Fringe Festival filled with gems

Homage to Bjork . . . Inventive, theatrical New Zealand chamber orchestra Blackbird Ensemble paid homage to Iceandic pop artist Bjork in their show Bjork: All is full of Love. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

After 11 days of full-on arts events, from theatre, comedy, music, and dance, to visual arts, the Dunedin Fringe Festival has come to an end.

Weary fringe travellers can look back with satisfaction over a jam-packed festival, filled with gems.

At Sunday’s Dunedin Fringe Awards were presented, with the re-telling of the Greek myth of Orpheus by Alexander Wright and Phil Grainger, winning Best in Fringe.

Other awards went to Harlequeen (best comedy), Meat (best dance), Greta: A Journey (best music), The No Show & the Sorry Shop (best visual art), Still Life With Chickens (best theatre).

The Star was out and about at the weekend, enjoying the ambience and soaking up several top-notch fringe shows.

Toy Factory Fire at Toitu OSM
Spoken word, sound, and visual effects combine in a thought-provoking tribute to the hundreds of victims of the Kadar toy factory fire in Thailand in the 1980s from Talking House productions.

Written and narrated by Simon O’Connor, with direction from Richard Huber, and audio/video elements by Kerian Varaine, Toy Factory Fire was moving, absorbing, and stayed with the viewer long after it’s hour-long presentation was over.

Bjork: All Is Full Of Love at The Mayfair
Innovative staging and classy performance made Blackbird Ensemble’s show Bjork: All Is Full Of Love a magnificent tribute to the inimitable Icelandic artist.

Backed by seven musicians on strings, brass, drums, percussion, and keyboards, singers Anna Coddington, Priya Sami, and Mara TK gave lovely performances of Bjork songs from throughout her career. Stunning.

David Bowie: The Art of Being Different – New Athenaeum Theatre
Bowie aficionado Dr Ian Chapman and musicians Liam Donnelly (piano), Pania Simmonds (double bass), and Craig Monk (violin) are the Cosmic Jive Quartet, playing the great man’s songs in unique and entertaining style.

Add an affectionate talk on the life and times of Bowie himself, and his influence on misfits around the world, and this show is both fun and informative.