24 August 2017

How to Fringe 2017: Keith Gow

Keith Gow
Playwright and critic/blogger

SM: Read Keith's reviews at keithgow.com. I sure do.

#IndieMedia is a part of Melbourne's indie arts community.

Keith Gow

The Melbourne Fringe in three words?
Exciting, inventive, encouraging

A favourite Melbourne Fringe memory.
I love the Fringe Club because it brings the Festival community together and when you're seeing a bunch of shows at the Fringe Hub, it’s a great focus point for the night – with drinks and music and often some kind of performance to entertain. It's a great place to hang with friends and to meet other artists and to introduce yourself to people after you've just seen their show and the best response you've got is gushing and that’s always easiest to do with a drink in hand.

What is your experience as an independent artist being part of the Melbourne Fringe?
Each year that I've been involved as an artist has been different, because of the shows I've made and the different venues they have been in. It can be overwhelming as a critic, trying to see all the things I want to see and to see the shows that are then recommended during Fringe. When you've got a show on, it's like a marathon and you need to focus on your own show while also trying to support others. I guess, as the writer, I've got the choice of not seeing my show every night and to spread the love a little bit, but then I also want to be there to thank my audience each night.

What makes the Melbourne Fringe unique?
I think it's unique in the Melbourne arts scene because it's so diverse and supportive and encourages all-comers to put on a show.

Your advice for choosing what to see in the Melbourne Fringe.
Be daring. Support your friends, sure, but choose things because of their titles or their venues or, in the case of shows I saw last year, their lack of venue. Pick a show that has deliberately small audiences, because you'll engage with them differently. Go to a venue you’ve never been to before but be sure to find a night where you can binge things at the Hub.

Do you think there’s a better system than star ratings for reviews?
I'd love it if everyone read reviews. I wish, as a critic and an artist, that we weren't so easily drawn to stars on reviews and stars on posters. Is there a better system though? I don't know. Having reviewed for AussieTheatre and my blog, I've never had to give a star rating for theatre. This hasn't necessarily stopped my reviews from being quoted, though. If everyone stopped giving stars, maybe at least quotes would get read?

Five shows/events you will not miss at the 2017 Melbourne Fringe.
The Vagina Monologues   
The Maze
Title and Deed (Monologue for a Slightly Foreign Man)
Invasion of the Bodysnatchers 
Everything at the Fringe Club

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