Adelaide Fringe 2023: 23 shows with French and francophone links to see

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Adelaide Fringe 2023 starts in less than 4 weeks! To help you with your planning, we’ve found all the shows with French and francophone links for you. You’ll find artists coming to Adelaide Fringe from France, performers with French circus school training, and shows featuring French songs, or about French people. Read on to find out more.

Adelaide Fringe 2023



Adelaide Fringe 2023 - Vertiges
Image: Anne-Laure Chemin

Vertiges by Farid Ayelem Rahmouni

FRENCH LINK: Farid Ayelem Rahmouni is from France and the show is being brought in partnership with the French Government.

A vertigo inducing, audience-led interactive experience from France’s finest aerial performer. Vertiges looks at the injustice of those living in the margins of society and turns the despair into a beautifully moving, world-class aerial performance, directed through an App which is controlled by all members of the audience.




FRENCH LINK: From France

The dark and retro-futuristic music of PERTURBATOR returns to Australia in 2023 including a first ever performance in Adelaide! Accompanied with new music and further reinventions, PERTUBATOR have signalled a drastic sonic movement and ushered fans into deeper unchartered territory.



FRENCH LINK: Les Commandos Percu are from France

Image: Veronique Balege

A spectacle of percussion, pyrotechnics and fireworks, launching Adelaide Fringe 2023.

Les Commandos Percu present a storm of sounds and fire that resonates deep, the silence before the storm. The slow muffled rolling of the drums rises from the depths becoming a deafening noise. A rain of metal fills the air, sheet lightning overwhelms the sky. Time is suspended, all is frozen.


Dressed up with metal, musicians move forward amongst a blinding light. Coloured bodies and layered pieces of metal form a moving shape with sharp angles forcing itself upon the audience. Powerful rhythms intersperse with silence creating a tension that will not fade.



Exhibition and sale of Mediaeval manuscripts

FRENCH LINK: Frenchman Dominique Schmidt presents this exhibition and sale

Dominique Schmidt presents a curated selling exhibition of exquisite mediaeval illuminated manuscripts on vellum, including leaves from Books of Hours, Gregorian Chants and Antiphonals, from the 13th century to the 19th century.





La Grande Folie


Adelaide Fringe 2023
Image: Leslie Liu

FRENCH LINK: The “Let Them Eat Cake” act

Australia’s Queen of Burlesque, Imogen Kelly, presents her most celebrated acts in a single, spectacular show! Interlaced with stories from her life as a world-famous show-pony Imogen proves that YES! Striptease can save the world!


Featuring her world-famous “Let Them Eat Cake”; the incredible “Great Barrier Reef” and “Flamingo Go!”- the act that saw Imogen crowned World Queen of Burlesque in Las Vegas.



A night to baguette

FRENCH LINK: Set in Paris, and with French chansons

A night to BaguetteOccupied Paris, 1941. Cabaret artiste Lulu Ledoux finds herself murdered just before she was to perform The Greatest French Song Ever Written. Refusing to let her death stop the show, Lulu re-enacts her murder from 3 perspectives and discovers her killer’s identity – and all in less than an hour.


With real and imagined French chansons and a surprise finish, ‘A Night to Baguette’ is an absurdist cabaret/whodunnit tragi-comedy about passion, performance, collective grief – and bread.


Carmen: the cabaret

FRENCH LINK: Inspired by, and about, French opera Carmen

If Carmen is a ‘femme fatale’, why does she end up dying? If Carmen inhabited your soul, how would it feel? Using all the hit tunes from Carmen, award-winning cabaret team Eliane Morel (singer) and Daryl Wallis (accompanist), directed by international opera legend Ghillian Sullivan, comically interrogate the opera’s story and music, and explore how performing Carmen affects those who dare to take on the role…


A world premiere at Adelaide Fringe 2023, Carmen the Cabaret will have you laughing, crying, singing along and wondering how you knew all the tunes from an opera you’ve never seen.


Chansons : Piaf, Brel & Me – A musical cabaret about France

FRENCH LINK: A cabaret about France

German multi award-winning singer & musical theatre actress Stefanie Rummel brings her musical cabaret to Australia with Chansons, a musical cabaret journey through life. ‘Soul-touching’ stories performed in ‘brilliant showmanship’ about life and passion, from Ne me quitte pas (Brel) to Milord (Piaf). Reflect on life the French way.


