Adelaide Fringe 2020: 24 French related shows to see!

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Adelaide Fringe 2020 starts Thursday 14 February and runs until Sunday 15 March. Below we tell you all about the shows to see with French and French-speaking links.

Adelaide Fringe 2020

French Music at Adelaide Fringe 2020


A Night in Paris

Louise Blackwell has two separate Adelaide Fringe 2020 shows: A Night in Paris, which we reviewed last year (read the review here!) and From Paris with Love.

Adelaide Fringe 2020 A night in Paris

A Night in Paris is a performance by Louise Blackwell and the French Set which is comprised of some of Adelaide’s finest musicians: Mark Ferguson on piano, Julian Ferraretto on violin, John Aue on double bass and Joshua Baldwin on drums. You’ll be transported to a night out in Paris, in this concert of songs by 20th century French artists interwoven with stories and interesting anecdotes from the city of lights, it is sure to delight!

DATES: 2 March,



Ce Mortel Ennui: The Life and Times of Serge Gainsbourg

Ce Mortel Ennui

With heady praise for their 2019 premieres, ‘Empty Swing’ return to celebrate the artist eulogised in 1991 by Francois Mitterrand as “our Baudelaire…who elevated the song to the level of art” – the terminally bored, fatally flawed, singer, songwriter, composer, director, lover, father and inimitable genius – Serge Gainsbourg.


In Ce Mortel Ennui, Empty Swing will perform a selection of songs from Gainsbourg’s legacy of 550 songs (performed in English and French with subtitles).

ONE SHOW ONLY:  Saturday 15 February



From Paris with Love

Adelaide chanteuse Louise Blackwell is back with her all-star Adelaide band The French Set featuring Mark Ferguson on piano, Julian Ferraretto on violin, John Aué on bass and Josh Baldwin on drums.


Together they will present a brand new show ‘From Paris with Love’ and once again take the audience into the world of the ‘chanson française’ with beautiful arrangements of songs written or sung by a variety of French artists. They will also pay homage to Paris as a city that has always loved jazz and other musical styles and welcomed many singers from the other side of the Atlantic, performing a few jazz and Brazilian numbers to add to the magic!


DATES: 22, 23, 27 Feb and 1, 12 March



Hit Ze Road Jacques

Adelaide Fringe 2020 Hit Ze Road Jacques

Adelaide group Les Flâneurs Volants will take you on a musical journey through France, Quebec and Louisiana singing songs from around the world including those of Edith Piaf, Zachary Richard and Robert Charlebois.

DATE: 7 March



Jen de Ness in Green Tile Tango

22 Feb

29 Feb

A fun, entertaining show about the eccentric characters from a local tango club, brought to life through a smorgasbord of original music and tango-inspired dancing, quick costume changes, French cabaret and sing-a-longs.

Green Tile Tango

Green Tile Tango celebrates the power of community to help us laugh, cry, sing and dance to survive the rigors of love, in a place where ‘everybody fits in’. A visual and aural storytelling feast, of tango-inspired dance, slick guitar and jazz tinged vocals.

DATES: 22 and 29 February

TICKETS: $28 – $30


Marvellous Music at Mary Mags

One of the three concerts in the series, on 1 March, will feature a mix of music by French, Spanish, English and Australian composers.

Delightful vocals from soprano Katrina Mackenzie and the exceptional skill of guitarist Caleb-Lavery-Brook combine to provide a perfect afternoon of folk and art song.

DATE: 1 March



Paris, LA, Rio!

Meet the glamour-merchants of the 1960s. Three genius songwriters who brought sparkle to our lives – Michel Legrand (Paris), Burt Bacharach (Los Angeles) and Antonio Carlos Jobim (Brazil). Settle back, relax and enjoy their glorious melodies in the sumptuous surrounds of Ayers House Ballroom. Shelley Dunstone (vocals) with Edward Heddle (piano).

DATES: 22-29 Feb



Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert

Adelaide Fringe 2020

Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel: two French musical icons. They sang songs of romance, heartbreak, hope and love, and lived lives of drama and passion. Their music is the soundtrack to millions of lives and loves, around the world. This ‘impossible’ concert, featuring internationally acclaimed vocalist Melanie Gall, relives the adventure and inspiration of their lives and music. With ‘Amsterdam’, ‘Milord’, ‘La Vie en Rose’ and other French classics. 2016-2018 Edinburgh Fringe sell-out awards, Off-Broadway run, 2016. ‘Piaf and Brel’ has been performed in over 30 countries.

