Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
All the world's a stage - well, all of Perth
Fringe is back for 2020 in all its madcap glory! Good, bad, excellent, execrable, the shows in their hundreds are there for all to see, experience, learn new things from and above all, enjoy.
One of the chief joys of a Fringe of any kind is that the cheapness of the tickets makes it possible to sample a wide range of theatrical and entertainment styles outside of your usual experience and sometimes well outside of your comfort zone.
It is a chance for young and experimental performers to hone their craft in a way the old Working Mens' Clubs used to offer but no longer do.
It's a place where almost no show is longer than an hour so patrons can sample two, three and even four shows a night - dashing from one to the other grabbing a bite from a street vendor on the way, or dining at any one of the hundreds of excellent eateries scattered across Northbridge.
Thai, Mexican, sausage in a bun, Subway, kebabs, Chinese, Mongolian, Texan, French and pub after pub, after pub.
The very air tingles with excitement when Fringe is on as the crowds surge back and forth between venues and attractions. And there is certainly something for everyone. Last year, Swan Magazine made a concerted effort to see as much as possible. We saw over seventy shows in the four weeks - less than ten percent of what was on offer.
Whatever is your choice is available - Blues or Jazz? My goodness yes! Stand-up Comedy? More than you could shake a tickling stick at; improvisation? You couldn't make this stuff up (including some of the world's very best - Perth's own Sense and Spontaneity); Drag Queens on roller skates performing Agatha Christie's Murder at the Vicarage? Very probably.
And music, music, music - indigenous, imported, Blue, light, classical, heavy, Jazzy, Broadway, a capella and more, performed on banjoes, digeridoos, kazoos, Peruvian nose flutes, grand pianos, not so grand pianos and downright scruffy honky-tonk pianos alongside Bechseins and combs with tissue paper.
Fringe starts on the 17th January and runs until the 16th February - spilling over many more venues than ever before as the huge event takes on a life of its own. There are the traditional venues such as the Woodside Pleasure Garden, the Ice Cream Factory, Fringe Central, Rosie O'Grady's and so on, but this year Fringe has spread far and wide.
Sunset Verandah is on Scarborough Breach, Subilicious is a new Fringe World hub in Subiaco spreading from the Regal to the Arts Centre via Rokeby Road.
The Maj and The Ellington Jazz Club remain the stalwarts they always are, but we welcome Wonderland at Wonderrealm at Bassendene, Midland, Fremantle and the Outer Fringe taking the festival to Perth's outer metro and Western Australian regional towns. There's special events happening in independent venues in Margaret River, Boulder, Mandurah, Merredin and Ellenbrook.
There's no way to cover all that's on offer, so I encourage you to go to the website and browse - you're sure to find something to your taste.