA Sing-Alongs, Daryl Braithwaite and a Ferris Wheel: They're All at Wynnum Fringe 2023

Robert Forster is taking to the stage, the dog festival is back, and Will Anderson and Jimeoin are doing comedy sets.
By Sarah Ward
November 15, 2023
By Sarah Ward
November 15, 2023

It only took three years for Wynnum Fringe to evolve from a three-day festival to an almost three-week run. Returning in 2023 for the fourth time, the event is sticking with that extended setup. It's easy to see why, not only because the fest keeps drawing crowds to Brisbane's bayside — with 36,000 people heading along in 2022 — but also thanks to the jam-packed lineup it keeps curating. This year's includes Shrek-inspired burlesque, ABBA sing-alongs, Daryl Braithwaite and a ferris wheel for starters, plus Robert Forster taking to the stage, a dog celebration, Will Anderson and Jimeoin doing comedy sets, and pop-up bars as well.

Brisbane's embrace of Wynnum Fringe isn't surprising, either. The River City loves an arts festival, whether it's Brisbane Festival, Anywhere Festival, Brisbane Comedy Festival, MELT or the Brisbane International Film Festival, to name just a few events on the Queensland capital's cultural calendar. At this one, hanging out in a seaside suburb is on the agenda — this year from Wednesday, November 15–Sunday, December 3.

"I can't believe this idea started in the spare room of my parents place while I was freeloading there during COVID," said Wynnum Fringe founder Tom Oliver. "Now look at it — people are travelling from interstate to check it out, and Aussie entertainment royalty are keen to put on a show here."

"Wynnum Fringe has gone from three days to three weeks in three years. We've employed over 1000 artists, injected millions into the bayside economy and won the most prestigious award in the Queensland Industry Awards. Crazy proud!"

"There is something special about Brisbane's bayside and the community living around Wynnum and Manly. They get around stuff. They have embraced this festival with open arms. We wouldn't be here without our community," continued Oliver.

2023's lineup of shows and events includes that sultry — and wholly unofficial — take on everyone's favourite animated ogre franchise, plus a corresponding burlesque and drag parody of The Simpsons. Still riffing on beloved pop-culture staples, Wynnum Fringe is staging the latest season of Speed: The Movie, the Play, which brings the 90s action film into IRL in the name of comedy.

Sweden's most-famous music group earn a tribute via free community choir The Wynnum Takes It All — singing, yes, a version of 'The Winner Takes It All'. As for Braithwaite and Forster, they sit alongside Diesel, Sarah McLeod, Marcia Hines and Rhonda Burchmore in what's clearly a stacked list of Australian talent taking to the stage. To hear 'The Horses' echo, you'll want to head to the closing Rock the Bay event, which also features Hines and The Bamboos.

The comedy bill not only includes Anderson and Jimeoin, but Dave Thornton and Geraldine Hickey as well. Laughing is part of seeing Ancient Greece-set comedy GODZ, too, while the Wynnum Fringe Comedy Gala is back for a one-night-only stint of giggling.

After opening ceremony yana marumba (Walk Good) kicks off 2023's festival, attendees can look forward to an adults-only magic show, silent disco walking tours, Chocolate Starfish doing Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell, Massaoke Oz getting everyone belting out songs and Cheap Fakes playing the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Or, there's a club devoted to Broadway tunes, a dose of Shakespeare in 60 minutes and a Bluey and Bingo experience — plus What Would Dolly Do?, which is about worshipping Dolly Parton.

For hanging out between shows, the garden hub returns to George Clayton Park, which is where Wynnum Fringe's spiegeltent will sit — and a ferris wheel, food trucks and bars. It's also the site of Puppypalooza, complete with dog-focused markets, dog competitions, dog photography and everyone bringing their pooches along.

Wynnum Fringe 2023 runs from Wednesday, November 15–Sunday, December 3. Head to the festival's website for the full program.

Published on November 15, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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