DATES: 17-19, 24 Feb, 3 – 5 March

TICKETS: $20 – $28



Talk Dirty, Stay Classy

Adelaide Fringe 2020 Talk Dirty Stay Classy

Have you ever wanted to learn how to say ‘go f**k yourself’ in French?

Come along for a night of laughter as you learn ALL (well, most) of your favourite swear words in French. Classes are loud, rude and hilariously funny. Participants from 2019 called it a “Putain de soiree”. Translation: “What a f**king great evening”.

Read our review of last year’s show here

DATES: 20, 27 Feb and 5-7 and 12-14 March


FRENCH PERFORMERS AT adelaide fringe 2020


Blanc de Blanc Encore

Adelaide Fringe 2020 Blanc de Blanc Encore
Blanc de Blanc in the Victoria Spiegeltent.

Blanc de Blanc Encore returns to Adelaide Fringe 2020.

Get ready to submerge yourself in this burlesque extravaganza where Parisian glitz and glamour continue to create a party of Gatsby-esque proportions. Vintage French flair, risqué humour, spectacular aerials, comedy and big dance numbers will astonish and delight with opulent, cheeky, edge-of-your-seat theatre.

DATES: 14 February – 15 March (except Mondays)

TICKETS: $55 -$79


Hotel Paradiso

Adelaide Fringe 2020 Hotel Paradiso

Hotel Paradiso is a performance from Lost in Translation Circus which creates both indoor and outdoor ensemble-based performances, working with a tight-knit group of performers from Italy, France, Ireland and Australia.


Thrillingly spectacular circus skills blend seamlessly with physical comedy, clowning, juggling, theatrical storytelling and slapstick in this colourful, loud and funny show from ‘proper old-fashioned contemporary circus company’ Lost in Translation Circus.


Meet Madame and the charming staff of the quirkily ineffective Hotel Paradiso. The cast of six highly skilled acrobats, clowns and jugglers tell the story of how the tenants battle to save their home and livelihood. Circus favourites Lost in Translation display a colourful mix of daring circus skills, physical comedy and theatre.

DATES: 14-16, 21-23, 28 Feb – 1 March, 5 -9, 13-15 March

TICKETS: $22 – $30


The Extraordinary guests of the Hotel Richmond

A select few of the world’s most incredible magicians will be checking into Hotel Richmond, transforming their rooms into bespoke, intimate performance spaces. Small groups will journey through these unique spaces, experiencing an intimate and interactive vignette from four different magicians.


While this show is on for the whole of Adelaide Fringe, French-Australian mentalist and illusionist Clarie Yistelle is only a part of it from 3 to 15 March.

DATES: 14 February – 15 March (except Mondays)

TICKETS: $25 – $35




Exhibition and sale of medieval manuscripts

Adelaide Fringe 2020 Exhibition and sale of medieval manuscripts

Dominique Schmidt presents a curated selling exhibition of exquisite medieval illuminated manuscripts on vellum, including leaves from Books of Hours, Gregorian Chants and Antiphonals, from the 13th century to the 16th century.

DATES: 28 Feb – 15 Mar



I’ll tell you this for nothing: My mother the war hero

Honoured with France’s highest decoration, the Legion d’Honneur, for her bravery in WWII, Irish nurse Phyllis spoke of bombs screaming overhead, of crawling around hospital tents, the constant stream of wounded and dying soldiers. Sent to the front lines on D-Day, Phyllis followed the battles through Europe and finally to the liberation of Belsen. Amid this drama she found the love of her life, a Catholic, thus igniting a personal war with her mother, a Protestant.


Award-winning director and actor Kate Jason Smith brings to life the dramatic and often humorous tale of her mother’s life in this acclaimed show about war, courage, danger and romance.

