Queer arts reign supreme at Melbourne Fringe Festival

With dangerously high levels of anarchic comedy, glittering cabaret, campy theatrics and drop-dead gorgeous drag, Melbourne Fringe Festival’s LGBTQIA+ program is bursting at the sequined seams from 12–29 September. This year’s festival also features an increased number of trans and gender diverse artists.

Transgression is the world premiere show from human rights advocate Jacob Thomas which explores the lived experience of being gender diverse after Australia passed marriage equality. Thomas has done a TED talk, met the royal family several times and been super active in advocacy for gender diversity. Their show comes to the Meat Market 24–28 September.

A brown, neurodiverse non-binary, pansexual walks into a room. Does a time rift open up with all these converging realities? Can all these realities really exist at once? There’s only one way to find out. NEUROMANTIC – a queer cabaret (pictured left) is the first solo show from prolific Melbourne based tattooist/performance artist Cynthia Sobraty – a palpable collision of theatre, storytelling, poetry, original music, drag, childhood and fantasy. 18–21 and 26 & 27 September, Brunswick Mechanics Institute.

Tattoos are a proud reflection of identity, diversity and non-conformity for many queer and neuro-diverse people. A new work by queer artist and activist Alison Bennett, SKIN, takes the form of a large-scale projection that wraps the skin of tattooed neuro-diverse LGBTQIA+ people around the walls of Trades Hall (7–11pm) and the digital facade of Fed Square (regular screenings, 24hrs a day) from 12–29 September.

Building on the success of their sold out one-night-only show at Midsumma 2019, Ginger and Tonic will now grace Fringe, putting their signature spin on a glittery canon of iconic hits in Gays of our Lives. They bring their all-girl acapella celebration of queer artists and pride anthems from 9–15 September to The Butterfly Club.

After winning awards and five-star reviews around the globe, as well as Best Production and Best Ensemble (cabaret) at the 2018 Green Room Awards, shining stars of Australian queer culture Yummy bring their legendary cabaret back to Melbourne Fringe. Yummy Deluxe runs 12–29 September at Fringe Hub: Trades Hall.

Boldly dancing where no idiot has danced before, Fringe favourites and Melbourne’s only queer comedy troupe PO PO MO CO present their latest show. Directed by Maude Davey, Flutter and Flounce is a neo-vaudevillian delicatessen of serious stupidity and sly snipers: a queer theft of life’s dramatic moments, dethroned and clown-ified. 21–29 September, Fringe Hub: Trades Hall.

Award-winning theatre-makers Lou Wall and Jean Tong (Lou Wall’s Drag Race, Romeo Is Not The Only Fruit) will also return to join forces with one of Australia’s most absurd playwrights, Kirby Medway, for the world premiere of an electric new play. Oh No! SatanStole my Pineal Gland! (pictured right) is an ode to every awkward, hellish conversation you’ve ever endured to make a friend. 21–29 September, Fringe Hub: Trades Hall.

Melbourne Fringe was established in 1982 as an annual open access festival that champions cultural democracy and supports anyone to participate in the arts. Fringe programs include the annual design exhibition Fringe Furniture, participatory public art commissions, children’s programs as well as its First Nations program Deadly Fringe, disability and Deaf arts programs, mentorships, workshops, residencies, forums, awards and touring support.

Melbourne Fringe Festival
Festival dates: 12-29 September 2019
Tickets on sale: 9 August at www.melbournefringe.com.au