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Fringe – Borderline Public Offence: Where Fetish Meets Philosophy

Presenter Ned Barnfield demands to be seen and heard.

His heels are a decent six-inches, eyes and lips coated in glitter and he’s crooning a cabaret take on a certain Def Leppard hit while literally smearing sugar over his body. There’s a full jar of honey at the edge of the stage, which audience members eye nervously from time to time (when they can take their eyes off Ned).

Ned’s voice and moves are impressive but he’s not just here to show them off – he’s here to talk ethics. Borderline Public Offence is a witty musical analysis of the ways women and men are fetishised in modern music and the ethical responsibilities of artists and consumers.

Pop hits from the last five years cop the most flack for objectifying women – if you cringed the first time you really listened to the lyrics of Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, you’ve got a scathing reading to look forward to.

Yet even as it forces you to think, the show’s tone stays upbeat and fun. There’s laughter from the audience throughout and Ned even breaks character from time to time to step back and have a genuine laugh at himself. His act could do with some fine-tuning as he finished the show 45 minutes into the promised 70 (he was as surprised as anyone). But he won us back with some extra improv, then came down off the stage for easy banter with the audience.

All this goes down in the back room of the Adelaide German Club, a surprisingly perfect venue for a fairly risqué cabaret show. Part of the fun is wondering whether the diners have any idea what’s happening on the other side of the door.

Until March 12

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