DATES: 14-16 Feb, 18-23 Feb, 25 Feb

TICKETS: $22- $28




VIVIR: Flamenco, Guitar & Dance

Adelaide Fringe 2020 VIVIR

VIVIR is an evening of passion and rhythm by flamenco guitarist Raul Mannola and dancer Aylin Eleonora. Each artist brings their vision, traditions, freedom and improvisation to VIVIR, a new interpretation of the ancient art of flamenco. Discover the sublime beauty, passion and warmth of real flamenco. It appeared at Avignon Festival in 2018. The artists come to Adelaide direct from Madrid.

Both dancer Aylin Eleonora and guitarist Raul Mannola are French-speaking.




Bond: An unauthorised parody

Adelaide Fringe 2020 Bond

Bond is back (just before the new film!). Older, unfit and someone’s out to get him!


Bond meets his greatest arch-villain yet: author Ian Fleming himself, courtesy of a time-machine, and featuring the smallest car chase (n)ever seen! It’s a race against time itself! Minimum props, maximum effect!


Gavin Robertson comes from a physical theatre background (Lecoq, Kemp & Gaulier), producing, creating & performing his own work for national & international touring, usually funded by Arts Council of England.

DATES: 24 – 29 Feb, 2 – 7 March

TICKETS: $19 -$26


Elizabeth Davie – Apex Predator

Elizabeth Davie has studied clowning, improvisation and performance with Giovanni Fusetti, Philippe Gaulier, Philip Burgers, Deanna Fleysher and Clare Bartholomew.


In a world filled with predators, what’s the next evolutionary step? Who hunts the hunters? Enter the Apex Predator.


Award-winning comedian Elizabeth Davie explores every woman’s fantasy of having nothing to fear in a dark alley, or just going to the shops for some milk.


Brutally funny and joyfully dark, Apex Predator plays with danger, vulnerability and power using physical comedy, stand up and clowning.


Tue 3 Mar – Sun 8 Mar: 9:10pm

Tue 10 Mar – Sun 15 Mar: 9:10pm

TICKETS: $20 – $26


Frankie Foxstone aka the profit walking tour

Adelaide Fringe 2020 Frankie Foxstone

Enter Frankie Foxstone: perfectly poised but unapologetically ruthless, young property developer. Taking you on a whirlwind tour of her plans for Adelaide’s green spaces, this is interactive satire for our insatiable era.


Gaulier-trained, British performer and writer, Amy Gwilliam makes her Australian debut at Adelaide Fringe 2020 presenting her creation, Frankie Foxstone.

DATES: 14 February – 15 March (except Mondays to Wednesdays)

TICKETS: $15 – $20


Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall

Adelaide Fringe 2020 Monksi Mouse

Monski Mouse studied performance at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris.


In Baby Disco Dance Hall, Monski Mouse asks why toddle when you can dance? Join DJ Monski Mouse for this international hit with the under fives AND their parents/carers. Expect bouncing, bopping, beautiful, bonkers fun with retro hits, pop favourites and thumping nursery rhymes. Get glam and put your disco-dancing-booties on!

DATES: 16, 23 February, 1, 8, 9 and 15 March



Plastica Fantastica

Plastica Fantastica is a show performed and written by Jennifer Anne Laycock and directed by Nicolas Angelosanto are most recently graduates from Philippe Gaulier in France

This is the story of Nunny. Nunny loves plastic more than her mum and her future husband combined. She lives a life of plastic wrapped bananas, triple bagged groceries and her ultimate dream is to become a top of the line Tupperware lady. ‘Plastica Fantastica’ is a ridiculous award-winning one woman show performed by Jennifer Laycock.

DATES: 25-27, 29 February

TICKETS: $15 – $20



Adelaide Fringe 2020 Scotland!

The Latebloomers are a three-man physical theatre troupe The Latebloomers. They are Sam Dugmore, Jonathon Tilley and Oliver Nilsson, all graduates of the Jacques Lecoq in Bristol, UK.


In Scotland! The Latebloomers bring their own brand of award-winning physical comedy of what it really means to be Scottish to Adelaide Fringe. You guessed it – think tartan, shortbread, deer stalking and whisky.


Join the lads for a wild ride to the Highlands, with rhythm, body percussion, singing, stomping, audience participation, clowning and a celebration of the true spirit of Scotland!

DATES: 18 Feb-1 March (except Mondays)

TICKETS: $20- $32


The Bakers

Another show from The Latebloomers, who met at the Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School in Paris.

