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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Six Events You Need to Check Out During Sydney's Beachside Winter Fringe Festival

This year's jam-packed lineup features cheeky cabaret shows, an emotionally charged circus act and an all-singing, all-dancing walking tour of Bondi.
By Matt Abotomey
July 08, 2019
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Six Events You Need to Check Out During Sydney's Beachside Winter Fringe Festival

This year's jam-packed lineup features cheeky cabaret shows, an emotionally charged circus act and an all-singing, all-dancing walking tour of Bondi.
By Matt Abotomey
July 08, 2019
  shares

SIX EVENTS YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT DURING SYDNEY'S BEACHSIDE WINTER FRINGE FESTIVAL

in partnership with

This year's jam-packed lineup features cheeky cabaret shows, an emotionally charged circus act and an all-singing, all-dancing walking tour of Bondi.

As the surfers at Bondi begin to turn blue, festival directors Rachel Chant and Phil Spencer are getting ready to light the fuse on the seventh year of Bondi Feast. Like all good fringe festivals, the equation it presents is a stark one — 40-plus theatre, comedy, cabaret and circus shows, and only ten nights to catch them. Having surveyed the territory, we've pulled together our top picks of the bunch. There's plenty of gold to be found in this year's stellar lineup, but here are six that you shouldn't miss.

  • 6

    Chasing Smoke is, like all circus shows, built around the spectacle. Presented by Casus Circus, this show pushes the form to incorporate narratives exploring what Aboriginality means to each of the group’s performers. This exploration soon explodes beyond the realm of the personal and delves powerfully into tens of thousands of years of culture and identity.

    The show demands that the art of circus be no less malleable or agile than its performers. By presenting six unique portraits of contemporary Indigenous experience, Casus encourages us to rethink not only our concept of Aboriginality but also our expectations of what takes place under the big top.

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  • 5

    Bondi is a beach built into a cliffside, which makes it a pretty interesting place to do a walking tour. Enter Guru Dudu, a laid-back gent with loud overalls and a pair of headphones that, judging by their size, may well have been nicked from a construction site. This is your tour guide – but he’s not working alone.

    As you stroll around, filling up on Bondi’s sights, he’ll tag-team with some of the greatest bands of the last half-century. With your own set of headphones (supplied), you and your compatriots will have the chance to groove down Campbell Parade, belt out the lyrics you can remember and flashmob unsuspecting picnickers. Before you know it, you will have topped a few of Bondi’s most picturesque rises, borne aloft by bangers and the Guru’s electrifying moves.

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  • 4

    Is there anything New Zealand humour can’t turn to gold? As Laser Kiwi, brothers Degge and Zane Jarvie, alongside Imogen Stone, bring NZ’s signature low-key dorkiness into a circus arena.

    Laser Kiwi has described its performance as circus sketch. Between the ten-minute pieces that the trio has rehearsed for weeks comes a flurry of miniature gags — a few of which shine among a barrage of deliberate (and very funny) failures.

    From a stilt-walk sabotaged by excessive props to a stunt cruelly hampered by an outsized M&M, Laser Kiwi simultaneously reinvigorates its art form while poking gentle fun at it. That said, there’s no question of the skill on display here, as its liberal deployment of charm amplifies some seriously intense and beautiful feats.

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  • 3

    Sydney-based queer comedian Cleo is back for another year, and this time she’s brought her queens (sorry, kweens). Holding court in the Parlour Tent for one night only will be the likes of Axis of Awesome singer Jordan Raskopoulos, the acerbic 2018 Raw Comedy Winner Bec Melrose, legendary drag kings Dazza and Keif (who will, fair warning, be talking quite a bit about their ‘crown jewels’) and the eternally enigmatic Hey Puss Puss.

    The kweens are promising a ‘cosy night of laughter’, but you’d be a fool not to expect some daggers to fly as well. You don’t get to be royalty without stepping over a few bodies.

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  • 2

    Being an international spy is the job we’ve all wished we had. But, our intelligence services never seem to be advertising vacancies. Fortunately, cabaret matriarch Anya Anastasia is launching a public campaign for the position in Cabaret Star for Hire.

    In her new show, Anastasia announces she is calling time on her wildly successful career as a performer, setting out her prospects for the future and cataloguing in detail the abject failures in her past. Billed as ‘part performance art, part Aussie opera, part physical and musical comedy extravaganza’, Anastasia’s swansong takes a hammer to the façade she created on social media before stepping us through her plans to take the espionage world by storm.

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  • 1

    When Nigella Lawson graced our shores earlier this year, some Sydneysiders followed her (mostly culinary) adventures with the same enthusiasm as they would a royal or religious figure, proving our love for the English chef with the syrupy accent and penchant for decadent food is as strong as ever.

    So, really, learning that someone has created a cabaret inspired by her shouldn’t be a surprise. In this comedic musical tribute, Raelene Isbester pokes fun at the radiant public persona while prodding at the all-too-human private side, too. Isbester’s show is a hilarious study of the cult of Nigella and why we can’t help but continue to worship her.

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Bondi Feast 2019 will take place at Bondi Pavilion from Tuesday, July 9 to Saturday, July 20. For more information on the lineup and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

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