Top 10 picks for Auckland Fringe Festival 2017

Auckland Fringe, Auckland’s quirkiest arts Festival, returns with a bang, with its fringiest line-up yet! Bringing you the best of Auckland’s incredible arts scene, as well as a bunch of international show-stoppers. With a whopping 92 events, across 45 spaces and over 480 artists involved, how could you possibly choose what to see? Well, leave it to us. To give you a helping hand we’ve put together our Top 10 must see shows that have got us talking. The Fringe is set to paint the town fluro orange from 21 February – 12 March 2017 and we can’t wait!

1. PERFORMANCE SALON | 21 February – 11 March | The Basement Theatre

The Basement Studio (the upstairs area) is transformed into a Performance Salon – think Moulin Rouge at the beach – where works of all kinds will pop up around you as you lounge, drink, and explore. It’s only $5 for a ticket in, and you can come and go over 4 hours each night. It’s like a party meets performance art, and you can wander around with drinks and all. A really cool initiative led by the theatre to get heaps of artists trying out ideas.

2. REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN. | 15 February – 11 March | The Basement Theatre

Alice Birch’s REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN. is a subversive, provocative and darkly comic manifesto produced by contemporary theatre company Silo Theatre. A series of wrecking-ball vignettes shatters the invisible power of language in shaping the world around us. In a supposed “post-feminist” world, where even our own Prime Minister Bill English declares he doesn’t know what feminism is, this play demands we look deeper at the ways in which patriarchy is woven through the fabric of our society. Wild, fearless and playful, this is feminism at its messy edge. A top script done by a top company!

3. SPOKEN WORD SHOWCASE | 23 February | Aotea Square as part of Auckland Live Summer in the Square

Starting from 8pm, this open-air event features a line-up of some of NZ’s hottest spoken word artists. From Auckland poetry slam stars Carrie Rudzinski, Ken Arkind and Mohamed Hassan will take to the stage. Christchurch-based poet Andrew Coyle, who has twice represented Christchurch at the National Poetry Slam finals is heading up, along with Doc Drumheller. Get charged up by the rhythmic lyricism of these word magicians.

4. WE MAY HAVE TO CHOOSE | 21 – 25 February | The Basement Theatre

This stunning solo performance – 621 opinions in 45 minutes – is a fantastical ride through the subconscious mind, brought to NZ by Aussie Emma Hall and Aussie/Kiwi Prue Clark. The show is an international Fringe favourite, scooping up 3 awards and 8 nominations in Australia and Edinburgh. Accompanied by a musical score by indie-electric folk artist SS. Sebastian (Brett Harris), We May Have to Choose is a funny, withering, and moving piece about the fallibility of thought in our quest to solve the riddles of our world.

5. ENTER THE NEW WORLD | 21 – 25 February | The Basement

This experience really takes on the Fringe ethos with “An unauthorised personal audio adventure of a lifetime”. Painstakingly created to accompany your grocery shopping, experience a guerrilla adaptation of the Pocahontas story in your own local (brand nonspecific) supermarket. Featuring original songs and familiar characters. Open your eyes to the wonders of The New World. (You can even do your grocery shopping while taking part!)

6. BUFFERING THEATRE|25th-26th February| Backbeat

Writing a play takes forever. Like, longer than a day. Ain’t nobody got time for that! So on the morning of each show one comedian will begin writing a play and that evening they will be joined by a rotating cast of funny people for a live unfinished script reading. Then it’s up to all of them to make up an ending. Theatre descends into improv as five comedians travel unchartered territory in search of a climax. 4 nights of fun and silliness for the price of whatever you think it is worth!

7. CATACULAR |26th February | Barista Cats

For all you crazy cat lovers out there, boy does the Fringe have a surprise for you! Not only do you get to see a cat show but you also get a whole 20 minutes of kitty cuddles! This catacular show will certainly leave you purring for more.

8. CASTLES | 28 February – 4 March | The Basement Theatre

Castles is an absurd collage of text, movement, virtuosic dance, and song, performed by one very energetic and graceful dancer. Eliza Sanders uses it all to create a hive of strangely interconnected questions and musings, from the silly to the sublime. Previously nominated for Best In Fringe, Outstanding Performer and Most Innovative Work, and winner of Most Promising Emerging Company. “Weird, wonderful, hilarious and highly recommended.” – Theatreview

9. LOOKOUT 8 – 10 March | Q Theatre
This interesting concept teams audience members up with kids from a local primary school to have a one-on-one encounter in a high-rise building overlooking Auckland city.
Previously launched in the UK by London-based artist Andy Field, This is a chance to engage with someone in the city who you might not normally meet, and chat about a future world you may or may not share. A reflective and charming experience.

10. SPIRIT HOUSE | 16 February – 5 March | The Herald Theatre

Don’t miss your chance to see iconic NZ actor and screen legend Ian Mune return to the stage in this premiere from award-winning theatre-makers Carl Bland and Ben Crowder. Rich in visual storytelling, expect bodies to emerge from water, cobras to haunt their victims, housecats to attack. Spirit House will be vivid, wild, entertaining, dramatic, beautiful, funny, provocative and will see this visionary company yet again attempt to stage the impossible.

 Auckland Fringe Festival runs from 21 February – 12 March.

Shows selected by Lauren Sanderson.