Spoken in English, and sung in French, English this show makes you travel beyond borders. Accompanied by pianists such as Bogdan Pieleanu, Bob Egan, Tom Schlueter. Chansons inspires our own lives by looking at other cultures.


Love on the left bank 


FRENCH LINK: A cabaret about French woman Juliette Gréco

Celebrated Adelaide actress and singer Louise Blackwell brings to life the inspiring story of French singer Juliette Gréco. It is a musical celebration of love, life and liberty as it occurred in the Left Bank of Paris at the time of its liberation from Nazi German occupation. Backed by a superb 6-piece band led by musical director Mark Ferguson, Louise performs songs which evoke the joy and revelry of liberation as it occurred in the legendary underground clubs of Saint Germain des Prés, the bohemian district where Juliette found refuge during the war.


Philosophers, writers and artists gathered round Juliette as she made her debuts in cabaret nights that presented a myriad of different performers, poets and musical acts, and she is still known as the muse of Saint Germain des Prés.


Under the Paris Sky


FRENCH LINK: A cabaret of French-language songs

A glittering Cabaret of beloved old and new French-language songs, interwoven hilarity with a dash of philosophy. You will be swept away by the beauty of the music; Simon Walters’ fabulous piano and Georgia’s incredible voice and stage presence. Comedic characters, Cecile & Julienne Carotte, provide hilarious highlights along the emotional journey.


Come ‘Under the Paris Sky’, beneath the great dome of the Ayer’s House Ballroom with its chandeliers. A magical experience awaits…and you don’t even need to speak French!


A night at the musicals 3: Summer Lovin’ Tour 


FRENCH LINK: Le Gateau Chocolat was raised in Nigeria

‘The French and Saunders of Drag’ Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo are finally BACK and they’re bringing a brand new show. Dragging you through all of their favourite musicals in a raucous night of ballsy ballads, delightful duets and slaughtered showtune singalong fun.


With bigger wigs, crazier costumes, more questionable choreography, and a mountain of laughs, this is one show you’ll be dragging your friends along to see again and again.


Bourgeois & Maurice

FRENCH LINK: A French-inspired name

Cult cabaret superstars Bourgeois & Maurice return to Adelaide with a spectacular new show that puts the FUN back into our fundamentally pointless existence!!!


Packed with whip-smart original songs, jaw-dropping outfits and hilariously savage wit, ‘Pleasure Seekers’ is a gloriously unhinged yet bizarrely life-affirming homage to hedonism in all its filthy, fabulous glory.



Club d’Amour

FRENCH LINK: Set in a back-alley French brothel set deep in the red-light district of Paris

Adelaide Fringe 2023Tone & Cheek welcomes you to Club D’amour; a back-alley French brothel set deep in the red-light district of Paris, where guests are treated to a night of fiery fun through a flirtatious fusion of dance, burlesque, circus, and live music.


Think Moulin Rouge combined with 50 Shades of Grey and a dash of Rocky Horror, Club D’amour chains together Australia’s sexiest talent and explores a story of forbidden love. The show will deliver jaw locking gags, filthy fun, and debauchery in a hilariously energetic showcase of the world’s oldest profession.



FRENCH LINK: Poster girl (the one in the red dress), Michaela Burger will sing in French

Image:: Brig Bree Photos

All the spectacle of a circus with a deliciously deviant, adults-only twist – ROUGE is a mind-bending blend of death-defying acrobatics, grandiose cabaret and deeply twisted burlesque. A titillating celebration of astonishing proportions that’s surprising, subversive and supremely sexy.


Rouge returns with acts you’ve loved alongside brand-new performances that promise to shock, tease and delight the senses. This is Australian circus cabaret at its climax.



Talk dirty, stay classy


FRENCH LINK: A show dedicated to swearing in French led by Franco-Australian Arnaud Benassy

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


After sold out shows and five-star reviews, Talk Dirty, Stay Classy with the irrepressible Arnaud Benassy is back at a new venue, Club de Petanque d’Adelaide (full bar available)! Join them for a night of laughter as you learn ALL (well, most) of your favourite swear words in French. Shows are loud, rude, and hilariously fun.



Les fleurs du mal (the flowers of evil) based on the poetry of Baudelaire

FRENCH LINK: Inspired by the poetry of French poet Baudelaire

A confession of hopes, dreams, failures and sins, The Flowers of Evil attempts to extract beauty from the malignant.  One must evoke the artificial and paradoxical aspects of life.  Beauty can evolve on its own, irrespective of nature and fuelled by sin. The ideal transcends over the harsh reality where all senses are united in ecstasy.




Laissez les bons temps rouler

FRENCH LINK: singer Jean-Marc Spiler is Franco-Australian and the band perform French music

Adelaide based Les Flâneurs Volants will turn the spotlight on the diversity of upbeat styles and rhythms of music from the French speaking world from the iconic French sounds of the 60s to the R&B influenced groove to the Creole beats of far-off lands.




2 violins, 8 strings: Classical Music Gems

FRENCH LINK: Bériot’s ‘Duos Concertante’ will be performed

Adelaide Virtuosi Trio is comprised of musicians from Slovakia. In this performance, there is a focus on Romantic, in the musical meaning (i.e. 19th century music). Expect to see this trio perform Dvořák’s ‘Miniatures’, French extravagant and colourful violin duets as Bériot’s ‘Duos Concertante’, as well as a world-premiere instrumentation of Zeljenka’s ‘Musica Slovaca’, Skoryk’s ‘Melody’ from a famous movie, or Kats-Chernin’s Tango in Aussie style.



The White Mouse


FRENCH LINK: About Australian French Resistance leader Dame Nancy Wake

In France’s darkest hour in World War II, it was an Australian woman who helped turn the tide against the Germans. This is the story of Dame Nancy Wake, fighter, lover and a force of nature, set during her time as a leader of the French Resistance.  Emily-Jo Davidson returns as Nancy in this re-make of the 2020 Fringe hit that sold out, twice over.

Another brilliant historical expose by Peter Maddern of an extraordinary Australian drawing deep on their reserves of courage and sense of duty to prevail against relentless foes.




Foible Boible

FRENCH LINK: Oliver Cowen trained at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier

Would a shark look better wearing skinny jeans or cargo shorts? Do french cats say “meow-oui” or “moi-eow”? Would you ask Barney the Dinosaur to help you bury a body? What’s the best way to ‘Yeet, Pray, Love’?


Who knows! You’ll find the answers to none of these questions and more in this very serious comedy show of puns, props, sketches, one-liners, funny songs and one extremely foibled boible. We tried to get Dakota Fanning for the show, but she was looking at a horse, so instead we’ve got Oliver; a bread bowl of a man who will probably tell some funny jokes, and maybe even have a theatre-based breakdown.


Go Sports

FRENCH LINK: Kyle Walmsley studied at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier

A man.

A treadmill.

An entire unproblematic history of Australian sporting culture.

Sports is COOL! Matty Johns, Israel Folau, Wayne Carey: Heroes. It’s the BEST part about Australia, and there’s nothing problematic about it. This is a marathon of comedy and sports bullying to the stage. There will be blood (fake), sweat (real), and tears (who knows).



FRENCH LINK: Jeromaia Detto studied at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier

Jeromaia Detto presents another journey of absurdity into a collection of wild and wonderful characters and concepts, that will make you laugh, cry, and ponder why?!


This show delves into the mushy brain of a man who once believed he could run faster in little athletics by ‘swimming’ through the air. He came last every time.



FRENCH LINK: This international theatre troupe, The Latebloomers, formed after studying together at Lecoq.

Scotlaaand! Come along for a wild ride with fishing, hunting, whisky, shortbread, rhythm, folk songs and the spirit of Scotland! A hilarious, award-winning physical comedy.



WHAT: Adelaide Fringe 2023, the second largest Fringe festival in the world!

WHERE: various locations in Adelaide and South Australia

WHEN: 17 February – 19 March

HOW: Purchase your tickets to the events above via the links given or see the whole program at

HOW MUCH: Ticket prices vary depending on the event


Which shows are you going to see at Adelaide Fringe 2023?         

