There are this year over 700 Fringe World acts going down at more than 150 venues around WA, from the CBD to Geraldton to the yet-in-utero Elizabeth Quay. Launching in 2012, the festival has transformed a summer of waiting for Netflix to happen into a Garden of Perthly Delights, from which erupts considerably more tassels, bosom, audience trauma, failed comedians, and performance poets slamming together rhymes and themselves physically against walls.
The screening process for quality acts is less than rigorous. However, there were a handful of 2016 shows judged to be unsuitable by the Fringe World board of governors. Here are some of them.
BLAINE JACKSON CAN BALANCE A SPOON ON HIS COCK
Description: Young WAAPA drop-out attempts to balance a spoon on cock; arousal necessary to act’s success.
Board comments: Evidently not aroused during audition.
THE FRINGE WORLD WALRUS
Description: Old leathery man hopes to present fresh alternative to the Fringe World mermaids. Using floaties, he bobs about naked in a clear-glass cylindrical tank, splashing passers-by with a wrinkled tail made out of stapled-together flesh-coloured gym mats. Occasionally bellows COO-COO KA-CHOO!
Board comments: Tail began to disintegrate two minutes into audition. Applicant rapidly became opaque in the clouded water. Board member Jan felt a lot more comfortable after this point.
SUGAR SEBULBA DOES BURLESQUE
Description: Male dug takes off his podracing goggles to perform a tantalizingly saucy routine, showing Perth audiences the fabulous side to the force. Decked in high Acklay-leather boots and shimmering leotard, he performs a medley of original songs (‘Dirty Dugging’, ‘Isaac Eyes’) as well as cheeky covers (‘Wizened Criminal – Annie are you okay’).
Board comments: Bold and sensual. Would have made the cut if he had not tried to bribe us.
NAKED MEN WATCHING CRICKET
Description: Four pitch streakers – previous unknown to each other – unite to take to the sofa and watch a full game of cricket. Over the course of three hours, they bare all to eat hot dogs, drink cheap lager, and deny utterly they will ever deliver commentary as good as Richie Benaud. Guaranteed balls of century, with a “Mystery Guest” of Shane Warne.
Board comments: After hearing the premier describe Perth Fringe as the city’s cultural equivalent of Twenty20 at the festival’s opening, we regret not giving this show the thumbs up. Shane Warne should not have brought a stripper though.
Description: Nervous, blindfolded 20-year-olds in full-body lycra utility suits endeavour to make sounds out of several driftwood-sculpted instruments to perform Plain White T-esque songs on the endangered southern bettong, cordless phones, and refugees. An extended version of ‘Hey There Malala (what’s it like to be Pakistani)’ closes the set.
Board comments: Awkward, dull, and culturally inappropriate. No.
BOOM BOOM BOOM FLUME (I WANT YOU IN MY WOMB)
Description: A Venga Boys tribute band comes together to perform Flume-inspired 90s pop party hits from inside a set replica of a giant birth canal. One Direction fans dance around the sides stabbing at the air with pichforks, snapchatting the entire performance with their new iPhone 6s.
Board comments: A highly entertaining and inspired performance. Unfortunately, the birth canal set could not be accommodated by any of our venues.
MERVIN FLOSSWINKLE AND HIS BULLY BAND OF BOGANS WANT TO CHOP YOU UP AND IRON YOUR TONGUE MOTHERFUCKA
Description: A man sits in the dark and consumes a whole packet of red, blue and white crayons. He then screams dark versions of Peter Combes songs whilst violently Morris dancing with his “band” of Tony Abbott puppets upon the Australian flag.
Board comments: I would rather have my irises drilled out than see this show again. Performer has been successful in auditioning for a separate Fringe World act however. It is very similar.
Words and art by Kate Prendergast
You can find more of Kate’s art here.