Fringe Binge: Erotic Intelligence for Dummies


Last night I had the immense pleasure of furthering my erotic education at Fringeworld by attending Erotic Intelligence for Dummies at the Gelo Piazza Hut. Much like the clitoris, the Gelo Piazza hut is a little pleasure centre on James street, tucked away behind the giant screen in the Northbridge Piazza. It was hard to locate at first but with a little help from my seasoned Fringe going friends, I finally found it. Tickets in sweaty palms, I skipped up the stairs and was ushered into a room full of equally excited yet slightly sheepish adults who made all sorts of excuses for why they had chosen to attend that night’s show.  

“My daughter gave me tickets”.

“ It looked interesting”.

“We were killing time between shows”.  

While the excuses piled in, the show sold out.

The venue itself was cosy, intimate and somehow steeped in nostalgia. I felt like I had been there before. The bunches of pink balloons flanking either side of the stage, the blue light disco style lighting, the mountain of beanie babies reminded me of my 13th birthday party. Sitting in rows of five on either side of a narrow aisle, I was transported back to my first sex ed class also at 13. I was nervous, I was excited and most of all I was intrigued! The flier promised philosophy and parlour games, puppetry and dress up. I was promised song, dance, and naughty words.I was promised animal costumes! As I waited patiently in my seat for the show to begin, I thought about how different cultures approached the subject of sex.

If you were part of the Australian education system then it is likely that your first official foray into the world of sex education was in late primary school during science or health class. For me, growing up in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the 90s, sex was something that happened to you as a married woman. I use the passive term deliberately because every sex ed class I attended at school was conducted in a gender segregated Islamic studies class and you can well imagine how that discussion went down! In the opinion of my ultra conservative, heavily veiled Islamic studies teacher,  copulation was for procreation, not recreation.

Said Islamic Studies teacher and I in a rare moment of friendliness in 2001.

To put it bluntly, show creator and star Helen Cassidy was NOT my Year 7 Islamic Studies Teacher.

Helen Cassidy. Photo courtesy of Fringeworld.

Cassidy is a pintsize powerhouse who is a classically trained actress and clown and has performed from London to Christchurch. However, in the oh so intimate surrounds of Fringeworld’s Gelo, she took on many roles. She was mistress of ceremonies, a sultry songbird, a potty-mouthed ventriloquist, a pun-damentalist, a daring midwife and at one glorious point, a human wormhole!

In all her red-headed, fast talking, sequined glory Helen Cassidy was the Sex Ed teacher we all wished we had growing up.

Erotic Intelligence for Dummies is a lot like a successful Tindr date. The night starts off with bawdy promise, it escalates quickly into a frenzy of arms, legs and costume changes. Roles are reversed, filthy euphemisms will ensue and bizarre fetishes will be laid bare. You will experience things that will make you giggle, and question your sexuality and comfort levels. The climax will have you singing as loud as your little lungs can muster and you may need a post-coital cigarette and drink at the bar to steady yourself after.

In short, Erotic Intelligence for Dummies is a show that will have you ringing your closest friends afterwards to divulge dirty details but will leave you unable to articulate the delicious weirdness of it all.


Erotic Intelligence for Dummies is playing on the 27th and 28th of January @8.30 PM at Gelo at the Piazza Hut in Northbridge. Tickets are $25 ( $21 for groups of 6+) and can be found here


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