Melbourne Fringe Festival 2014: Three recommendations

BookPosterMelbHot on the heels of my review of the Richard III production in London (starring a brilliantly evil Martin Freeman) I thought I might offer up some recommendations to Melburnians while the Fringe Festival is upon us.

Firstly, and belatedly, I vastly enjoyed Dan Willis’s The Walking Dead. While it’s full of spoilers for the TV show (mainly, a litany of the dead) it is very funny, and Dan knows his stuff. Plus I got to confess my own plans for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse… because what else do you do with an idle hour on the tram except work out what you’re going to do when the shambling undead come chewing at your door?

Unfortunately, the last show is Thursday 26 September – but the Fringe website indicates it’ll lurch to life again one more time on 5 October. The show’s on at the Court House Hotel in North Melbourne.

The next show on a spooky theme which I loved was Who’s Afraid of the Dark? presented by the comic talents of Watson – Tegan Higginbotham, Adam McKenzie and their crew. Rock up to the old Watchhouse next to the Old Melbourne Gaol for what starts as a night of spooky stories and turns into… something else. It’s very funny and very dramatic in turns, as well as very spooky, and I will confess that at one point I squealed like a frightened little babby. This one’s on for another week, so there’s plenty of time to go along and pretend you’re not scared.

Finally, there is the utterly delightful New Zealand show The Bookbinder, by Trick of the Light Theatre, on at the Lithuanian Club in North Melbourne. Ralph McCubbin Howell is the bookbinder-storyteller who sits behind a large desk and proceeds to use lampshades, lights, paper figures, shadow puppets and a pop-up book to spin a spooky yarn about the dangers of cutting corners. Howell’s performance, taking on all the characters, is wonderful, and the story he and director Hannah Smith is a very Neil Gaiman-esque tale involving young characters, whimsy and horror. The blend of storytelling techniques, the warmth of the performance and the charm-and-creepiness of the story make this my favourite of the three, though it’s a close run thing.

So if you haven’t ventured out yet this festival, and you like a touch of the macabre as I do, one of these three (or indeed all three) is a good place to start.

Book your tickets: