This Sunday night (March 11) at close to midnight at The Vagabond in The Garden of Unearthly Delights, I will be at what has been my favourite Fringe show for the last seven years. The sensational EUROWISION. It’s not dissimilar to a certain other song competition, full of astounding and often indescribable performances from unlikely candidates on a world stage. But if you can imagine everything you love about Eurovision, but replace all the acts with the cream of the acts from around the Fringe representing countries they may or not actually be from, times alcohol, glamorous hosts, occasional nudity, incomprehensible choreography and the most hilarious ‘Postcards’ in ANY International song contest, you’d be in the ballpark of just what EuroWision is. The performers have included Hans, Axis of Awesome, Gingzilla, Ivan Aristeguieta, and last years Fringe sensations Cirque Alfonse also won the coveted superglued EuroWision trophy.

There are dancers, flag waving, and Heidi (Carla Conlin) and Uri (Andrew Cruppi), as our hilarious English as a second language hosts. It is a once a tear treat that will surely have you awarding them possible maximum twelve points. The full line-up of performers has been a bit hush hush at this stage, but we can now reveal Adelaide sensation Anya Anastasia will represent Portugal, Double Denim will be bringing it for Estonia, Gingzilla returns for Scotland, Ahmed Kazmi (France), Australia presents The Grannies, Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo (UK), The Fringe Wives Club (Moldova), George Kapiniaris (Greece). The lycra clad interpretive machinations of Mark ‘Postcards’ Trenwith will be back, much to the delight of regular patrons of EurioWision. I had a lovely chat with Carla Conlin (Heidi) about the impending 2018 EuroWision.

Over the past seven years, EuroWision has become my favourite fringe night of the year. Am I right in saying it was originally a one off show, that took on a life of its own?
Eurowision was originally a one night only show. Besides always quietly wanting to be part of Eurovision, I had the idea after seeing a few other variety karaoke style shows that were pretty late and loose. As a big fan of the European contest I though how fun would it be if we could take those kinds of acts and put them in the frame work of a parody Eurovision contest. I had no idea other people would enjoy that quite as much as they have and the show has grown so big that I feel a responsibility to keep it going. Some years I think, has it run its course? But then I know so many people, myself included, would miss it and we find ways to make it bigger and fresh!

EuroWision gets bigger each year and last year had your co-host via satellite from Europe, what is in store for this year?
When I first started the show I thought it was going to be all about the acts. Probably for the first 3 years I didn’t think people cared much what we hosts did at all. Then we found people love Heidi and Uri! So when Andrew Crupi moved to Portugal last year we knew we had to keep Uri in the show! This year there will be more satellite calls but from some very special places! You know because Eurovision is in Portugal this year.

Who have been your most memorable acts at EuroWision?
I think one of the most memorable acts was probably George Cassar doing Conchita Wurst! Getting to play the part of a flame in that one was a real highlight for me. It was just sheer perfection as far as parody performances go. Hans has been highlight over the years too! Such a crowd favourite with his outrageous stunts and Abba numbers. Michelle Brazier doing Dami Imm, Dave Eastgate representing Japan singing in Japanese in a bubble filled room, Dave Callan dancing to single ladies and Lords of Strut doing the more eye popping performance of Total Eclipse of The Heart are great memories and moments we’ve been able to share.

How would you describe the contribution of Postcards to EuroWision for those who haven’t experienced them yet?
Ok our postcards are like nothing else you have ever seen. You can’t describe them! Well you can, it’s a man in a morph suit doing interpretive dance meets, prop acting meets, meet performance art, but you need to see it to see why it’s so fun. Not even we know whats going to happen. I try to guide Mark but he inevitably finds some random object I’ve never seen and come on to music he’s never heard and just creates magic! I don’t think we could do the show without him.

Over the time you guys have been doing EuroWision, that other song contest from Europe has been getting more and more popular in Australia, we even get to enter it now and vote and everything. Do you think this is down to EuroWision bringing the song contest from foreign lands into the live arena in this country.
I think it’s totally thanks to EuroWision that Australia is part of the contest now. We were the first of the two contests to have Australia compete and being earlier in the year I think we set the tone for our European cousin. Last year Portugal one our contest and then Portugal won Eurovision! Personally I’m a big fan of Eurovision and I just love the music. Mainly those pop and dance style power songs but also those delightfully quirky messes of English language. We do a parody show but also pay tribute to Eurovision in lots of ways and include references and songs where possible. 

EUROWISION is a one night only extravagnza at The Vagabond, in the Garden on Mar 11 at 11:30PM (The next day is a holiday so treat yourself). Tickets from Fringetix at https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/eurowision-af2018

Interview by Ian Bell