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A Comedic Assortment: Verge Festival

For those pondering what Sydney has to offer in terms of comedy, theatre, music and arts, they need not look any further than Verge Festival, which begins tomorrow night (Wednesday, September 1) at Sydney Uni. In an artistic nutshell, it’s a dash fringe festival crossed with a hint of student showcase, and even contains a few big name Aussie acts who continue to do us proud. Directed this year by Ben Jenkins and Shannon Connellan, who suspect that they may well be mischievously adventurous eight-year-old boys trapped in adult bodies, Verge Festival really can boast a lust-worthy, ten-day line up.


The festival kicks off with “The Housewarming”, and even Jonathan Boulet is coming along to warm-up the Nintendo, make a dent in the couch and belt out a few tunes while he’s at it. All this unfolds in the much-loved festival tent, which is decked out as a student share house complete with an original HMV turntable, house TV and uncommonly well-stocked bar. Throughout the 10 days the festival tent will host an impressive assortment of events, including “Rubik’s Cube Art”, which is all about pixilation; “Knit & Sit”, the only way to prove that anything Nana can do you can do better; and the chance to make your own pinhole camera.

As no festival is ever complete without an epic musical battle, and Sydney Uni has its very own with its 26th Annual Band Comp on September 2. This infamous sound-fest has helped launch the musical careers of The Vines, Josh Pyke, Cloud Control, The Jezabels, and Youth Group (just to name a few). For something a tad tamer, attendees can return to that time when playschool really was the bee’s knees and hear Benita Collins recount tales of her youth as part of the Verge edition of Story Club. Alternatively, for those who enjoy spending their Tuesday nights in a room packed with sweaty, hip-swinging, toe-tapping dancers, grooving with absolute abandon and in complete silence, then the Verge Silent Disco featuring Purple Sneakers DJ’s is the week’s remedy. Take that noise restrictions!


While High Tea on September 8 will involve cucumber sandwiches, croquet, cupcakes and a string quartet, and “Two Gentlemen of Lebowski” on September 9 will be a White Russian-laced Elizabethan parody, our festival pick has to be Project 52’s 24 Hour Comedy Gig. Running from 8:30pm on Thursday September 9 until 8:30pm the following night and helmed by Ben Jenkins, the gig is bound to inflict some serious comedic damage. Previous years have resulted in 3am kidnappings, an unresolved war with the King of the Sea, an impromptu road rip to Canberra for reasons very few people can actually remember.

To get in on the Verge Festival pandemonium, nab yourself a colourful selection of tickets or simply learn more about what’s going on within the grounds of Sydney Uni from September 1 to 10 visit www.vergeartsfestival.com/.

Ben Jenkins and Shannon Connellan


words: Liz Schaffer

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