The West

From a play in a North Perth backyard and a performance in an inner-city hotel room to cabaret in a vacated shop, this year's Fringe World is turning the tables on traditional venues and proving art can happen anywhere.

The spirit of the fringe has spread to bars and rooftops, galleries and courtyards, extending as far as Fremantle and regional WA.

Local play The Wives of Hemingway found its home in a garden, which will be transformed into a tiki-style set named Havana Special.

Billed as a surreal and twisted imagining of Hemingway's many marriages, it is set against the backdrop of big game hunting on safari.

Director Zoe Pepper admitted that with Perth theatre space at a premium, the unusual venue was partly out of necessity, but the value of the outdoor setting was immediately clear.

"It was the best possible place for us to do this," actor Tim Watts said.

"It's different from anything else that's on at the fringe and everyone's pretty excited about it. We are asking people to do something different and people are up for it."

If performers can find a venue, they can stage their show, so the availability of alternative spaces to accommodate them has been vital.

Fringe World program director Amber Hasler said many venues approached the festival to offer space to artists or organised their own performers.

"It was something we really hoped would happen and the response has been amazing," she said. "The fringe allows for artists to show creativity and push that by incorporating spaces into performances.

"All these spaces have their own atmosphere but injecting the fringe spirit into them is really good for the venues, really good for the fringe and really good for audiences."

Other unusual venues include a room at the Riverview Hotel in the city where Uta Uber Kool Ja hosts an after-party themed show and a former shop on Beaufort Street is the Bok Choy Arena and Ballroom for a big program that includes Tomas Ford and Cabaret d'Amour Petit.

The West Australian

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