For events with French and Francophone links happening this month, check out our What’s on in January article



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Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris in Adelaide next weekend

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Nikki Nouveau is a singer of French chanson who is bringing her new show Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris to Adelaide for the Cabaret Fringe Festival next weekend. We had a chat to Nikki about the show, French music and more.

Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris

Bonjour Nikki, you’re bringing your show Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris to Adelaide for the Cabaret Fringe Festival. Could you please tell us a little about that show? What can audiences expect?

The show is an evocative musical soirée set in Montmartre, Paris at a time when artists and painters, such as Salvador Dali, Picasso and Toulouse Lautrec thrived in a world of creativity, innovation, art and romance. It is a time of bohemian life narrated by a spirit travelling through time that takes the audience on a thought-provoking, inspiring and nostalgic journey through the most beautiful moment in the story of Montmartre.


Which French artists /eras will feature in this show? Will there be any of your original music?

The production is loosely based in the late 1800s to the early 1900s with the musical soundscape traversing eras. The iconic music of Edith Piaf, Cole Porter, Serge Gainsbourg, Joe Dassin, Jacques Brel and Erik Satie feature in the show, along with original compositions La Rue Pigalle (Nouveau/Upward), Absinthe Tango (Nouveau/Thorn) and Champagne (Nouveau). Sung in French and English with live musical accompaniment by Adelaide piano virtuoso David McEvoy.


How long have you been singing?

I trained as a classical singer in opera and my first public performance was singing ‘Vilia‘ from the operetta ‘0‘ in a small church at the age of 17.

My singing has taken me on a diverse musical adventure of original song writing and performing a variety of vocal styles, such as musical theatre, cabaret, jazz and French chanson.


You studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Australian Musical Theatre Academy and MASQUE National Institute of Performing Arts. What made you decide to pursue these studies and a career in music?

I was always interested in music and the arts from a very young age. It wasn’t a path that ran in my family nor was encouraged. My Greek parents were conservative and wanted me to earn a good living with a professional career such as accounting. So, I chose two paths – finance and performance. I completed an MBA in business and became a chartered accountant, a career that helped me through the darkness of the pandemic, faced by many artists.


But my passion has always been music and acting. I feel creatively fulfilled with every production I write and perform. In fact, I could not imagine my life without this artistic expression.

Montmartre! Rendezvous in ParisAlso, how have these studies informed your show writing and performance?

I love characterisation and bringing elements of theatre into my shows. My performance studies have helped me to build interesting concepts and write engaging scripts that connect with audiences. I understand the importance of constant practice and skill development, as this is absolutely essential to delivering polished, quality entertainment. My business and finance studies have assisted in creating realistic show budgets, problem-solving, business development and marketing.


What attracted you to French music and made you decide to write shows around it?

‘La vie en rose’ was the song that first captivated me. The melody is so rich and beautiful that even when sung acapella it still holds strong. My love affair with French culture started at the tender age of twelve when I sat down for my first French class in high school and continued throughout my studies in university, where I completed a Bachelor of Arts in French language.


Although I have always been drawn to all things French, I am more of a Franco-fanatic than a Francophile. Honestly, I do not know exactly where this fascination comes from. In fact, during the long Melbourne lockdowns I wrote my third French-themed show so that I could explore the source of my Franco fascination.


The show entitled ‘Paris Nocturne’ is my love letter to Paris and a musical celebration of the women of France: Edith Piaf, Josephine Baker, Dalida, Brigitte Bardot, Coco Chanel, Colette, Madame de Pompadour, Josephine Bonaparte and the infamous Marie Antoinette. These women all have one thing in common: they created what I like to think of as the ‘Paris Phenomenon’. Their influence helped shape an unparalleled society of beauty, femininity, love, sex, art, literature, music, culture and style. And it is this phenomenon that I have always been drawn to.


Montmartre! Rendezvous in ParisAdelaide audiences may have also seen you in quite a different Burlesque Assassin – is that a purely burlesque show? Do you still do burlesque?

‘Burlesque Assassin’ was my very first cabaret production. It enjoyed a sold-out three-show season at Nexus Theatre during Adelaide Fringe 2011. It was predominantly a burlesque show but also featured singing with an original live music band, as well as dance, aerial theatre and num-chuks. It wasn’t a conscious decision to exclude burlesque in my shows going forward, it just kind of happened as I focused more on cabaret singing and storytelling.


