Thousands attend shows - viva la Fringe!

Dunedin Fringe Festival director Paul Smith (left) with Vague de Cirque publicist Miguel Nitis at the Dunedin Railway Station last night. Photo by Shawn MacAvinue.
Dunedin Fringe Festival director Paul Smith (left) with Vague de Cirque publicist Miguel Nitis at the Dunedin Railway Station last night. Photo by Shawn MacAvinue.
The Dunedin Fringe festival is finished and it tested audiences and pushed boundaries.

At the award ceremony at the Porters' Lounge at the Dunedin Railway Station last night,

about 90 people celebrated the standout artists of the festival.

Festival director Paul Smith said he was ''thrilled'' thousands of people attended the more than 40 events performed by about 200 artists.

Judges attended every event and criteria for the 14 awards included the level of innovation, experimentation, standard of presentation and audience engagement.

Vague de Cirque, of Montreal, won best of fringe for the circus performance Carousel and Clothesline.

I believe the world's best fringe festivals have rampant nudity and Dunedin Fringe did not disappoint, with men swirling nipple tassels and a burlesque dancer removing her merkin to imitate Adolf Hitler.

The Gore band the Plot Holes' first performance of Welcome to Erection Capital entertained three large Globe Theatre audiences and Auckland comedian Tarun Mohanbhai was a revelation.

The rumour is he will bring two shows to the festival next year.

The risks artists took need recognition, including the bravery of Auckland actor Lara Fischel-Chisholm performing This Is My Real Job to full houses at her family home.

Wellington couple playwright Ralph McCubbin Howell and director Hannah Smith took a financial risk by hiring the Playhouse Theatre and subletting it to artists, which provided a hub for artists to mingle and hold impromptu shows.

The rumour is the couple could return and do the same next year. Fingers crossed.

Several shows sold out including NosferatuPuppet Fiction, This Is My Real Job, Nick Rado, James Nokise, Streets and Lures, Cut.Paste.Collaborate and The Bookbinder.

Bravo. Viva la Fringe.

Fringe festival winners

• Best of Fringe: Carousel and Clothesline, Vague de Cirque (Montreal).
• Best comedy: Let's Talk About the Golliwogs, James Nokise (Wellington).
• Best dance and circus: Carousel and Clothesline, Vague de Cirque (Montreal).
• Best music and cabaret: Streets and Lures, Leyton Glen (Dunedin).
• Best theatre: MilkMilkLemonade, Hurdy Dur Productions (Dunedin).
• Best visual art and film: Never and Forever, Anya Sinclair (Dunedin).
• Best Reels on Wheels short film: Light, Jade Streat (Dunedin).
• Best poster design: Hair of the Dog Productions (Wellington).
• Most original concept: The Road Less Travelled, the Margaret Freeman Gallery.
• Most tour-ready: Finding Hephzibah, Urban Heart Productions (Dunedin).
• Most promising work: Welcome to Erection Capital, The Plot Holes (Gore).
• Community engagement: Elephants in the Garden of Gethsemane: A play, Jay Williams performed, Phoenix NZ Performing Arts (Auckland).
• Standout performer: Samin Son (Wellington), for Work and Play.
• Best production design: Streets and Lures, Leyton Glen (Dunedin).

Fringe replies

Hi Gerald, Sorry to hear of your difficulties. The comedy events you mention were at Ombrello's, which hosted quite a range of comedy events. The venue was managed by the artists and their production company rather than the Fringe Festival (most of the venues in the Festival are run by the artists themselves). There seems to have been some confusion over the capacity of the venue. If you would like me to take this issue up with the artists concerned please contact me on Regarding the Community Gallery location - I have just checked our map on our website and it is correct (see #1 on key). Regards, Paul Smith.

Fringe Festival 2014

From where I sit I had a very different experience with the Fringe Festival as I booked 5 events over 3 days and only managed to get to see 2 of the 5. Facilities for 'Lets Talk About Golliwogs' and 'How Did We Survive the 90s' were inadequate. More tickets were sold than there were seats available for these two events. The choice was stand or leave. 'The Way We Fall' was held at the Community Gallery, 20 Princes Street. I am still trying to find the Community Gallery. The Fringe website shows it on the upper right hand side of the Octagon, where there is only lawn and trees, while Google Maps puts it on the opposite side of Princess Street in the council offices. Before the Festival organisers pat themselves on the back these problems need to be addressed.  

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