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The Melbourne Fringe festival kicked off on Wednesday, and no amount of unseasonable chill could deter performers from some of the 475 events in the program – the biggest in the festival’s 41-year history – from bearing almost all in the name of self-promotion.
Front row: Thomas Gorham (left) and Liam Dummer (GODZ); Standing (from left) Ed Gamester (Mythos Ragnarok), Jordan Twartz and Callan Harris (GODZ), Kween Kong (Club Fringe: Klub Kong), Themme Fatale (Le Freak) and Tayla Lemon (Matador).Credit: Joe Armao
Combining togas and yoga poses were Thomas Gorham and Liam Dummer (front), who get all bent out of shape in the Mount Olympus-meets-acrobatics circus show GODZ. Their co-stars Jordan Twartz and Callan Harris are behind them, in red and not much at all respectively, and to the left is Ed Gamester, one of the stars of Mythos: Ragnarok, a UK import that combines Norse legend and wrestling to reputedly spectacular effect.
Kween Kong, runner-up on season two of Ru Paul’s Drag Race Down Under, is in the gold and blue, and in her very own one-night-only drag show at Trades Hall on October 14.
In the leopard print is Themme Fatale, part of the cast of trans, queer, disabled and sex-worker performers starring in cabaret show Le Freak, which promises “sideshow, swords, stilettos, sequins and the circus reimagined”. And at the right is Matador’s Tayla Lemon.
In a program packed with the wild, the weird and the potentially wonderful, some of the standouts are bound to be the new show by ABC radio presenter Sammy J, a karaoke tribute to the work of parody musician Weird Al Yankovic (though, sadly, the man himself is not expected to make an appearance), a revealing no-holds-barred “interview” with JK Rowling (as performed by trans comedian Anna Piper Scott), and a laser and light show on the river featuring the music of Orchestra Victoria.
The festival was launched by Lord Mayor Sally Capp outside the State Library of Victoria.Credit: Joe Armao
On this day, though, the star attraction was the giant yellow swing erected outside the State Library of Victoria.
Youngsters Sabine and Meliha were among the first to try it out, but they’ll be swapping play duties for work from the weekend, as part of a 16-strong team of kids who will host riders and present them with a celebratory sultana at the end of their experience. The eight-metre-high swing is in the CBD until Sunday, after which it will be relocated to Footscray for the rest of the festival.
The giant eight-metre swing erected for all comers to play on proved an irresistible draw for youngsters Sabine and Meliha.Credit: Joe Armao
Fringe runs until October 22, with 13 shows for families and more than 50 free events on offer.
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