Three bakers, one bakery! Dough up the walls, flour in your eyes. Join The Latebloomers for another dose of the ridiculous and the sublime.

DATES: 12-15 March

TICKETS: $15 -$25


The Eulogy

Adelaide Fringe The Eulogy

An absurd, theatrical, character-driven parody of a funeral speech performed by Michael Burgos, who is an internationally acclaimed writer and performer. He holds a Diplôme from École Philippe Gaulier. In addition to studying with Philippe Gaulier, Michael trained with master teacher Dody DiSanto, a teaching protégé of the late Jacques Lecoq.

DATES: 3 – 8 March

TICKETS: $24- $30



Tiramisu is the most playfully ridiculous and ridiculously playful homage to Italy. A physically – comedic romp through the passionate Mediterranean country of art, cuisine, history and culture. This show – like a good meal – is meant to be shared with friends and family.


Also by Michael Burgos, who is an internationally acclaimed writer and performer. He holds a Diplôme from École Philippe Gaulier. In addition to studying with Philippe Gaulier, Michael trained with master teacher Dody DiSanto, a teaching protégé of the late Jacques Lecoq.

DATES: 25- 29 Feb, 3 -7 and 10-14 March

TICKETS: $20 -$28


Which shows will you see at Adelaide Fringe 2020?

Adelaide Fringe 2020


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Last week to see Tabarnak, from the people who brought us Barbu, at the Adelaide Fringe!

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Festival season in Adelaide is about to come to an end, with both the Adelaide Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival concluding this Sunday 18 March. 

Tabarnak is one of the shows that we recommended you see at the Adelaide Fringe.

We were lucky enough to have a chat with Antoine Carabinier Lépine of Cirque Alfonse about  Tabarnak  You can see it every night until the end of the Adelaide Fringe. Times and ticket details at the end of the article.


Scaled tabarnak v2 800x800 2


I tried to see what “Tabarnak” means and it seems that it is a swear word in Quebec. Is that correct?

Yes, it’s true. It’s the worst swear word that we can say, actually. It’s a bit similar to “fuck” but it’s a religious word, it comes from the Church because in Quebec, all of the swear words come from the Church.

We have a very religious past and the swear words that we use now all come from religion. That’s why we called this show “Tabarnak” because the show talks about the Church – how it was before and what it is like now. So, it’s a meeting place – we wanted the show to include everyone and for it to be very communicative. We found that the Church was the place in a tiny village at which people would meet before and that worked well for us.


I also saw that on your website the members of Cirque Alfonse are named Saint so I thought there was a religious element but I wasn’t sure just what it was.

Yes. The show doesn’t really talk about religion. We wanted to look closer at the building, the meeting place… because, these days, it is very difficult to talk about religion. We didn’t want to embark on a very complex subject because religion is very complex these days, but we thought that it would speak to everyone. We are not religious. We are not practicing. We are atheists. But we have a long religious past in Quebec. My mother went to Church with her parents every Sunday. All the swear words that we have now are still religious – which is quite special – there are not a lot of words that have remained anchored like that.

When we arrived in America, religion was followed by the Indians to make religion the ultimate object if you like. So it was very present in Quebec but now almost everyone is Atheist. Cirque Alfonse is a very traditional circus. We want to hold onto our traditions, our Québécois roots. So we find that the show is a cheeky wink.

Image from Arts Projects Australia


Are they the same people who were in Barbu?

Yes. It is not entirely the same team. There are one or two changes but they are largely the same as in Barbu.

This is a show which is very, very different to Barbu but it has the same essence. Barbu was a bit of a joking cabaret. Tabarnak is more theatrical or musical.  Because of the religious side, we wanted a bit of a Rock ‘n’ Mum side with the music. The music is a large part of the show. We have 3 live musicians who composed the music especially for this show. So it’s like a large rock ‘n’ roll musical mass. It’s strange!


Have those who were in Barbu that are also in Tabarnak shaved off their beards?

No, we still have our beards!


So it is quite different to a few years ago when we saw the people from Barbu on roller blades and not much else promoting the show in the streets of Adelaide!

We still have roller blades in the show but we will not be naked this time. We will have more clothes on.

Image from the production Barbu taken from the eventadelaide website

That’s a shame for the ladies!

