photo-icon Kate Pardy

5 'Fringe' minutes with Fez Fa'anana

At Play

Glamazon-drag superhero Fez Fa'anana lines up beside two other epic entertainers: Queen of Pop, Marcia Hines, and eclectic international star Amanda Palmer, as the glittering ambassadorial trio showcasing this year's diamond anniversary edition of the Adelaide Fringe (14 February to 15 March) to the world.

If those traffic-stopping eyelashes look familiar, it's because Fez has been bringing his tongue-in-cheek sass to town for the Adelaide Fringe for over a decade.

"I am bubbling over the brim and intoxicated with glee being one of the Adelaide Fringe ambassadors for the 60th anniversary," said Fez. "I have had the pleasure of growing as an artist with Adelaide Fringe. It has been a playground, a classroom and the principal's office."

A long-time champion for inclusion, Fez says the welcoming nature of the Adelaide Fringe has always been one of its biggest draw cards.

"The history of the word ‘Fringe’ in the festival context harks back to 1947 when eight uninvited theatre companies turned up to Edinburgh International Festival, referring to themselves as the Festival Adjuncts, creating an alternative, semi-official festival that sat on the peripheral; on the Fringe. This is where I feel most at home."
Fez Fa'anana, Adelaide Fringe 2020 Ambassador

Fez faanana credit sway photography


In between ambassadorial duties, Fez will be hitting the stage at the 2020 Adelaide Fringe.

"I have the pleasure of hustling as a freelance performer as I once did when I first started out in Adelaide in 2008," said Fez.

"I am hosting The Garden Gala every Monday night in The Garden of Unearthly Delights, I am premiering Black List, a first class selection of fierce first nations circus and variety performers, and I will be curating and hosting the Stirling Fringe Variety Gala.

"You may also find me working in the Donut Diner in The Garden of Unearthly Delights."

While Fez has been very busy spruiking the Fringe to the world over the last few months, we did manage to squeeze in a quick chat about all things Adelaide and the Fringe!

Important questions first. Does the Ambassadorial title come with any sort of fashionable trappings?

"Yes. This is a big reason for taking up the position. I have been led to believe that there is crown or it could be a tiara or veil or trucker cap or a head band - I can’t recall what I agreed to in the contract. Though I do remember that Kevin Costner has been employed as my personal security guard."

Can we expect to see some sort of show-stopping performance by all three of this year’s AF ambassadors?

"I think you just locked in the casting for the 2021 Adelaide Fringe headline production funded by Australia Council. Can you please write the grant application for us?"

With over a decade of Fringe fun under your belt, tell us your:

Best heckle: "'I’m thirsty?!' – an awkward drunken heckle with inflections and emphasis all over the shop. It still confuses me about whether or not it was a question, a statement or a drinks order."

Favourite performance outfit: "My now retired off-the-shoulder green sequin jump suit that was the first costume I ever had made for myself. I wore her until the gusset fell out!"

Worst wardrobe malfunction: "My biggest wardrobe malfunction was actually forgetting the undergarments for what was meant to be a big reveal. I just revealed my bad underwear!"

Most ingenious promotional ploy: "Insisting that I land the Fringe Ambassador role 2020."

Best Fringe show title: "'All Genius All Idiot' by Svalbard Company from Sweden."

Fez faanana

As a regular to the city , what are your fave spots for:

.. a cheeky post show cocktail: "I would suggest looking for any pop up bars or head to The Collins Bar at the Hilton Hotel."

.. a morning caffeine shot? "Abbots and Kinney on Pirie Street. I’m not much of coffee drinker; I go for pastries but the coffee smells and looks amazing."

.. a retail fix: "Rundle Street south of the mall hosts a string of stores from boutique-style retail outlets, op shops and department stores mixed with bars, restaurants, cafes etc."

.. a late-night boogie? "If I wanted to roll out my disco fever I would send people to Mary's Poppin. I hear it’s a hoot!"

Tell us your 2020 Adelaide Fringe picks for:

"Check out Blunderland at Gluttony. They are from New York and it’s their first time to Australia. They truly bring the spirit of Fringe. They are outrageous, smart and busting at the seams with sass."

Blunderland croppedjpg

"Head to the hills' Stirling Fringe Variety Gala. It’s a great way to experience Fringe and the uniqueness of Adelaide’s surroundings."

Stirling fringe credit darren clement
photo-icon Darren Clement

"Get to the preview of A Simple Space by Gravity and Other Myths at Gluttony. They are local, they are ridiculously amazing and this show put them on the map as one of Australia’s finest exports!"

Simple space credit chris herzfeld
photo-icon Chris Herzfeld

"Chasing Smoke in The Garden of Unearthly Delights. This is something everyone should see!"

Chasing smoke

"I think L.I.A.R (Life Is A Rehearsal) in The Garden Of Unearthly Delights would be my pick. They are gorgeous, smart, skilful and bring their own flavour to the forefront."

Liar lifes a rehearsal promo image

"I have to say Chasing Smoke again. It is so uniquely Australian, profound and relevant."

The City of Adelaide is a proud supporter of the 2020 Adelaide Fringe.

Article by

Skye Murtagh

Skye Murtagh

Skye is passionate about sharing stories from all walks of life. When she's not busy weaving beautiful words together, she's singing a line or two from her favourite song.