Melbourne Fringe 2012: The Story So Far

Melbourne Fringe 2012: The Story So Far

I don’t know why, but all of my images have uploaded upside down in this post.  It’s quite strange, but I am unable to fix it with HTML, and will therefore have to wait until I am at my computer [as I am updating this with my phone].  I apologise for the weirdness.

Beer and wine tasting at Little Creatures on Brunswick St.

This is my fifth year of volunteering at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, and it’s just as much fun as ever.  Working behind the bar, I get to enjoy all of the Fringe Club festivities, while really feeling a part of it all.  This year, the Fringe Bar is also the first ‘retail’ work I’ve done since I quit my service station job six months ago, and it almost makes me not hate customer service.  Fringe patrons are actually nice, you see.  The bar itself is quite basic – just standard mixers, bottled beer and a very limited wine selection – which makes it perfect for someone like myself, whose only hospitality experience is from volunteer work.

For the past few years, Melbourne Fringe have had a partnership with the Little Creatures brewery, and Innocent Bystander wines.  This not only means that the bar selection is supporting locally owned companies – but also that the bar staff actually know a bit about what they’re serving.  Little Creatures offer Fringe volunteers tasting sessions in which we get to learn about each type of beer, cider and wine.  It’s also a great opportunity to catch up with fellow bar volunteers – we have quite a few repeat offenders who come back year after year.

There are still five days left of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, so it’s far from over yet, but I thought I’d share with you my experiences so far.

The Launch.
Often past volunteers are invited to help out at the Melbourne Fringe Media Launch, holding drink trays and distributing programs.  This year I worked on the door, counting people as they came in and out.  It wasn’t the most mentally stimulating of jobs, but it did mean that I could enjoy the entertainment without worrying about dropping a tray full of champagne glasses.

Fringe Furniture.
Held at the Abbotsford Convent, Fringe Furniture is an annual exhibition that celebrates innovation in design.  Despite my tenure as a volunteer, I’d actually never ventured over there until this year, when I was rostered to work at the Fringe Furniture Launch.  I didn’t get much of an opportunity to have a proper look at the actual designs, but if you’re interested in art and furniture then it’s definitely something that I’d recommend checking out – especially as it’s free!

Opening Night.
Opening Night in the Fringe Club is always guaranteed to be a bit of a party.  This year’s show was hosted by Josh Earl, who provided some excellent comedy songs about libraries and grammar.  Guests included Poet Laureate Telia Nevile, who shouted along to some death-metal-like music about the correct use of apostrophes, and Lessons With Luis, who performed their “Fun Fun Fun” song.  Obviously the grammar nerd in me was rather entertained.  Some of the other acts weren’t as wonderful, but I can’t actually remember who they were, and I’m not going to look them up because I’d prefer to focus on the ones that were good.  Anyway, post-performance tunes were provided by the lovely Mr Andrew McClelland, giving me an excuse to dance while collecting empty glasses from the dancefloor.

The view from the bar at Ball!

I don’t like football.  I especially do not like the AFL Grand Final.  Therefore I was a little annoyed to be rostered on for Melbourne Fringe’s first ever Grand Final-related event.  Ball! was marketed as a comedy call of the game, but ended up being more like a room full of people watching it and then talking about things during the ad breaks.  There were a couple of other elements to it, including something to do with hotdogs, but it really wasn’t suited to a non-football fan.  The highlight of the event was when they played the chorus of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” every time a goal was scored.  That bit was good.  The rest, not so much.

Die Roten Punkte’s Battle Royale.
I’m not quite sure what the Battle Royale was supposed to be, and thanks to Otto and Astrid Rot’s weird faux-German accents I can’t even tell you half the people who were in it without looking them up.  What I do remember is a memorable karaoke performance from the cast of Spontaneous Broadway and Tegan Higginbotham, somebody not knowing the words to Pulp’s “Common People” [which is a song that everybody should know the words to], and somebody else dancing to Steps’ “5, 6, 7, 8” while wearing a leopard-print g-string.  It was a fun and busy night, where for the most part I was too busy serving drinks to watch the performances, but the music before and afterwards had me dancing, which is always a good bit of fun.  Semi-drunk people love a dancing bartender, trust me.

Watching a blooper reel after Late Night Letters and Numbers.

Late Night Letters and Numbers.
This is actually the only show [so far] that I’ve attended as a punter at this year’s festival.  Held in the Fringe Club on Sunday night, it was a free event for mathematical nerds and spelling nerds alike.  If you don’t know Late Night Letters and Numbers, it’s basically the same as the SBS show [which is based off the UK’s Countdown], except with comedians as the contestants.  They even had David Astle in dictionary corner!  It was a really fun night – and I’m not just saying that because I won a beer for unscrambling the word “cartoons”.

And that’s it so far!  Tonight I’m off to see Two Guys, a Girl, and a Microphone.  Hopefully later in the week I’ll be able to check out Andy McClelland’s Hang the DJ, before working at Shut Up & Dance in the Fringe Club on Friday night.  Maybe I’ll see you there?


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