Man with top hat leans over pedal lap guitar
Music, News, Reviews

Blues and bonhomie

Fringe World review: Lucky Oceans and Jessie Gordon Present: The Piano Has Been Drinking ⋅
De Parel Spiegeltent, 31 January ⋅
Review by Robert Housley ⋅

The spiegeltent and a billowing smoke machine established the blues club vibe and bonhomie oozed from the stage as four accomplished musicians comfortable in their own skins met for a night of the blues. They included pedal steel guitarist and Grammy award-winning legend Lucky Oceans, vocalist/MC Jessie Gordon, vocalist/ guitarist Bill Lawrie, and keyboardist extraordinaire Paul Gioia.

The appropriation of a Tom Waits staple for both the show title and its opening number – replaced with irreverent lyrics from the band – set the scene for a night of dusky blues and a smidgen of gospel. Most of the song list came from the early part of the 20th Century such as Bessie Smith’s suggestive 1930s hit I Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl, gospel track Shine on Me and the ageless classic St. James Infirmary.

Lawrie’s gravelly vocals epitomised blues authenticity; his bare feet augmenting his connection to the earth. Gordon’s delicate vocal delivery had plenty of grunt and range when required and her literal show stopper is worth the price of the ticket alone. Oceans and Gioia had their moments of exceptional musicianship each with solos bursting from behind the two vocal leads.

If sitting around with a group of friends sharing good music and banter is the kind of experience you enjoy then this Fringe show will suit you to a tee.

The Piano Has Been Drinking continues until February 3.

Pictured Top: Lucky Oceans on pedal steel guitar

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Orange and pink background, white dots and words Kiddo Kaos
Calendar, Children, Fringe World

Children: Aaaand Now For MORE … Kiddo Kaos!!

31 Jan – 2 Feb @ Subiaco Arts Centre ·
9 – 10 February @ De Parel Spiegeltent ·
Presented by Flash in the Can ·

Fringe World favourites, members of British improv comedy superstars Racing Minds and Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes, bring a mad mash of improv games, all with different crazy twists and all driven by suggestions from the young ‘uns.  Runner up: Best Children’s Event Fringe World 2016 with (Aaaand Now For … Kiddo Kaos!),  2019’s show will have MORE Kaos with new cast members: Vicki Hawley, Caitlin Campbell and  Tom GK, joining Racing Minds members Tom Skelton and Daniel Nils Roberts.

Stuffed with hilarious characters and LOTS of daft jokes, this mischievous show is whatever the kids want it to be! Expect improvised mayhem, physical comedy, music and merriment for  ages 7 – 12 and adults too! With the help of their junior conspirators, these dashing adventurers  create a show that is just as entertaining for adults in 2 venues: Subiaco Arts Centre (31 Jan, 1-2 Feb, 2:30pm) and De Parel Spiegeltent, The Woodside Pleasure Garden (9-10 Feb at 1:45pm)

Two shows at Subiaco Arts Centre (31 Jan and 1 Feb ) will be AUSLAN interpreted for the hearing impaired.

“My six-year-old son and I were both in hysterics at the show we attended which was entirely  due to the talent of the ensemble rather than any luck or divine intervention. So, whilst no  two shows could possibly bare the same outcomes, I’d find it impossible to conceive that each performance would be anything less than hilarious ( Australia)

“Impressive improvisational talent … fast-paced, inventive, jolly good fun” (The West Australian)

“Script-less brilliance, crowd captivated from start to finish” (Three Weeks, Edinburgh)

More info:

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7 performers
Calendar, Fringe World, Music, Performing arts, Theatre

Music: STYX

26 – 30 January @ De Parel Spiegeltent,
The Woodside Pleasure Garden ·
Presented by Second Body ·

STYX is a theatre concert about memory, neuroscience and the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Performed by a 7-piece band, STYX fuses recorded interviews, storytelling and original songs to take you on a journey to the underworld and back.

More info

Pictured: STYX, credit: Emma Sulley

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A man sitting at a piano holding up two albums by Kylie Minogue
Cabaret, Features, Fringe World, News, Performing arts

He should be so lucky

It all started with Madonna, says Michael Griffiths. The award-winning Australian cabaret performer has been touring Fringe festivals with his tribute acts since 2014. His new show Songs by Kylie traces the pop princess’s rise from Neighbours to music superstardom, and it’s coming to Fringe World 2019.

