Babushka at the Adelaide Fringe

When Brisbane girls, Babushka, headed to Adelaide for the Fringe Festival, they were determined to have the Full Fringe Experience. The girls fully embraced the notion of self-promotion and lived and loved the entire experience! Did you see them at the fringe this year? Michelle Bull gives us a glimpse into performing and touring life. Want to know more about Babushka? You can read Matthew Carey’s interview with the girls here.


It was with bellies full of butterflies and hearts filled with excitement that the five members of ‘Babushka’ touched down in South Australia to premiere our show ‘I can keep a secret’ at the Dragonfly Bar as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2012.

After battling a steamy cab ride to Clyde’s Cottage our cosy new home away from home, we settled in for a week of performances, promotion, fun and  inspiration!

Now I’ve been to my fair share of fringe festivals, but I have to say that this has been one of my top festival experiences to date. With over 800 acts showing every night of the week at numerous pop-up venues across the city, streets filled with buskers and visual art, free community events and concerts, artistic collaboration at every turn, time was precious, and we were determined to pack as much as we could into the eight days we had at the festival!

Our whirlwind season saw us perform in some capacity every day. The week began with the first of four performances at ‘Fringe in the Mall’, a free variety show set in a caravan stage in the centre of Rundle Mall, featuring short performances from various Festival artists. This was a fun-filled gig, with enthusiastic audiences, some awesome artists and lots of shameless self-promotion from us! (Promotion that continued both on and offstage as we teetered through the cities shopping centres in costume trying to navigate Adelaide’s public transport system!)

In these first few days, we sung our little hearts out, hung posters like madwomen, jumped on and off various pubic transport services and drank copious amounts of coffee before finally collapsing in a heap at ‘The Garden of Unearthly Delights’. It was here we managed to catch some fantastic acts.

The first was Hard Boiled Lolly, a cabaret doll come private eye, who through cartoon like characters and a pop song mash-up or two, delivered naughty cabaret fun that left us feeling like we’d wandered into the back alley of a pink panther cartoon. After such a fun show we returned to the Garden again and again throughout the week, catching acts such as the fabulous Barry Morgan’s World of Organs and The Pitt Brothers.

Other shows followed the saucy vibe as we ventured out to see Melbourne Cabaret’s people’s choice; Mercedes Benz…awkwardly at the fantastic pop up venue ‘Tuxedo Cat’. Adding to the show’s charm was the venue, an abandoned strip club complete with pole and carpeted podium! The show itself was both comical and confronting, the humour giving way to unexpected tenderness and brutal honesty by the end. It was easy to see why this show was a crowd pleaser!

However, although there was much more festivities to devour, we had a show to do! We opened ‘I can keep a secret’ at the Dragonfly Bar on Wednesday to an almost full house! This was the beginning of four fantastic shows with audiences who joined us in our little cabaret journey as we laughed, cried and shared a saucy secret or ten! Big shout out to the Dragonfly Bar, a gorgeous little venue with beautiful staff, even if they did surprise me with a vodka shot in my prop glass one night!

Fuelled with post-show excitement, each night we took once again to the streets, often catching a ride on the ‘Tour of the Unexpected’, a free shuttle bus service for festival patrons where anything could happen, and did! After performing an impromptu operatic-dance sequence with our Safari-suit-clad host, we bid the bus adieu and headed over to the Best of Fringe Variety, to perform a short ten-minute spot as part of this fun filled variety night.

The remainder of our nights were then often spent dancing and nattering away at the Fringe Club, a great venue for artists and festival workers to unwind and share stories, talents and everything in between!

Later in the week we took to the stage at this venue to sing a song or two and in the process met the amazing syllabically talented Abandoman!

It was this chance meeting that saw us end our Adelaide Fringe Festival with a bang, as we were invited to channel our inner operatic hip-hop, by adding some musical styling’s to Abandoman’s show at The PhatCave in the Garden of Unearthly Delights… who knew opera singers could groove?

So after an amazing week of singing, dancing, inspiration, and giggles, the following morning our little South Australian journey ended. We boarded the plane back to rainy Brisbane, grateful for the fun, but sad it was over! Adelaide Fringe Festival, you won our little Babushka hearts!


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