Melbourne Fringe artists highlight personal mental and physical health

This year’s Melbourne Fringe sees many artists drawing on their personal mental and physical health issues to create shows that bring their hardships to light in a positive and expressive way.

Write Hard and Clear About What Hurts is a dark comedy from a reclusive introvert. Lucy has taken to therapy, after years of keeping her mouth shut, and suddenly she can’t stop talking. Grappling with ideas about death, love, loneliness, and how Narcissus has become our generation’s poster boy, this therapy session encourages audiences to leave their shame and sense of decorum at the door. Performed by Lucy Moir (The Dressmaker and Lion) and Debra Lawrence (Please Like Me). With just a couch and a ticking clock, two women discuss heartbreak and ego in a hilarious attempt to find meaning in life. Showing at Fringe Hub: Lithuanian Club-The Loft (22-29 September).

Crash Pad (pictured right) is a new work by Rhian Wilson that looks at what it’s like to be a young woman who’s not healthy but not dying, and the friendship that can be fostered through shared experience. Cel and Holly appear to be healthy, but underneath they are suffering from invisible illnesses that affect their day to day function. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Endometriosis cause them to bond in the refuge of Holly’s apartment when they can’t handle the physical demands expected of a young social life. Crash Pad seeks to open the door into the somewhat mundane realism of chronic illness, while celebrating what can come out of it – a friendship stronger than any setback. Showing at The Butterfly Club (17-23 September).

Whiplash (pictured left) sees award-winning Scott Wings wrestle with his head, heart and masculinity. His brain doesn’t agree with him and his heart wants to escape in this hilarious and blistering portrayal of modern masculinity bottled into neurotic poetry and movement. Whiplash is an ode to the battles for identity and the way we construct our self-image. Whiplash is a battle for the body: Saying yes to too much ice cream and sleeping in, saying no to too much ice cream and going to the gym. A proud proclamation of “I don’t know! Help?” Scott Wings was the winner of the Best New Theatre award at Adelaide Fringe. Showing at Dancehouse (25-30 September).

Lovely Mess comes to Melbourne Fringe after a sold-out season in the 2018 Festival of Live Art. Melbourne-based independent theatre company Riot Stage and award-winning projection artist Yandell Walton bring their collaboration with ten young performers (ages 9 – 21) to put mental health at the forefront and examine the impact of childhood memories in order to connect with an adult audience. Performers share real experiences of shame and invite audiences to do the same. Combining projections, physical theatre, and storytelling, Lovely Mess is ultimately about connection, community, and growing up. Showing at Fringe Hub: Arts House Warehouse (14-16 September).

Melbourne Fringe is a big, bold and playful celebration of independent art that takes over the city from 13 to 30 September 2018. See established and emerging artists stand side-by-side to make Fringe a fun, affordable way to experience art in Melbourne – are you game? Tickets on sale at