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Sydney Fringe Festival crowd
Photograph: Supplied/Sydney Fringe

The most intriguing shows to see at Sydney Fringe Festival

Our arts and culture editor shares her picks for the weird, wonderful and "fringe-iest" shows to see this month

Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross

September is here, the flowers are blooming, and the city’s largest independent arts festival is unfurling across the city. With more than 400 events taking over 12 festival hubs throughout the month, you might be wondering, “What the bloody hell do I see at Sydney Fringe?” Not to fret, I’m here to help. 

A Fringe Festival is a time to see something really out of the box – ideally in the glittering carnival atmosphere of a Spiegeltent, or in a repurposed nook in the basement of a heritage building. If you haven’t seen some acrobatics, some elaborate costumes, naked people, or something that made you cry – was there even a Fringe in town? 

Here are some picks from the Sydney Fringe program that have piqued my interest, and I reckon they’ll give you the most memorable, “fringe-iest” experiences of all. So download the Sydney Fringe App and get that wishlist started! 

Interesting picks from the Sydney Fringe program

See this if: You want to spend an hour on the couch having a laugh with your lesbian mate while they make sense of their mental breakdown (and maybe even leave you with some hope).

What’s the vibe? If they gave out awards for surviving the most eventful bad week ever, Jenna Suffern would be a gold medalist. Within a few days, Jenna was made redundant, got dumped (by someone they’d just signed a new lease with) and made their stand-up comedy debut. As one half of Two Queers Walk Into a Bar, Suffern has made a name for herself as the foremost lesbian comedian of Sydney’s Inner West. But in the debut of their first proper solo show, this Lexapro lez isn’t just being funny, she’s putting her private life on show (well, more than usual) and inviting you into her living room for a self-deprecating love letter to past relationships, Real Housewives franchises, getting better, feeling seen, and their elderly cat, Mam.

When and where? It’s Not Funny, It’s Private is playing in The Vault at KXT on Broadway from Sep 1-11. Tickets range from $30-$45 and you can snap yours up and find out more over here.

See this if: You’re ready to raise your voice and embark upon the path of "Clitoral Salvation".

What’s the vibe? This body positive celebration is led by a high priestess who will deliver her service from the mound, guiding you to the true nature of worship. Expect an uplifting, engorging evening of live music with songs for you to sing along with. They will touch upon the history and science so you will know “just where to find that Clitoris that you have been searching for”. Honestly, this is just the kind of kooky, experimental and uplifting experience everyone should tick off at a Fringe Fest at least once in their lives.

When and where? Church of the Clitori comes to the Cabaret Club - Club Room at the Castlereagh Boutique Hotel, from Sep 26-30. Tickets are $34 and you can clap down on a set over here.


See this if: You want a clever woman to artfully articulate all the tiny crises and “what ifs?”  that have kept you awake at night. 

What’s the vibe? This “queen of the high-functioning unhinged” has won us over with her stand-up shows at the Sydney Comedy Festival over the past few years. But for Sydney Fringe, “artiste in oversharing” Thalia-Joan is laying down the laugh-a-minute armour and getting vulnerable in this 55-minute one-woman show. The by-product of an anxious mind paired with an identity struggle left to its own devices in the early hours of the morning, Perspex traverses stories about love, the human experience and sliding doors moments. If the magnificently contained madness we’ve seen from her before is anything to go by, this is going to be a cracker (of a different kind). 

When and where? Perspex is playing at the Emerging Artists Sharehouse at Erskineville Town Hall from Sep 19-23. Tickets are $36 and you can snap yours up over here.

See this if: You’ve got a bone to pick with classism and the distribution of privilege and power.

What’s the vibe? Every night, while their Mistress is out, two maids perform a dark and dangerous roleplay. Casting off their aprons, they fantasise about murdering her and escaping the social confines of servitude. They never quite reach the climax of their fantasy, but their deadly game is quickly becoming an attractive reality. That Theatre Company makes a bold entrance by choosing this classic from French playwright and novelist Jean Genet for its debut production. It’s coming to the multi-level Meraki Arts Bar on Oxford Street, which means you have your whole night sorted with a pre-show dinner and post-show drinks all at the one venue.

When and where? The Maids is playing at Meraki Arts Bar, Darlinghurst, from Sep 12-16. Tickets are $30 and you can snap them up over here.

