Melbourne Fringe Top 10

The 32nd Melbourne Fringe Festival is the biggest yet, with over 400 shows to choose from. Running for 19 days: 17 September – 5 October 2014, Melbourne Fringe Festival incorporates dance, comedy, furniture, film, art installations and more.

Although the Fringe Hub remains in North Melbourne Town Hall, the Fringe Festival program reaches beyond the limits of 3051, into the city and beyond – including some events at The Substation in Newport.

We took a closer look at the shows on offer, and here are our top ten.

1. Just Us – Mitchell Jones

Just Us is an immersive piece of live art that utilises the ground breaking form of promenade theatre to transform audiences from passive spectators to active participants. 

Set inside a functioning courtroom, it uses elements of theatre, circus, dance, puppetry, music and visuals to present a satirical observation of Australia’s justice system and those entangled within it.

Directed by award-winning artist Mitch Jones and set in the post-industrial grandeur of the Substation, Just Us features the impressive talents of over 30 performers, writers and artists. 

2. Alice in Wonderland Jr

Journey down the rabbit hole with this enchanting musical and enter Alice’s Wonderland of talking flowers, mad tea parties and grinning Cheshire Cats.

This fast-paced stage adaptation of Alice in Wonderland features updated dialogue and new musical arrangements, packing in ten choreographed and beautifully costumed musical dance numbers.

A high-energy family friendly presentation that will have both kids and parents entertained by their favourite nonsensical characters.

3. Glamping with Bob and the Pins

Meet Bobby and the Pins – a cheeky and talented barbershop quartet with their feet firmly planted in the 50s.

The group’s Melbourne Fringe debut sees them stranded in the Australian outback and forced to invent the concept of ‘glamping’ long before the term was actually coined.

Expect acapella harmonies, vintage chic, rude jokes and plenty of bush disasters.

4. Day of the Dead

The subject of death is not an easy one to crack jokes about, but Cath Styles has taken her experience of losing three loved ones in one year and transformed it into a light-hearted and touching performance.

This one-woman stand up show explores the valleys of life and death, and finds the humour in dying last wishes, sobbing fits and cancer treatments.

Both touching and funny, expect to cross the boundaries between life, loss, and Cath’s love of tacos.

5. Lords of Luxury

Lords of Luxury is an endearingly haphazard comedy group made up of four tuxedo-clad comedians with an affinity for ridiculous sketches.

The sketches are silly and the puns are outrageous but you can’t help but share their infectious enthusiasm as they bounce off each other’s hilarity.

The Lords will be taking over The Imperial Hotel from 17 – 20 September offering witty sketches, cheeky banter and bursts of improvisation.

6. The Birdmann in Momentous Timing

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing is a one-man romantic comedy vaudeville mystery with cutting edge one-liners and avant-garde acts.

Internationally acclaimed Trent Baumann (The Birdmann) draws on a variety of finely-tuned skills including escapology, circus trickery, burlesque and cupcake-eating to produce a show that intertwines comedy with mystery.

Direct from a tour of Montreal, Edinburgh and Alice Springs, don’t miss this hour of hysterical, if not bizarre, fun.


Want to be mesmerised by contemporary dance? Amy Macpherson’s SOMA tests the limits of the human body by exploring it at its most malleable, most strong, and most fragile.

This solo contemporary dance work uses contortion technique to take the audience on a journey from the very beginning of movement impulse to the furthest point of the performer’s physicality.

8. 8 First Dates

Every year the Fringe Festival hosts a one-off music event in the Fringe Club that aims to give music fans something they haven’t seen before – this is that event.

8 First Dates is a one-night-only special event featuring eight of Melbourne’s best indie music artists performing new and never heard before tracks exclusively for the Fringe Club audience.

Join Aussie indie legends Angie Hart (Frente), Jae Laffer (The Panics), J. Walker (Machine Translations), Ainslie Wills, Charles Jenkins, Mikelangelo and James O’Brien (Darling James/The Boat People) for an intimate night of live indie-pop.

9. All Out of Pride

Geraldine Quinn (Spicks & Specks, Adam Hills Tonight) and Michael de Grussa (Perth Fringe World People’s Choice Award 2013) want to seduce you with great songs that you’re ashamed to love.

This charming duo will have you giggling and singing along to those tunes that always seem to come out on karaoke night. Don’t worry – you already know all the words.

10. The Fringe Club

Last but certainly not least, this list would not be complete without including the beloved Fringe Club.

Home of the Opening Night Party and host to 12 nights of amazing performances, this is the place to digest and unwind after taking in a show or two.

A great spot for a drink and a dance, the Fringe Club is worth sticking around for, because no night here is ever the same. Many Fringe Club events are free – check the program for details.