Excitement builds as Fringe nears

Song Media performers (from left) Nele Siezen, of Christchurch, Sophie Ewert, of Melbourne, and...
Song Media performers (from left) Nele Siezen, of Christchurch, Sophie Ewert, of Melbourne, and Jola Siezen, of Christchurch, startle the locals at St Joseph's Cathedral in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Colourful characters have been flocking to the city for the Dunedin Fringe Festival, which starts tomorrow.

The cast of Christchurch performance group Song Media took the opportunity to have a look around Dunedin yesterday.

"I love coming to Dunedin for the Fringe," Sophie Ewert, of Melbourne, said.

Song Media delivers its fusion of cabaret and performance art in Portraits - The Woman Outside in the Fortune Theatre Studio at 7pm tomorrow to Saturday, with a 2pm matinee on Sunday.

Festival director Paul Smith predicted 11 days of colour and fun.

"The opening event in the Octagon [tomorrow] is going to be very exciting. There's an experimental noise machine of a band called Eye, who play really intense improvised music. Then we have Dr Glam and his hang drum and the climax at 1pm is a cannon being fired near the Robbie Burns statue by a cannoneer from the Black Powder Club," he said yesterday.

A highlight of the festival would be the world premiere of Lily, a dance work about Dunedin ballet teacher Lily Stevens.

"Lily is going to be a huge production and it's going to be fascinating to see a big dance work on the Fortune Theatre main stage.

"It will be the first time I know of that a dance work has been held there" [on the main stage].

Other festival highlights include The Lines of Flight Festival of Experimental Music and Film from tomorrow night to Saturday at Chicks Hotel, featuring Dunedin sound experimentalists The Dead C.

"Getting The Dead C is a major coup. They hardly ever play much any more and they've really come out of retirement for the Fringe," Mr Smith said.

The Busking Blitz in the Octagon from midday till 4pm on Saturday would also provide plenty of entertainment for young and old.

"The calibre of artists this year is very, very high. This is world-class, cutting-edge theatre and dance that you only get to see in a fringe festival. These artists are extremely talented and they've been working very hard on their shows and they deserve an audience," Mr Smith said.

The 2009 Dunedin Fringe Festival runs until April 5.


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