He's been Perth's king of fringe for longer than the city has had a fringe festival and now cabaret mad man Tomas Ford brings his hotly touted new show to the Bok Choy Ballroom for Fringe World.
After years of challenging the audience with such shows as Cabaret of Death and Tomas Ford vs the Audience, the Rockingham-bred performer has finally found a way to become one with his onlookers in An Audience With Tomas Ford.
"I wanted to make industrial music and be aggressive, and I thought that the audience would want to go there with me and they usually did," Ford recalls of his early shows.
"I've discovered in the intervening period that it's a lot more fun if I can get the audience to play with me and we can go to somewhere cool together, rather than me just trying to get people off in a punk rock way. Now it's An Audience With Tomas Ford, and it's an inclusive experience."
The new show made its debut at last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it got an overwhelmingly positive reaction and even picked up a To&st Award nomination for best cabaret act.
It was payoff for nearly a decade of hard work for Ford. "I'd had up and down experiences at Australian festivals and I knew that I had to take this new show overseas first, and see how they responded to it," he says. "I felt like maybe it would be their thing, and I was right. It went really, really well. It was probably the most successful season I could have had. It's sent me on this path now where I'm more in the fringe or cabaret scene, and touring-wise it just makes so much more sense now just to concentrate on being a cabaret guy, especially since what I do is so far out."
In addition to performing his own show 10 times during Fringe World, Ford has also created much of Mount Lawley pop-up venue the Bok Choy Ballroom's program.
"It's full of fun and exciting programming of some of the stuff that I've been able to see around fringes in Australia and internationally," he offers.
As if that wasn't enough, the multiple WAMi award-winner for best electronic artist is also dabbling in hosting duties for Leederville Lounge at the Leederville Hotel.
"We're turning it into more of a rock room on Thursday night," he hints. "We're doing a Tonight Show format and interviewing bands. It's just a lot of fun, and we're hoping to turn it into a television project."
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