You’ve performed in New York City, Edinburgh, Berlin and throughout Australia. Were these performances all of French chanson? Did audiences react differently in different countries?

Not all of my performances have been strictly French chanson. I did not find that audiences reacted too differently in the countries that I toured.


In Edinburgh, I enjoyed a sold-out five-show season in 2012 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe performing a burlesque-themed show titled ‘Bordello Blues’ singing songs of Marlene Dietrich, Nina Simone and of course, Edith Piaf (she features in most of my shows!).


My Berlin performance titled ‘Piaf and Dietrich’ was centred around the life-long friendship forged between Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich since their initial meeting in a New York City ladies’ bathroom in 1948. The musical repertoire included songs shared by both legends as well as Berlin cabaret classics.

You sing Piaf’s songs in a way that is very much your own style – how would you describe your singing style?

Piaf’s vocal signature is easily identifiable with her warm, distinctive tremolo tone which was as big as she was small. Like Piaf, I am a petite lady with deep emotive expression and vocal projection but my style is described as a mix of classical, clean overtones and delicate textures.


You regularly perform your show No Regrets: The Edith Piaf Story in Melbourne. When did you create the show and what made you decide to write a show about Edith Piaf?

The success of ‘No Regrets’ really took me by surprise. I was inspired to write the show in 2015 after reading Piaf’s incredible biography ‘No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf’ by Carolyn Burke. I was so very drawn to Piaf and her story. I felt as though I knew her. The show was created in two months and premiered in early 2016 at an intimate Melbourne vaudeville theatre for a three-show season. Following the success of the short season run, the venue asked me to return: the show was performed 40 times in 18 months. I then took the show on the road all around Australia. I currently perform ‘No Regrets: The Edith Piaf Story’ regularly at Paris Cat Jazz Club in Melbourne and The Vanguard in Sydney, as well as other special venues and spaces.


What’s your favourite Edith Piaf song?

My favourite Piaf song is one of her more obscure pieces: Mon Legionnaire, written by Marguerite Monnot and Raymond Asso. I love the story and melodic changes. It is a song about a woman’s longing for an American soldier, whose name she does not know, and with whom she has a brief one-night affair as she chants “Il m’a aimé toute la nuit, mon legionnaire” (my legionnaire loved me all through the night). When Piaf first sung this song in 1937, she was only 22, and it was quite controversial as the lyrics and theme were considered risqué and daring.


What’s your favourite French song?

I absolutely adore the song Paroles, Paroles by the incredibly talented French singer and actress, Dalida. She was born in Egypt to Italian parents and is one of my greatest inspirations, singing in eleven languages. Much like Piaf, she had a hugely successful career but her personal life was riddled with immense tragedy and heartache. She is considered one of the most popular female singers of all time in France. Unfortunately, she is not so well known here in Australia.


Why should audiences come to see Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris at Cabaret Fringe?

Montmartre! Rendezvous In Paris’ presents an authentic retelling of the history of bohemian life in Montmartre where I lived for several months to complete my research, interview locals and visit well known establishments such as Le Chat Noir, Moulin Rouge, Le Lapin Agile, Museum of Montmartre and Dali Paris Museum. The storytelling aspect of the performance evokes emotions of nostalgia, wonderment, love and sadness using elements of music, theatre and dance, that I hope will resonate in the heart of audiences long after the show.


Will you be touring this show after Adelaide?

The show premiered in late 2019 just before COVID hit and so touring plans have been on hold until now. I am currently in discussion with venues and theatres to tour the show around metro and regional art centres of Australia.


We thank Nikki Nouveau for this interview and look forward to seeing Montmartre Rendezvous in Paris in Adelaide next weekend.



WHAT: Montmartre! Rendezvous in Paris, a cabaret show by Nikki Nouveau

WHERE: Star Theatres, 143 Sir Donald Bradman Drive, HILTON

WHEN: 7:30pm on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 June

HOW: Purchase your tickets via the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival website:



What’s your favourite place in Montmartre?

Montmartre Rendezvous in Paris


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