Atomically Correct
Photograph: Supplied/Rachel Rayner

Atomically Correct

See this if: You’re fanging to see an “accidental Barbenheimer” show where quantum physics and sparkles combine.

What’s the vibe? Rachel Rayner, Science Explainer, explores quantum mechanics in a way that is theatrical and funny, one subatomic particle at a time. Rayner is a physicist, performer and poet. And if you don’t believe her science, she’ll seek the voice of a dead white male to ensure you do. Atomically Correct comes to Sydney after launching at Adelaide Fringe Festival this year to rave reviews and even a recommendation by the State’s Governor General. “We’re not splitting the atom, we’re building it,” says Rayner. “We’ll find out how, even though we’re mostly nothing, we still matter – just like Ken.” This show will remind you just how beautifully atomically correct we are.

When and where? Atomically Correct is playing at the Factory Theatre, Marrickville Aug 31-Sep 3.  Tickets are $18 and you can snap yours up over here.

See this if: You wanna watch a bunch of buff nearly-naked men do cool tricks.

What’s the vibe? It’s time to submit yourself to the bodyssey, as this troupe of comedy acrobats serve up a mix of storytelling, circus, and physical prowess to godlike proportions. Ascend to the heavens as you take a hedonistic dive head-first into the lives of the ancient gods of Olympus. Follow the likes of Cupid and Hercules as they paint the scene of Ancient Greece and bring you to the biggest party to hit Mount Olympus since 500 BCE – in a glittering Spiegeltent, where shows like this are best served. 

When and where? Godz comes to the Spiegeltent Festival Garden at the Entertainment Quarter from Aug 31-Oct 1. Tickets are $43-$49 and you can snap them up over here.


See this if: You’re thirsty for a big delicious dose of outrageous drag, burlesque, circus and assorted variety acts.

What’s the vibe? From its humble beginnings as a club night in Melbourne, this drag cabaret has gone on to travel the world and gather adoring fans internationally. Now Yummy is back with a wild new show that celebrates and subverts cultural icons, legends and superstars with breathtaking burlesque, sensational circus and outrageous drag acts. Better yet, this whole package is landing at the Grand Electric for a week, the Art Deco inspired performance space in the former home of the OG Giant Dwarf Theatre.

When and where? Yummy Iconic is playing at the Grand Electric, Redfern, from Sep 12-17. Tickets are $54 and you can get yours over here.

See this if: You’ve just gotta see an overzealous idiot attempt to perform all of Greek Mythology in under an hour.

What’s the vibe? Having won ‘Best in Physical Theatre and Circus’ at the 2022 Sydney Fringe, comic wunderkind Garry Starr returns with a fresh, anarchic masterclass not to be mythed. This hour of madcap mayhem sees Starr attempt to perform all of Greek Mythology in order to save his Hellenic homeland from economic ruin

When and where? Garry Star: Greece Lightning will play at Spiegeltent Festival Garden Sep 1-30. Tickets are $45 and you can get yours here.


See this if: Your heart will go on for a “high-energy, low-budget” re-telling of the most epic romance movie of the ’90s.

What’s the vibe? Go on, indulge your lingering crushes on Kate Winslet as red-headed Rose and Leonardo Dicaprio as artistic scamp Jack. What else is a whacky fringe show for? This delightfully daggy ode to James Cameron’s 1997 masterpiece is back for more due to popular demand. This time, it’s not on an actual ship, but it is in a Spiegeltent, which is arguably better. 

When and where? Titanic: The Movie, The Play docks at the Spiegeltent Festival Garden at the Entertainment Quarter Sep 7-24. Tickets are $39-$53 and you can snap up yours over here

See this if: You’re up for a powerful new dance work with drumming that you will feel reverb through your soul.

What’s the vibe? This rousing performance is a compelling fusion of Japanese Taiko percussion and captivating contemporary dance, performed live by a high calibre ensemble of Australian musicians and dancers at the pinnacle of their crafts. You’ll witness an all-female troupe of dancers leaping in the air and showcasing their strength as Taiko musicians play rousing rhythms. Water-Mirror was nominated for the Best Dance Award at Sydney Fringe Festival 2022 following a successful season at Riverside Theatres, and now it’s back for two days only, down by Sydney Harbour at Sydney Dance Company’s stunningly refurbished studios. 

When and where? Water-Mirror plays Sep 15-16 in the Neilson Studio at Sydney Dance Company, Walsh Bay. Tickets are $55 and you can drum up some over here.

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