Over the next two weeks we’re tracking down as many Melbourne Fringsters as we can before shooting a ton of relevant and not-so-relevant questions at them very quickly.

Today we say hello to:

Cat Commander

Show: Before the Spring

Official Fringe blurb:

A revolution is brewing. After this nothing will be the same.
Before the Spring is the tale of two journeys taken.
A man stripped off everything searches to rebuild.
A woman full of adventure and optimism searches for love.
An evocative and poignant story about displacement, belonging, love, dignity and war.

Based on her own travels to the Middle East and the current turmoil in Syria, writer and performer Cat Commander has created a story that explores voluntary and involuntary exile, the worlds we are thrown into, the connections we search for and the ones we make.


Q: Who are you?

I’m Cat Commander: actor and writer and creator of one-woman-show Before The Spring.

Q: Describe your Fringe show in five words or less.

Chasing love, adventures, dangers, peace.

Q: It’s cold, raining and miserable. Why should we leave the house to see your show?

You don’t often get a chance to see real life stories about the Middle East brought to life in the context of a fringe festival, so why not leave your couch and be transported to the souk, the hammam, the dusty highways of Syria and Jordan?

BONUS QUESTION #1: If you could invite one world leader to your show, who would it be?

Tony Abbott!! I think he’d have to revise his statement that the conflict in Syria is ‘baddies against baddies’. He might even feel a bit of empathy towards people separated from their families.

Q: Anyone else in your Fringe team we should know about?

Videography by Mark Walker and a lot of outside eye support from Marissa Bennet and Greg Carroll.

Q: What other Fringe shows are you excited about?

I’ve already seen Love in the Key of Britpop for the second time which I loved; I’m excited to see Corpse, at the Butterfly Club. I found Kids Killing Kids really interesting as it’s a travel narrative that raises a lot of questions about the artist’s responsibility when dealing with the stories of other cultures, which is something I’ve had to negotiate in the writing of my show. I’ll be sticking around Upstairs at Errol’s after my show to catch FOMO, which I’ve heard great things about.

BONUS QUESTION #2: So what else do you do?

I’m about to finish my masters in writing for performance over at the VCA, where I studied acting and I’ve written a two-hander called The Last Time.

Q: What is your best Fringe Festival survival tactic?

Afternoon naps!

BONUS QUESTION #3: What inspires you?

Incredible stories and places. People. Words. Relationships.

Q: Pick a song that represents your show.

There’s a Lebanese pop song by an artist called Nourhanne, which is called Habibi, Ya Eini – and it’s fun and playful in rhythm, but it’s full of longing when you look at the translation of the lyrics. I listened to it a lot when I was writing the show.


Before the Spring runs from September 28 to October 5. You can find out more and book tickets at the official Melbourne Fringe Festival site here.