Okay, technically it's spring but if Splendour feels like last century and Falls is just too far away, the Sydney Fringe runs all through September. It's edgier, rawer and takes itself way less seriously than many of the other such cultural gatherings. Better still, for the first time there's a dedicated precinct in Chippendale - the Kensington Street Festival Village - with 22 restaurants and a revolving cast of free entertainment in the evenings. There are hundreds of acts to choose from spanning interactive street art and dance to drama and comedy, but who can be bothered trawling the program when there are cat videos on social awaiting your immediate attention? Relax, we've pored over the pages for you. You can find out more at sydneyfringe.com.

 

Cirque Africa

Best in show: the insider's guide to the Sydney Fringe Festival

What: A more raucous and way more affordable version of Cirque D'Soleil featuring a troupe from Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Gambia and Zimbabwe pulsating its way through dance, clowning and something called foot juggling.
When: Sept 9-30.
Where: The Big Top, Sydney Park.
How much: tickets from $31.63, cirqueafrica.com.au 

 

Silent Theatre

Best in show: the insider's guide to the Sydney Fringe Festival

What: Like a silent disco but actually fun. This is actually a cracking idea - four playwrights spend four nights in adjacent rooms at a hotel and each write a scene. Two weeks later audiences watch the drama unfold from the street below while listening via headphones. Voyeurism meets kultcha.
When: Sept 19-21
Where: Urban Hotel, Newtown.
How much: tickets from $38 with a drink thrown in, sydneyfringe.com 

 

INSA

Best in show: the insider's guide to the Sydney Fringe Festival

What: A twist on the street art retrospective. Here, artist INSA delves into the world of GIF-ITI whereby you use a free app to turn murals into gifs on your phone or tablet. Gimmicky but fun.
When: Sept 1-30.
Where: World Square.
How much: nada, insaland.com

 

Global Rhythms

Best in show: the insider's guide to the Sydney Fringe Festival

What: A hustling, bustling sweaty dance party with music from the likes of King Tide, San Lazaro, Afrobrasiliana and The Strides with Afro Moses. Okay, we haven't heard of them either but if you don't want to move, you're legit dead inside.
When: Sept 24.
Where: Bicentennial Park, Glebe.
How much: tickets from $30, sydneyfringe.com

 

James Smith

Best in show: the insider's guide to the Sydney Fringe Festival

What: Whip smart comedy from the New York based Australian comedian who just opened for Chris Rock on his Australian tour. Laid back but uber incisive.
When: Sept 5-10.
Where: Factory Theatre.
How much: tickets from $19, fringecomedy.com.au

 

Tina Del Twist: Gold Class

Best in show: the insider's guide to the Sydney Fringe Festival

What: Drag queenery that goes beyond the double entendres into a genuine character who just happens to be gin-soaked and have an astounding voice. As the Adelaide Advertiser noted, "When she can remember the lyrics, she's wonderful. When she can't, she's superb."
When: Sept 21-23.
Where: Giant Dwarf.
How much: tickets from $25, giantdwarf.com.au

Best in show: the insider's guide to the Sydney Fringe Festival