Anya Anastasia and a Decade of Fringe

Late last year I had the opportunity to meet Anya Anastasia, a cabaret performer celebrating a decade of performing in the Adelaide Fringe. Anastasia has a diverse range of skills including riding a unicycle or maintaining perfect pitch while doing a handstand—something not many of us could do, I’m sure.

Since first seeing Anastasia perform in 2015 with Torte-e-Mort: Songs of Cake and Death, I have been eagerly following her career and booking tickets for each of her new shows at the Adelaide Fringe. For the past few years Anastasia has presented two shows: one new and the other back from touring. This year brings the premiere of The Show and the return of The Executioners—both shows that are a departure from her previous work. I was eager to talk to Anastasia about this in her show The Executioners which has a strong environmentalist message.

The Executioners is a collaboration between Anastasia and Gareth Chin, both very socially aware individuals, they want the show to effectively to open up conversation about the power of the individual to contribute to change. Anastasia’s character is presented much in the “millennial fashion” while Chin maintains the humble authenticity of a man who knows not just to take care but repair all of his possessions. The onstage dynamic of these two is described by Anastasia as “the gift that just keeps giving”.

“The show explores the hypocrisy or the dilemma of modern life; where we’re so aware of the damage we’re doing to the planet and the impact of all of our little actions and aware of all the little things we can be doing. But then at the same time we do live in this world where it’s a consumer society. Where there is still a demand to participate and be present in that if you want to thrive.”

While admittedly quite cynical and confronting, Anastasia wanted to showcase these social issues surrounding environmentalism and politics as well as produce music that could be enjoyed. She also wanted to reflect the digital world that we live in and the influence that technology has (both positive and negative) on society.

With a soundtrack of entirely original music, Anastasia and Chin put their musical talents together to present a diverse range of music, from acoustic through to electronic, designed to accompany the performance and their characters. “We wanted everything to be still tied together in a coherent style, even though it goes from acoustic numbers through to a raging fight scene with digital accompaniment.”

Anastasia wants to “create a whole aesthetic and soundscape that did that and reflected how much technology is a part of our lives” through incorporating both traditional and electronic compositions. Chin was responsible for crafting the piano parts and incorporating the accordion, but they also had another collaborator who is based in Berlin and responsible for more of the electronic side of things.

Anastasia’s second show, premiering for the first time at the Adelaide Fringe in 2019, is simply titled The Show. Anastasia told me a little about what we can expect from this new performance—an even greater departure from her previous work. The Show explores some big “what if” ideas about Anastasia’s life as a performer and what she would have left if she quit. She interrogates ideas about what cabaret is and the ridiculous things that make up her life. She says it’s “it’s quite funny, self-deprecating, and very honest.” I for one, am quite keen to see it.

As a fan of Anastasia, I would highly recommend seeing The Executioners and/or The Show while they’re in town!


The Executioners is playing at Gluttony’s Masonic Lodge until March 3 nightly.

The Show is playing at Gluttony’s Masonic Lodge across selected dates from March 5.

Words by Kayla Gaskell.

Nirvana – Nevermind the Singer

The Fringe has brilliantly recaptured the essence of many a great musical era over the years, with cover bands inspiring the new generations and yet fuelling the nostalgia of many seniors who come back to a simpler time temporarily, in the short captivation of a single performance. One talented group, in all its glory, milks the essence of the 90’s precursor of grunge. Nirvana- Never Mind the Singer by Great White Productions became a little something to diversify the Fringes’ entertaining reaches across Adelaide.

Upon entering the well renounced Crown and Anchor venue just a corner away from the action of Rundle Street, the back room had filled to capacity. The crowd formed a hoard of ex-rockers snug up against the stage front and inevitably piled all the way to the peeling band posters at the rear. It wasn’t long before the screeching of distorted guitars arose the morbidity and excitement of Kurt Cobain’s unique style and so, as the pun intends, the band kicked off in chronological order the tracks from Nirvana’s Nevermind album, with the hit song Smells Like Teen Spirit in the lead.

In an unexpected twist, the band featured two females of the five vocalists, which produced an aura of perpetual tone shifts amongst the high octaves and the low octaves in each piece.  With some dominating as lead and some supporting as backup, the transition of vocal ranges made for a great show all in all, achieving a wide spectrum of sound that any trained ear can appreciate.

The instrumental efforts were close with the original recordings, and for the fans, that really fulfilled the desire to witness a live act of such a pioneering sound.

Loud and abound, the atmosphere continued to increase, and each song began to peak higher and higher as the voice boxes of the singers began to tear. Personally, the energy from Territorial Pissings blew me away, as the notable song to end in Cobain’s chaotic screams, you could see the exertions upon each face as they screamed in unison.

Unfortunately, the show was a one night only. However, if you have a chance, come as you are to see Nirvana: Nevermind the Singer.


Four stars

Words by Sarah Ingham