Who’s Exploring Mental Health at Adelaide Fringe 2020?

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By Anna Jeavons


Some great shows with mental health themes and content coming up for Adelaide Fringe! We’ve compiled a few descriptions to read below, and you can always find out more here. Stay tuned for mindshare’s 2020 reviews.

Sean Quinn – Cognitive Behavioural Terrorist
Sean earns a living from other people’s distress. Anxiety, depression, problem gambling – you name it, he surrounds himself in it. Why? Sean is a cognitive behavioural therapist. Come watch his show where he combines his therapy with his comedy. He’ll laugh you through a therapy session and other parts of his life. “50% Ted talk, 100% funny” Hey hey It’s Friday.

The Devil Made Me Do It
Theatre / Cabaret
Coming face to face, quite literally, with her demons, Mackenzie realises she can no longer escape her past. A show that explores mental health, ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’ delves into the sinister part of our psyche and shows that the demons get to you sometimes, but you don’t have to let to let them. You just have to kill them.

Josh Mensch: Abomination
Theatre / Comedy
Josh Mensch: Abomination is a show stitched together from two colliding parts; the first is a one man theatre piece about a monster and a village, the second is an anecdotal stand up set focusing on self-image, trivial disgust, and the misuse of mental energy.
It’s Frankenstein, meets Inside Out, with a peppering of Seinfeld.

Numinous Asylum
Theatre / Mixed Media
Describing an experience that makes you fearful, yet fascinated, awed yet attracted – the powerful, personal experience of being overwhelmed and inspired. This beautiful distraction is a culminating – theatre, dance performance intertwined with film, sound and spoken word to create exactly what its name portrays.
Focusing on the estranged relationship between the medical system and mental health, this multi media experience will create a hauntingly beautiful imprint, that will aim at changing community perception, by providing an insight into the irony surrounding common beliefs and shining a light on how we, as human beings, can united, achieve greater healing and understanding of the roots from which we all grow.

A Tribute to Nina Simone – A Single Woman
Music / Cabaret
In the 20th century, Nina Simone was considered an influential musician. A beautiful songstress and story teller, her music and message remains relevant to this day. She fought against racism, sexism, abuse and struggled through a long battle with her own mental health. Through her music she connected with people and her story telling ability through songs captivated her audiences, her singing style and voice being instantly recognisable. With over 40 albums in Nina’s library of music, come with us on a journey through Nina’s life from her earliest hits to the revival of her career in her later life. Nina’s life experiences and honest emotion were constantly reflected in her music, we will play some of her well known pieces as well as songs that defined important milestones in her complicated life.

Baggage Limit
Cabaret / Musical Theatre
Sometimes you have to unpack your sh*t to find the magic and Peta Morris’s one woman musical monologue does just that. Told through the lens of her two alter egos Wayne and Sharon, she uses storytelling and song to interweave a personal narrative about a life lived with anxiety and depression. Delivered with a delicate balance of humour, she addresses raw and confronting subject matter, enabling her to communicate and connect with the audience on issues many of us find too difficult to confront.
Her musical monologue format creates an experience, that make the darkest of times hit the highest of notes. ‘Baggage Limit’ is as much about coming to terms with what is, but learning how to make peace with the past and having a better relationship with the voices in your head.

Dr Selflove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Thighs
Theatre / Spoken Word
Unfortunately, growing up happens to everyone. Along the way, some things stick with us; a comment from someone you thought you knew, or an attitude towards an object that you love. How do these things shape us? A show which poses more questions than it answers, explore vulnerability, change and strength from a female perspective with Dr Selflove. Directed by Benjamin Maio Mackay.

Kupesi in Colour
Visual Arts and Design / Mixed Media
In this exhibition, Tongan/Australian artist BAY investigates the ancient art form of Tongan Kupesi. The traditional method of story-telling through pattern and metaphor is sadly being lost. By focussing on traditional elements, and cultural symbolism, colour and identity will combine to breathe new life into a forgotten art.
BAY is an Adelaide based visual artist whose work explores mental health and her Tongan ancestry. Cultural symbols and metaphors in Polynesian design have inspired her most recent body of work, investigating the traditional and dying art of Kupesi (Tongan pattern making). As she forms a deeper connection with her islander heritage, her paintings become a platform to communicate lost culture and pacific storytelling.

Rosie Waterland: Kid Chameleon
Comedy / Performance
Rosie spent her childhood shapeshifting and course-correcting based on the scenario. Mum’s a sex worker? Adjust. In foster care? Shape-shift. Dad collapses drunk? Course correct, figure it out. When your world keeps changing, you kind of have no choice but to keep changing with it.
A household name since her hilarious Bachelor recaps became essential pop culture reading, award-winning podcaster, author & comedian Rosie has sold out theatres and enraptured audiences across the country with her trademark frank, funny honesty on topics from awkward sex to body image and mental health. Don’t miss one of Australia’s most prolific, honest, endearingly funny talents.

Dance / Theatre
‘Moments’ is an original dance and physical theatre piece that visits and explores significant moments we experience throughout our lives and how they affect us. Now in its fourth season, Moments blends dance, physical theatre, art, music and voice.
The cast of six multi-talented performers, led by choreographer Madeline Pratt, utilise their talents along this sensory journey to warm your heart, while making you laugh, cry and think. Moment by moment, dancer by dancer, sometimes as duets, sometimes as whole group events, we see love, lust, awkwardness, betrayal, death, and so much more.