Ahead of the show, Griffiths took some time to answer Seesaw’s Q&A.

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be a musician?
Michael Griffiths: I fell in love with pop music at a very early age and grew up playing the piano by ear. Music has always been my first love but actually being on stage came a little later, more in my late teens when I started doing amateur musicals for fun, in my hometown Adelaide.

S: Tell us about your training…
MG: I trained in music composition in Adelaide first, before deciding that being in musicals looked like a far more glamorous means of employment. So I made the big move West to study at WAAPA in the late 90s. I then worked solidly in musicals for about 15 years, in a string of jukebox musicals – SHOUT!, We Will Rock You!, Priscilla and Jersey Boys – and that’s where I really developed my skills.

Cabaret is a newer venture and one which I’ve learned strictly on the job. The best part about it is being reunited with the piano after many years of neglect. There were about ten years where I barely touched one and decided I could no longer play.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
MG: I’m a travelling cabaret performer with a bunch of shows under my belt and have been on the Fringe circuit for over six years now. It all started with a Madonna tribute which I performed in Perth in 2014, followed by tributes to Annie Lennox, Cole Porter and Peter Allen. I’m inclined to steal Barry Humphries’ line and say that I’m “in the business of cheering people up”.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
MG: I love arriving in an old theatre with charm and history. They are very special places and I never tire of them. But at the risk of sounding super corny, making people happy is the best part about what I do.

S: Career highlight so far?
MG: Performing at London’s Royal Albert Hall, on Elton John’s piano with a mirror ball from Kylie Minogue’s Christmas party,  wins hands down.

S: Career lowlight?
MG: Corporate gigs sometimes don’t go so well and I usually try to avoid them. I sang at a car yard launch – why on earth did I say yes to that? – a few years ago and it was like pulling teeth.

S: Funniest career moment so far?
MG: I’ve been Carlotta’s music director the last couple of years and have never laughed so much on stage. She’s a living legend and gets away with absolute murder.

S: What made you decide to come back to Fringe World?
MG: I’ve been coming to Fringe World since 2014 and it’s always such a treat to be back in Perth. I lived on Beaufort St, Mt Lawley in the 90s before it was “zhuzhy” and Perth has been a second home to me ever since. Summer is the best time of year and I adore Perth audiences – they’re very generous and always up for a good time.

S: Tell us about “Songs by Kylie”
MG: I explore the back catalogue of Kylie Minogue, starting out with her time on Neighbours doing the “Locomotion”, teaming up with “hit factory” Stock, Aitken and Waterman, going it alone to find her own voice and her rebirth as the ultimate disco diva. The early songs are such guilty pleasures and so much fun to sing; they always put a big smile on my face. I re-imagine quite a few familiar songs too, so if you’re a Kylie fan like me, there’s some surprises in store. Some songs, such as “Better The Devil You Know”, are pop perfection and you don’t mess with them.

S: What’s your favourite part of the playground?
MG: I love a big long slippery dip 🙂

You can catch Michael Griffiths: Songs by Kylie at De Parel Spiegeltent @ The Woodside Pleasure Garden, January 29 – February 3.

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Sugar Blue Burlesque: Instinct
Cabaret, Calendar, Fringe World, Performing arts

Cabaret: Instinct

12 – 17 February @ De Parel Spiegeltent
@ The Woodside Pleasure Garden ·
Presented by Sugar Blue Burlesque ·

Inspired by the popular BBC series Planet Earth , Sugar Blue Burlesque present ‘Instinct’ a comedic burlesque show that explores Mother Nature at this year’s 2019 Fringe World Festival.

WA’s premier burlesque revival troupe Sugar Blue Burlesque will take you on a journey across the globe as they explore the hothouse of species our world has to offer. With a variety of acts that will tantalise your primal urges, ‘Instinct’ will unleash comedy, curiosities and discoveries that can’t be tamed.

