Running over 19 big days from September 16 until October 4, the 2015 Melbourne Fringe Festival features more than 6,000 contributors taking part in 400 separate events.
Originally from Adelaide, Anya Anastasia is a singer – storyteller, composer, stand – up prankster, cheeky contortionist and musician extraordinaire. The young artist has toured locally, as well as in New Zealand, and parts of Europe (Prague and Berlin).
One of the more eclectic festival acts on offer this year is her world premiere of ‘Torte E Mort: Songs of Cake and Death’. The confident and accomplished performer’s new work is now playing for a strictly limited season at the historic Melba Spiegeltent, on site at Circus Oz headquarters in Collingwood.
Perhaps the very definition of fringe, this quirky vehicle is certainly out there, and may not be to everyone’s taste. Anastasia takes audience members to some strange and dark corners, all in the name of art, education, comedy, and shock value. Having said this, the enthusiastic opening night crowd immediately understood the artist’s twisted intent. With viewers more than happy to join the ride, Anastasia soon had them eating out of her perfectly manicured hand.
Think Lady Gaga meets Kate Bush, or the Emcee from ‘Cabaret’, with a little bit of Sandra Bernhard meets ‘Hedwig and The Angry Inch’ thrown in for good measure. The 60 minute show is a icon – driven journey where Anastasia plays a series of off – centre characters including a power – thirsty Marie Antoinette, a glow in the dark skeleton, and a slinky she devil dressed by Sexy Land.
Peppering her routine with a handful of original, catchy and observational songs, Anastasia covers topics such as love and loss, political indulgence, and of course, cake and death.
Anastasia is also dressed in a series of elaborate costumes (with flippant outfit changes seen for the most part on stage), making sure there is never a dull moment. One particular highlight was the wittily – titled tune, ‘I don’t do Burlesque’, which ended up being a tongue – in – cheek disrobing to end all strip teases.
Special mention must also be made to support artist, Bec Matthews.
Accompanying the show on live percussion, Matthews not only played a droll second banana to Anastasia’s antics, she was particularly hilarious as a depressed executioner. Her expert talents included playing drums, working the singing saw, as well as voicing and manipulating some miniature shadow puppets.
Together, Sarah Ward and Sue Broadway kept focus tight for the hour and oversaw the show’s smooth direction.
Torte E Mort: Songs of Cake and Death will head to Perth in January next year for the Fringe World Festival, then on to Adelaide for that city’s Fringe Festival in February – March.