Theatre / Physical Theatre
Max wants to tell you a story. He’s not entirely sure why, or even who he is; savage, peacekeeper or critic?
‘Passengers’, by UK award-winning trans artist Kit Redstone and director Jessica Edwards, explores in ensemble the epic battles within the psyche and the beautiful power of the mind to protect itself, inviting you to see the self in a whole new way. ‘Passengers’ is a semi-autobiographical dark comedy about the epic battles and alliances within the psyche and the power of the mind to protect itself from pain.

Circus and Physical Theatre / Dance Theatre
Being a teenager can be confusing and scary. Sometimes we find ourselves in toxic and dangerous relationships without even knowing. We miss the signs and now we don’t know how to get out. We are just kids, it’s only fun and games, right? How do we see the signs something is not right and when do we stand up and say that the treatment we are receiving is UNacceptable?
‘UNacceptable’ is an original physical-dance theatre show derived from real experiences of teenagers who have unknowingly entered a toxic relationship. This carefully sculpted piece of theatre is designed for teenagers to recognise a potentially dangerous situation and identify ways to escape safely. A story about incredible strength, bravery, personal growth, and self-belief.

Confessions from the Bell Jar
Cabaret / Comedy
In 1963, prolific poet and writer Sylvia Plath makes the decision to end her life by shoving her head in an oven. Jack Lynch wants to know: why?
A new musical journey through the life and art of Sylvia Plath and a contemporary man’s own struggle with depression and emotional health.
So, take a seat. Let’s talk. These are my Confessions from the Bell Jar.

Theatre / Physical Theatre
“Hello you. This is the show I’ve made coz I’m not ready to make the one I really want to make about eating disorders because #triggered. So I invite you to share in my creative process until I get brave enough to explore the message I want to land in people’s earholes and delicately touch people’s heartstrings. I will probably do it anyway. I’ll welcome you into how fractured I am, how my relationships are fractured as f*ck and probably point out that we all are pretty fractured. I’m a professional actor so I’ll say some words, but also do the physical movement things so expect weird and wacky with some heart opening clown slotted in between the cracks.”

Simon Caine: Every Room Becomes a Panic Room When You Overthink Enough
Comedy / Stand Up
Award-winning British comedian Simon Caine brings his fourth solo show to Adelaide after a sell-out, five-star reviewed run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019. This show is about overthinking, anxiety and sex.

The Wild Unfeeling World
Theatre / Folk
A tender, furious and fragile reimagining of Moby Dick from multi-award winning writer and storyteller Casey Jay Andrews. A suburban fable of bad luck, reckless choices and irrational hope. The times when we leap, where sometimes we soar, and sometimes we drown. The epic infamous whale tale is reinvented in London and follows a young woman on the brink of self-destruction.

Theatre / Cross-Artform
Step inside No.33 and experience a journey of mystery and intrigue. Immerse yourself in the curious worlds that magically unfold around you, discover the secrets that dance in the shadows and see if you can piece together what happened here…
Gordon Southern: That Boy Needs Therapy
Comedy / Stand Up
A jaw-dropping true story that may even save your life
As seen on ABC’s Comedy Up Late.
Objectively this endless summer seems idyllic, but sometimes we all need a little help. Professional help. But what if your therapists had issues of their own?

The Depression Cure Show
Comedy / Stand Up
Antidepressant Dosage: To be taken during ADELAIDE FRINGE Festival.
Have you lost your dreams, your mind and your purpose in life?
Drawing on his experience, Jonathan Winfield prescribes the serious answers and joyful silliness that makes life worthwhile.

Slowly But Surely
Cabaret / Cross-Artform
SLOWLY BUT SURELY is the cabaret love child of poet Gemma Rose Marie Thorne, in partnership with ‘Girl Space’. A line up of entirely queer womxn and nonbinary artists, form an amoeba of poetry, music, and dance to tell a collective story. Listen, learn, cry and cheer together, release your heart. These are the voices you have been waiting to hear.
Slowly but Surely was the phrase Gemma Rose’s father would use to describe her before his sudden passing from a heart attack when she was just 18 years old; what stems from this is the idea that it may take time but we all will bloom regardless of trauma and challenge. The voices chosen are ones from people that have felt pain and grown in response. This is a celebration of survival from powerful young Adelaide womxn through dance poetry music.

The Boy My Father Raised
Taylor’s earliest memory is that of his mother lying cold on the ground with his father standing over them. He, like many other Australian children, has grown up in a household clouded with domestic violence and addiction. Addiction to alcohol, addiction to self-pity and addiction to second chances. Evidence suggests that those who grow up in an abusive household are more likely to be abusive themselves, but why and how? As Taylor tumbles through his schooling life, he struggles to find himself, weighed down by his home life that constantly burns in his mind. ‘The Boy My Father Raised’ exposes the battle between what is known and what is wanted. It chronicles the struggles of finding yourself and survival when all the odds are against you.

Never Been To Me
Music / Acoustic
The quirky crew from Adelaide band Hurting Curtis return again after a hugely successful Fringe 2019, with a moving and deeply honest show about their personal journeys of self-discovery, and the music that defined the highs and rock bottom lows along the way. For two (2) exclusive nights only, band members Rainey, Georgia, Michael, & Tim tell revealing and deeply personal stories of their youthful hopes and dreams, and eventual pathways through the teenage years, anxiety, adulthood, death, addictions, parenthood, and personal responsibility, in a light yet honest fashion sure to inspire both giggles and tears.

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