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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Ten Most Interesting Things to See at Melbourne Fringe Festival 2016

Lasers and white lights, cabaret and comedy — and everything in-between.
By Tom Clift
September 06, 2016
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The Ten Most Interesting Things to See at Melbourne Fringe Festival 2016

Lasers and white lights, cabaret and comedy — and everything in-between.
By Tom Clift
September 06, 2016
  shares

THE TEN MOST INTERESTING THINGS TO SEE AT MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL 2016

Lasers and white lights, cabaret and comedy — and everything in-between.

Grab a cup of coffee and your best highlighter pen because the program for Melbourne Fringe is a doozy this year. From circus and dance to mind-popping installations and everything in-between, this year's festival consists of more than 450 events, brought to life by literally thousands of passionate artists. For punters, it's both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, there's certainly no shortage of things to see. On the other, it's basically impossible to get to them all.

Inspired by the theme 'step into the light', this year's program is bookended by  — wait for it — lasers! And that's just the tip of a very impressive iceberg. As one of the biggest and most eclectic events on the city's cultural calendar, the Fringe lineup caters to every conceivable taste, with cabaret, comedy, design and a music lineup that covers everything from jazz to orchestral to disco.

There's a lot to consider. So here's our top ten picks of the 2016 Fringe festival.

  • 10
    Robin Fox: Sky Light

    Inspired by the theme of ‘step into the light’, the major commission of this year’s Melbourne Fringe is a breathtaking city-wide laser installation from audio-visual artist Robin Fox. Invisible from some angles and impossible to miss from others, powerful beams of light will connect iconic buildings across the Yarra, while an electronic soundscape captures the ephemeral beauty of the city after dark. Start your journey at Princes Bridge on St Kilda Road and then see where the light takes you along the river. Fox’s other work, White Beam, which will light up Prahran’s Grattan Gardens, likewise shapes up as a major festival highlight.

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  • 9
    Form as Vibration — Hear My Eyes

    The sonic cinema lovers at Hear My Eyes present a mash-up of incredible short film along with an original soundtrack to match. Taking over the Melbourne Fringe Hub on the night of Wednesday, September 28, Form as Vibration will see Melbourne musos Emma Russack and Errol Green provide the aural accompaniment to a pair of shorts, Migration and Yul and the Snake from America and France respectively. Joining them on the night will be Lucas Skinner from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, who’ll present a two-hour set from his personal vinyl collection. In the words of the programmers, films will never sound the same.

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  • 8
    The Virtual Reality Fringe

    If you’ve been hanging out for the opportunity to go deep with virtual reality, we’ve got news that will delight you. This year Melbourne Fringe has announced a unique new program of virtual reality shorts as part of their lineup.

    The brand new Virtual Reality Fringe Festival will run from September 14 to October 1 and show a series of films in a small shopfront on Johnston Street in Collingwood. The program is a mix of local and international short films and documentaries, music clips and a group VR experience — so prepare yourself for some weirdness.

    The venue seats a dozen movie-goers at a time, straps them into VR headsets and 360-degree rotating swivel chairs. You’ll then be transported to Rapa Nui (the enigmatic island better known as Easter Island), jump into the studio with Melbourne muso Didirri, cruise the streets with graffiti artist Adnate and take a terrifying ride on Joel Zika’s Alabama ghost train amongst other weird and wonderful experiences. The program combines both live action and abstract motion graphics, covering a broad range of film techniques and styles. Get around it — literally.

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  • 7
    Laura Davis: Marco. Polo.

    The most memorable show we saw at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival returns to the stage as part of Melbourne Fringe. In a hilarious and occasionally confronting mix of stand-up and performance art, local comedian Laura Davis sits blindfolded, in her bathers, on top of a ladder, where she ruminates on everything from maple syrup to sexual assault. Marco. Polo. feels extraordinarily, even uncomfortably personal, to the point that it’s not always clear whether you’re even meant to be laughing. But by the time it’s all said and done, you’ll know you’ve just experienced something special.

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  • 6
    On the Mark

    Like footy? Like comedy? Want to watch the AFL Grand Final without having to put up with the Channel Seven commentators? If you answered any of those questions in the affirmative, On The Mark might just be for you. Taking over the Fringe Hub for that one fateful day in September October, comedians Laura Dunemann and Geraldine Hickey are hell-bent on providing the best damn Grand Final coverage around. DJ Mz Rick will keep the fun times going once the final siren sounds. Will he prove more entertaining than Meatloaf? Only time will tell.

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  • 5
    Onstage Dating

    Think about how nervous you feel when you’re on a first date. Now imagine that it’s happening in front of a theatre full of people. In an era of online dating, when people are judged based solely on a handful of selfies, theatremaker Bron Batten transports the rituals of modern romance from your smartphone to the stage for Fringe. Onstage Dating is exactly what it sounds like: each night, a different volunteer gets put through the ringer, as Batten gleefully deconstructs the conventions of contemporary courtship. Will true love flourish, or will the night end in disaster? Either way, it sounds like fascinating viewing.

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  • 4
    Infinitum

    Choreographer Gareth Hart teams up with sound artist Rod Price on this intriguing new experimental dance and sound work at Melbourne Fringe. Two years in the making, INFINITUM is described in the festival program as “a meeting of audio generative movement, glitch art theory, and real-time generative sound looping”. Price composed the score by distorting the sounds of a dancer and they move through an urban environment. The final product will performed to a roving audience amidst the cobblestone alleyways surrounding the Fringe Festival Hub.

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  • 3
    Sediment — Company 2

    Brisbane-based circus outfit Company 2 presents a dark and quirky new work at this year’s Melbourne Fringe. Created and performed by David Carberry and Chelsea McGuffin, who’ll be joined on stage by circus artist Alice Muntz, Sediment draws inspirations from Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, and aims to bring into focus humanity’s natural curiosity. This circus-dance hybrid will be accompanied by a live original score performed on a number of unusual instruments, including crystal bowls, a theremin and a typewriter.

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  • 2
    The Stalls

    If you’ve ever used a public bathroom in this town, you could be forgiven for feeling sceptical about this particular installation art piece. A (presumably) tongue-in-cheek tribute to Melbourne’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature, The Stalls combines light, sound and video, bringing some of the city’s strangest and most revealing toilet stall graffiti to a single lavatory in the Fringe Hub, which is this year located at North Melbourne’s Arts House. No need to bring a magazine — there’ll be reading material all over the walls.

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  • 1
    Self Esteem: The Soundtrack

    As always, this year’s Melbourne Fringe program is packed full of great cabaret shows. But it’s hard to go past the new solo effort from Bobby Blue, host of Karaoke Dance Party Go! and one quarter of Melbourne barbershop quartet Bobby and the Pins. In Self Esteem: The Soundtrack, Blue rides a wave of self-love and self-loathing backed by the best pop, rock and soul tracks about exactly that. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll cringe in recognition. And with a bit of luck, you’ll leave feeling better adjusted than you did when the show began.

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