18 September 2017

How To Fringe 2017: Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer
Write, perform, cobble together shows (and a living) 

Hooting & Howling
20–25 September
The Butterfly Club

Phil Spencer & Julia Johnson. Photo by Lucy Parakhina 

The Melbourne Fringe in three words.
Low-fi. Phantasmagorical. Hangover.

A favourite Melbourne Fringe memory.
Tessa Waters’s WoMANZ. I never knew I could jiggle, but that night I learnt every single human in that small sweaty room could jiggle. With varying degrees of success obviously.

What is your experience as an independent artist being part of the Melbourne Fringe?
I pack up my shows and take them to Fringe festivals because I want to make my fortune in gold coins, minus ticketing charges. Nah. But, there is a buzzing, whirring, inspiring cloud that gets whipped up by Melbourne Fringe in particular. Simply put, it makes a foreign city seem welcoming and open. It makes an evening with a room full (or half full) of strangers pretty bloody special. It makes performing my stories feel like treat.

What makes the Melbourne Fringe unique?
The quality of the work. The sense of community that is built around (slightly) discounted beer in the hub. The trams. I do love a good tram ride.

What’s your advice for choosing what to see in the Melbourne Fringe?
Take a punt on a new venue. Use Fringe as an excuse to be a tourist in your own city.

Do you think there’s a better system than star ratings for reviews?
Look, we all love a good star spangled spread. So keep ‘em. But I do think what is more useful for artists is helping to feed like-minded audiences into each other’s shows – i.e if you loved Stuart Bowden … you’ll love THIS.

Five shows/events you will not miss at the 2017 Melbourne Fringe
Betty GRUMBLE: Sex Clown Saves the World
Calypso! Calypso! Calypso!
Fringe Wives Club: Glittery Clittery, a conSENSUAL party
Geraldine Hickey: It’s My Show
Open Season On a Broken Heart

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