Yes, but well it changes things up.


On the website it says that you are “the savior of lost spirits and alley cats in Hochelaga”.

Hochelaga is the quartier where I live with my girlfriend. Hochelaga is Indian – it’s in Montréal. My girlfriend is normally in the show but she has just had our baby so she won’t join us for the show but we hope that she will come to join us in Australia in a few weeks.


Your family is also in the circus – your girlfriend, your Dad too?

Yes, it is a very family oriented company. My Dad was part of the show Timber, which is the show that we did before Barbu. My sister is in Tabarnak – she is the singer in the show as well as an acrobat. My brother-in-law is also in the show and my girlfriend normally is too.


Is there anyone in the show that is not family?!

Yes, there are some who are not part of the family but they are very close friends.


And you’re the Director of Cirque Alfonse?

My sister and I are together. As well as our stage director, Alain Francoeur, with whom we have worked for 11 years now.

Image from Arts Projects Australia

Before being Artistic Director of Cirque Alfonse, what did you do?

I did a lot of circus – with the Cirque de Soleil, with the large circus companies from Québec, I was also in Sweden for 2 years with Cirkus Cirkör, a Swedish circus company. I’ve been in the circus for 20 years. 20 years!


Did you decide you wanted to join the circus when you were a child?

In fact, it’s thanks to my parents that I started circus. They took me to see a show by the Ecole Nationale de Cirque in Montréal, which is a large circus school. I fell in love with the circus at the age of 14. My parents have always supported me and so I started circus thanks to them. My parents did not do circus before. My sister and I were doing contemporary dance together and we said to each other “why not start our own company?” So the first show of Cirque Alfonse was for my Dad’s 60th birthday. My Dad started to do circus when he was 60.



How old is he now?

He’s 71 and has just retired. He performed his last show at the age of 71.


He wasn’t in Barbu though, surely?!

No, it was a bit too daring for him.


What has been your favourite moment in your career?

Woah. There are so many. To be able to travel with your parents, with your family is something that I will never forget. We travelled for five and a half years with the show Timber, and my Dad was in the show. I think that it was a marvelous moment for the entire family. We continue to travel with my sister, and my sister has two children and we have just had a child, so it is all very familial. I know it’s not a particular moment but to travel with your family, to do what you love as a job, I think that is the most beautiful gift.


And did you meet your girlfriend in the troupe?

It was in 7 doigts de la main and it was on tour and travelling with the circus together, yes.


Do you think that your child will be in the circus too?

You never know. I think that is it the most beautiful life in the world, so I hope she will but we will see – she will make her own choices.


But having two acrobats for parents, she’s likely to have good balance!

I think that it will be inspiring for her but sometimes children want to do something else.

Image accessed from the Cirque Alfonse website

What are the challenges of travelling with such a show?

It is a quite large show. There are 9 of us on stage. There is always planning. We live together. So it’s great but of course it is not always easy to manage everyone. We are a big family and in all families there are little problems so we try to manage them as best as possible.


Do you have to bring equipment to Australia for the show?

Yes, the equipment is very expensive to transport. But we have a very good team in Arts Projects Australia, with whom we collaborate. They are really good. They take care of a lot of things for us so we are very lucky to work with them.


And you do the Cyr and German wheels?

I don’t do any of that in Tabarnak. In Tabarnak, there isn’t any. In Tabarnak, it’s group numbers so we are all on stage practically all of the time. There’s the hand in hand, the Russian swing, the perch, the spinning meteor. Everyone sings in the show – everyone dances – it is really a multi-level show. We are all on stage the whole time. We also do a bit of roller skating again.

Tabarnak really is a show for everyone.


Even religious people?

Yes. We don’t mock religious. We want people to leave the show saying “we are all the same regardless of our religion”. We just want to live happily and in peace and that everyone is good to everyone else. I think that is the message we want to transmit with this show.


Is it a show for adults or for children?

Both. Barbu was moreso for adults but this show really is for everyone. There is nothing that bothers anyone. It’s a beautiful show with beautiful images and great music. Everyone should come to see us in Adelaide.


You can see Tabarnak at Gluttony during the Adelaide Fringe – nightly at 8:30 pm except for Sunday 18 March, when it is on at 4pm. Tickets: