What’s Hot at BrisFest #2018 – Adam’s Pick of the Bunch

It’s the most wonderful time of the yeeeeeeaaaaarrrrr! And what time is that you ask? BrisFest time. It’s spring, the weather’s warming up and Brisbane is saturated with all the arty goodness one could hope for. For three weeks. And they have discounted tickets. Bris Fest!

Ok, maybe you’re not quite there with me. I get it. Who doesn’t look at the big pink package that is the Bris Fest guide and get a little intimidated by how meaty it is? That’s why the Nothing Ever Happens in Brisbane team is here to deep dive into the 3 week line-up and pull out the lumps of solid gold goodness that you just can’t miss in this year’s program. So strap yourself in and get ready to book yourself those tickets based on the my recommendations.

So first, a confession. I’m a Bris-Fest tragic. When the weather starts getting cold … ok, it’s Brisbane, cooler, I start putting aside a few bucks every pay so that I can get to see as much arty goodness as I can. My bias is always to the theatrical over the musical, so my recommendations will touch on the theatre, circus and dance side of this year’s BrisFest program and let me tell you, there’s a whole lotta golden nuggets of goodness this year. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.



What can I say about Yummy that hasn’t already been said? Winner of Best Production and Best Ensemble at the 2018 Green Room Award, sold-out shows at all of the Fringe Festivals, 5 star reviews galore and that’s just the start. That should be enough to make you run straight to the Brisbane Festival website and book your seats. And get in quick, because some nights are already sold out. If that’s not enough, how about this – Yummy is a proudly queer as fuck show that is part celebration of all that is drag, part riotous showcase of the underground cabaret scene, mixed with circus, dance, performance art, a banging sound-track and a whole lot of awesome. If you love Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Yummy will show you how much more there is to drag, strutting and performance art. Make sure you get to see what the fuss is all about. Not to be missed.

Yummy is playing at the Roundhouse Theatre at the Theatre Republic from 12 – 15 September 2018.


Betty Grumble: Love and Anger

Australia’s favourite eco-sexual showgirl and sex clown extraordinaire is back again at BrisFest this year with the follow up to last year’s hit show, Betty Grumble: Sex Clown Saves the World. Not knowing anything about Betty Grumble except that all the right people were basically screaming at me that I couldn’t miss it, I went in fresh and was remade in her image. Last year’s Grumble was the stand-out show of the festival last year that blew away the completion. Surreal, raw, hilarious, real, incisive, confronting, joyous and completely original, it was everything that live performance can be and more. So touched I was by the show, afterwards I could only give Grumble’s alter-ego, Emma Maye Gibson a hug, a whimper “I’m not worthy”. Betty Grumble was one of the most talked about shows from 2017 and a sell-out, so make sure you see what all the fuss is about before it sells out again.

Betty Grumble: Love and Anger is playing at The Block, Theatre Republic, Kelvin Grove from 18 – 29 September.


I’ve been meaning to ask you

Theatre collective The Good Room is back with their latest crowd-sourced extravaganza, “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You.” Once again, they’ve gone to the inter-webs to ask the audience to anonymously share fond memories, learnt wisdoms and dark confessions on a key theme and will use the responses to create a bold, new work. This year, the theme is questions 9 to 13 years have always wanted to ask adults and the show will be performed by a group of similar aged youth. If it’s anything to go by their previously efforts, particularly the gloriously moving rose petal fest that was “I Want to Know What Love Is”, it should be a highlight of the festival.

I’ve Been Meaning to Ask You is playing at the Roundhouse Theatre, Theatre Republic, Kelvin Grove from 26 – 29 September



Pub Choir

Pub Choir has become a Brisbane institution that just won’t quit and continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The team has shown that the average Aussie just wants to do is sing with a mate or 800 at the local pub. Not keen to rest on their laurels, since NEHIB reviewed Pub Choir back in February, they became part of the Commonwealth Games Arts Festival, have toured to multiple festivals and continue to turn away punters at the door. Pub Choir hits the Tivoli Theatre, Fortitude Valley for BrisFest for one night only with 1,500 new friends on, 12 September and is already sold out. Hope you got your ticket!



Man with the Iron Neck

17 years ago, theatre maker Josh Bond created a one-man show that focused on his obsession with a 19th century American stuntman and how that influenced his experience of the suicide of a close family. Since then this show has evolved into the Man with the Iron Neck, a new work exploring the story of a small-town indigenous family’s journey to survive after losing one of their own. Developed through a collaboration with indigenous writer and actress Ursula Yovich, co-director Gavin Robbins and leading physical theatre company Legs on the Wall, and utilising aerial choreography, and multimedia, Man with the Iron Neck looks to be a stand-out in this year’s BrisFest program. Please note, the show will explore mental health and suicide and might be confronting for some audience members.

Man with the Iron Neck is playing at the Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm from 26 – 29 September.




Biladurang traps the audience in a hotel room in Spring Hil with performer Joel Bray, who is lost in a place between worlds, contemplating existence. Loosely based on the dreamtime story of the same name about the creation of the platypus, Biladurang uses a mix of dance theatre, spoken word and multimedia, to take the audience through an exploration of identity, sexuality, what it means to be indigenous and a person’s place in the world. Biladurang is for those who like to get a little bit more intimate with performers and it won big at last year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, with many reviewers commenting on how much it stayed with them. Colour me intrigued.

 Biladurang is selling out fast and playing at the Art Series Hotels – The Johnson, Spring Hill from 12 – 15 September. There are multiple sessions every day.




So, who wants to get locked in a 40 foot shipping container with a whole bunch of stangers for a séance, in pitch black, listening to a 3D soundscape, where you don’t know what’s real? Yes? Maybe? I know I’m going to scream like baby. I can’t wait.

Séance is going to freak you the hell out of you some time during the festival if you manage to get a ticket, because multiple sessions have already sold out. Séance has multiple sessions every day of the Brisbane Festival in the Treasury Brisbane Arcadia, South Bank.