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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French conductor Guillaume Tournaire is in Australia for Opera Australia’s Don Giovanni

Reading Time: 6 minutes

French conductor Guillaume Tournaire, is currently in Sydney for Opera Australia’s production of Don Giovanni. He has been to Australia working with Opera Australia several times. We speak to him about Don Giovanni, opera and him. Read our interview with Guillaume Tournaire below.

Guillaume Tournaire, you’re in Australia for Opera Australia’s production of Don Giovanni for which you are the conductor. Tell us a little about this production.

This show was conceived by the famous director David McVicar who was invited by Opera Australia to produce a new (and magnificent) production of what is called the “Da Ponte Trilogy“. After having composed numerous operas such as Idomeneo or The Abduction from the Seraglio, Mozart collaborated three times with the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. This extraordinary encounter left us with three masterpieces, Le Nozze di Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787) and Così fan Tutte (1790).


After having already directed this trilogy for The Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) in London, David McVicar has directed a new production for the Sydney Opera House. I have already had the pleasure and privilege of conducting Le Nozze di Figaro [The Marriage of Figaro] for Opera Australia (in 2016 and 2019), and it is with great emotion that I return to Sydney for this [production of] Don Giovanni.


You have worked with Opera Australia on several productions since 2011 but Don Giovanni will be your first performance in Australia since COVID, I believe?

As for most of us (and not only musicians…), life seems to have stopped for close to two years. For many families, this period was very difficult, even tragic. It has shown us how fragile life is, and how our behaviour and the future of humanity must now be our constant concern.


What do you appreciate about Opera Australia’s work?

Its excellence! But also, and above all, the wonderful humanity that lives in the heart of each of its members, whether they are singers, musicians, technicians, administrative staff… I admire this company enormously.


Why did you decide to become a conductor?

I don’t really know myself, but it was a childhood dream. Although there is no musician in my family, for as long as I can remember, I have always dreamed of doing this job. As a child, I sang in a very Amateur choir (with a capital A) in a small town in Provence, and the pleasure I felt every Saturday in sharing music with others undoubtedly led me to this path.


And what led you to opera specifically?

The beauty of the human voice, and the richness and complexity of the exchanges and feelings that are shared throughout the development of a production. It is undoubtedly the most complex expression of the performing arts, combining creation, tradition, music, theatre, literature, visual arts, dance, technology… The life of an opera company also resembles in many ways that of a circus, where we share long periods of rehearsal together, in which each must be attentive to the other.


What are the qualities required to become a conductor?

Of course, one must have a solid musical education, play one or more instruments, have as much knowledge as possible, and know perfectly well the scores one chooses to conduct… but that is not the main thing. Unlike a teacher who, in principle, addresses students who expect him to teach them, a conductor is surrounded by musicians who all have tremendous talent and a great musical background. His mission is not to teach them anything, but to communicate his own passion, his own perception of a work while soliciting their interest and making them listen to each other. When the magic happens, you really get the impression that the orchestra is on fire and that there is nothing more beautiful in the world…

Guillaume Tournaire, Don GIovanni, Opera Australia

You also studied piano. Do you still play it?

Yes and no… I still play the piano regularly, but only to work on my orchestral scores or possibly to rehearse with a singer. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to work on my technique as I used to, and I don’t want to play in concerts anymore.


In addition, you have also written your own versions of the music of Grieg, Mozart, Mahler, Prokofiev, Damase among others. Tell us a little about this experience.

I believe that one of the greatest qualities should be curiosity in everyone. I have always enjoyed going to libraries to look for little or unknown scores, just to read them and eventually play them in public. On that note, in Australia, I was lucky to record with the Victoria Orchestra of Melbourne and the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, works as magnificent as unjustly unknown (until then) by Louis Vierne or Camille Saint-Saëns. I am excited about two major projects for this new year. In October and December 2023, I will conduct two fantastic (forgotten!) operas by Camille Erlanger (1863-1919): L’Aube Rouge (at the Wexford Festival) and La Sorcière (in Geneva)!


Do you ever feel like playing music and not conducting it?

A few years ago, I used to play a lot of chamber music with friends. I miss it very much, but life is like that and I am so lucky to be conducting that it would be inappropriate to complain.


How many hours of rehearsal do you do with the orchestra before the opening night? I imagine the musicians must all be fairly familiar with the score by the time you arrive in Australia?

I don’t just rehearse with the musicians… For a new production, we usually have four weeks of musical and stage rehearsals with the singers and a pianist. Then we have a few reading sessions with the orchestra alone, and then the singers and musicians are reunited a few days before the premiere. Whether or not the score is known to the orchestra, we always have reading sessions to find the colours together, an interpretation, and of course, the musicians all arrive already perfectly prepared before the first rehearsal.


You have conducted orchestras all over the world – in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Poland, Austria, Russia, Portugal and even South Korea – what has been the highlight of your career?

I couldn’t possibly single out one production above all others. However, I can remember many strong emotions that I experienced here and there, for one reason or another, which is not always related to the musical quality alone. Since we are in Sydney, I can’t help but think of the wonderful productions I conducted here of Eugene Onegin, Faust, Thaïs, Figaro, shared with Nicole Car.


What is your favourite opera to conduct? Do you have a favourite composer?

It’s always the one I’m rehearsing or conducting… When you go on stage, you always have to do it with the thought that it could be the last time in your life.


Are there scores that are extremely difficult to conduct?

Yes, alas,… those that are less great… Often the difficulty is not where you think it is…


Why should people come to see Opera Australia’s production of Don Giovanni this January and February?

The more years go by, the more experience I have, the more it seems to me that Mozart is the light that enlightens us. His music is the very outpouring of life. The laughter that overcomes all darkness. The most fragile and profound humanity.


Our societies seem to be finally discovering the horrors and abuses of macho behaviour… but as early as 1787, Mozart and da Ponte had Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Zerlina testify to the abuses of Don Giovanni. Long before the MeToo movement… and far above the gutter talk of social networks, their denunciation stuns us with its strength and elevation.

Guillaume Tournaire, Don GIovanni, Opera Australia

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself, about opera in general or about this production of Don Giovanni?

Perhaps a word of advice to those who have never heard opera before… Come and discover Don Giovanni… you will be astounded, stunned (among other wonders), by the evocative power of the final scene, where two titans, Don Giovanni and the Commendatore, confront each other until the annihilation of evil.


WHAT: Don Giovanni presented by Opera Austalia


  • Tuesday 10 January, 7pm
  • Saturday 14 January, 12pm
  • Tuesday 17 January, 7pm
  • Thursday 19 January, 7pm
  • Saturday 21 January, 7pm
  • Wednesday 25 January, 7pm
  • Saturday 28 January, 7pm
  • Thursday 2 February, 7pm
  • Thursday 9 February, 7pm
  • Friday 17 February, 7pm

WHERE: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

HOW: Buy tickets via the Opera Australia website:

HOW MUCH: Adult tickets from $81 plus a $9.80 booking fee

Cathy Di Zhang stars in Don Giovanni too. Read our interview with her when she starred in State Opera South Australia’s production of Bohème on the Beach

For other events with a French connection, read our What’s on in January article



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