This year’s Adelaide Fringe is the largest yet, and the result is a little overwhelming. With 1,326 events (up from 1,235 in 2018) and more than 7,000 artists, there’s more than anybody could possibly hope to see. So we scoured the program to select the best of the bunch. Here are some acts we think deserve your time.
Instead of illuminating buildings on North Terrace, this year's free light show takes place along the River Torrens. Though the sluggish waterway is not exactly bursting with life today, Tarndaparri has always been central to Kaurna life. Lighting installations, projections, water screens and soundscapes will re-populate the area with long-gone animals and plants and share the stories and knowledge of the land’s traditional custodians.
February 16–March 17, River Torrens
Pussy Riot Live & Special Guests
More a performance piece than a band, Pussy Riot occupy a unique space in the art world. But don’t let the fact that you don’t know a single one of their songs stop you from seeing this show. It’s their first visit to Australia, and, depending on what they have planned, it could be the last. Nobody knows quite what to expect or who the special guests might be, but it’s certain to be memorable.
March 7, Maths Lawns at the University of Adelaide
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The closest you’ll get to walking in someone else’s shoes, The Maze replicates the feeling of navigating dark city streets as a woman. This interactive work is performed for an audience of one, who experiences the fear and isolation that most women feel every time they walk home alone. It’s a vital lesson in empathy for anyone who has never experienced the sexism that women and non-binary people are subjected to every day. Read our interview with the writer and director here.
March 8–9 and March 12–16, Secret Location
Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir: Earthalujah
As part of the RCC Fringe (the new-look Royal Croquet Club) takeover of Adelaide Uni, Bonython Hall will host a lecture with a difference. Swapping a lectern for a pulpit, Reverend Billy’s old-school testifying comes with a radical anti-consumerist message. The result is guerrilla theatre that combines fiery sermons, powerful gospel singing and “cash register exorcisms”.
March 1–3 and March 6–10, Bonython Hall at the University of Adelaide
This poignant one-woman show explores the emotional weight that we attach to everyday objects. Sifting through the remnants of her neighbours’ house, award-winning playwright Molly Taylor unpacks the meaning and myths behind each item, chronicling the couple’s life through the catalogue of their possessions.
February 12–March 3, Holden Street Theatres
Many circus acts attempt to incorporate a narrative thread into their performances, but few have as many stories to draw upon as Casus Circus. Australia’s only Indigenous contemporary circus ensemble explores Indigenous identity in modern Australia in this show that fuses circus, stand-up, dance and monologue.
February 15–March 3, Ukiyo at Gluttony
Fringe Wives Club: Glittery Clittery
This trio of seasoned performers (Victoria Falconer, Tessa Waters and Rowena Hutson), one of the highlights of last year’s Fringe, prove that sequins, comedy and fighting the patriarchy are a winning combination. Or as they put it, “It’s a motherfucking party, but it’s also educational.” Timely, thought-provoking and above all hilarious, exploring gender politics has never been this fun.
Feb 15–March 3, Le Cascadeur at The Garden of Unearthly Delights
Feb 28–March 1, The Pocket at Stirling Fringe
The Docile Manifesto
Local provocateur and philosopher Luke Toop has a long history of challenging Fringe audiences. After a long absence, his latest show evokes the ABC TV series Utopia, satirising corporate culture and the emptiness at the heart of buzzword-heavy presentations. As a bonus, audiences have the chance to gain a Microcertification as a Docile Practitioner.
February 20, February 27 and March 1, Digital Hub at City Library
The Long Pigs
In a surreal world that could have been created by Jean-Pierre Jeunet or Tim Burton, this very black comedy pushes the boundaries of physical theatre. Killer clowns dissect concepts of individuality and difference as they search for the one victim that has eluded them. Be prepared for audience interaction.
March 6–10 and March 13–17, Tandanya Theatre
The Invisible City
Enter a private home in the CBD and use all of your senses to explore some of the untold stories of the city. Performed around a kitchen table, this is a journey to places that can’t be found on any map.
March 8–10, Secret Location
The Adelaide Fringe runs from February 15 to March 17. Tickets are available online.