More info

Pictured: Instinct, Photographer: Chayla Taylor, Artwork: KTB

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Michael Griffiths Songs by Kylie
Cabaret, Calendar, Fringe World, Performing arts

Cabaret: Michael Griffiths: Songs by Kylie

29 Jan – 3 Feb @ De Parel Spiegeltent @ The Woodside
Pleasure Garden ·
Presented by Michael Griffiths ·

Helpmann award winner Michael Griffiths explores the songs, stories and locomotion of Kylie Minogue. Put your hand on your heart and step back in time, Kylie wouldn’t change a thing!

“One infectious tune after another… one of Australia’s most prodigious cabaret talents” ***** The Advertiser, 2018.
“Kylie would be proud” ***** Broadway World, 2018

More info



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The Piano has been Drinking
Calendar, Fringe World, Music, Performing arts

Music: Lucky Oceans & Jessie Gordon Present: The Piano Has Been Drinking

31 Jan – 3 Feb @ De Parel Spiegeltent @ The Woodside
Pleasure Garden ·
Presented by Jessie Gordon ·

Join Grammy Award winning Lucky Oceans and his team of vagabonds for an evening of raucous barrelhouse blues. Featuring Spirit of Fringe winner Jessie Gordon alongside Paul Gioia and Bill Lawrie of Tin Dog fame, Barrelhouse is a band full of energy and spirit(s), bringing you the best juke joint blues this side of the 129th meridian.

More info


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Cabaret, Calendar, February 18, Performing arts

Fringe World: ICONIC – A Brief History of Drag

16-25 February @ De Parel Spiegeltent in the Pleasure Garden ∙
Presented by: IAN STROUGHAIR ∙

Join IAN STROUGHAIR, the man behind the makeup of the sensational VELMA CELLI, as he takes us on a passionate pilgrimage through the most iconic drag moments of film, stage and popular culture.

Following sell-out performances in the UK, ICONIC – A Brief History of Drag, comes to Fringe World 2018 for 10 nights only at De Parel Spiegeltent in the Pleasure Garden from February 16 – 25. A wonderfully witty colourful cabaret comprising a collective mix of the music that we all know and love, Velma’s flawless vocals will have you moving from crying with laughter to broken-hearted at the drop of a very stylish hat.

More info:

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Cabaret, Calendar, Comedy, February 18, Performing arts

Fringe World: Amelia Ryan: The Breast is Yet to Come

8 to 11 Feb @ 7.45pm @ De Parel Spiegeltent at The Pleasure Garden, James St, Northbridge •
Presented by Amelia Ryan •

WA Premiere

It’s been a big year for Amelia (Storm In A D Cup, Lady Liberty). Famous for her tales of debauchery, she’s now found herself domesticated; as a brand new Mum. Her sequins are spew rags and her fun bags are functional. No stranger to mess or the occasional vom, she’s got this one in the (nappy) bag…right? *cue panic

“Perfect” ★★★★★ Broadway World

70 minutes
Standard Price $30, Groups 6 + $27

More info:

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Cabaret, Calendar, February 18, Music, Performing arts

Fringe World: Livvy & Pete: The Songs of Olivia Newton John and Peter Allen

5-12 Feb @ 5:45PM @ De Parel Spiegeltent at The Pleasure Garden, James St, Northbridge •
Presented by Michael Griffiths •

Helpmann award winner Michael Griffiths and cabaret darling Amelia Ryan celebrate the songbooks of Aussie icons Olivia Newton-John and Peter Allen. From small-town beginnings to world domination, revisit all of their sing-a-long classics from Rio to Tenterfield, all the way to Xanadu and beyond. ”

Cabaret heaven” ★★★★★ Herald Scotland, 2016

As camp as maracas and tender as Pete’s gift to Livvy ‘I Honestly Love You’, there promises to be rollerskates, T-Birds, Pink Ladies, 80s jazzercise and an Oscar winning song to boot!

“Griffiths and Ryan are a perfect partnership… Ryan looked glorious in her many costume changes and Griffiths wore those famous Allen Hawaiian shirts with glittering ease” ★★★★★ Glam Adelaide, 2017

Full Price: $33.00
Group (6+): $29.00
18+ venue or accompanied by parent or legal guardian

More info:

Photo: Claudio Raschella

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