If there's one word to describe the 2010 Adelaide Fringe, it's big. In fact, the 2010 Adelaide Fringe is the biggest in the event's 50-year history.

It's big on numbers, with a 36 percent increase in the number of shows from last year – with 705 different shows featured in the big 2010 Adelaide Fringe guide.

And in true Adelaide Fringe style, it's big on shows that are fun, thought provoking and a little bit cheeky.

Adelaide Fringe director Christie Anthoney says the Adelaide Fringe has sustained continued growth since its transition to an annual event in 2006.

"When we took the Adelaide Fringe annual in 2006 the program included 484 fantastic shows," she says. "The reputation of the Adelaide Fringe as a great place to showcase new work to a hungry audience has grown so much that this year features 705 shows – in just four years that's a huge 46 percent increase in the number of different shows Adelaide Fringe audiences can indulge in."

The much-loved Adelaide Fringe opening parade will kick off the festivities by bringing a riot of colour, fun and noise into the city from 7pm on Friday February 19. From 8.30pm a free opening night concert at Rymill Park has a line up of interstate and local bands and the all-scratching, all-mixing, all-dancing local winner of the Adelaide Fringe's Spin DJ Comp.

There won't be any recovery time after the party – get ready to dip into the many spectacular events on offer. Holden Street Theatres have come out swinging with a hard-hitting program including the award-winning Heroin(e) for breakfast, a unique look at three people who share a flat and a lady in white; Higher Ground hosts Bully, a 'tour-de-verse' about one man’s struggle against a life of violence and oppression; and a shipping container in the Garden of Unearthly Delights will feature Yuri Wells, an intimate play about alienation and imagination.

The 2010 Adelaide Fringe will also host another huge year of laughs as favourite comedians from years past – and some new funny faces – pick up the microphone. Arj Barker plans on talking about some stuff, Ross Noble will cover the topic of things, Adam Hills just wants to mess around, Sam Simmons will get surreal and Frank Woodley looks like just being bewildered by it all.

Tripod has new funny songs, the Tokyo Shock Boys have new scorpions, staplers and fire-workscrammed nappies and Dave Callan has a new haircut. OK, not really.

Blokes aren't the only ones who can get silly. The 2010 Adelaide Fringe welcomes even more female comedians, with Fiona O'Loughlin reflecting on a year that took her from Dancing With The Stars to kicking the bottle, Claire Hooper going back to the future, Hannah Gadsby battling a world obsessed with youth, beauty and achievement and Em O'Loughlin making her arse look smaller simply by pulling her head out of it.

Yuri Well's shipping container is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unusual new venues. The circus is coming to town thanks to The Birdcage, which will present fun circus for kids, circus cabaret and amazing aerial feats in a bespoke tent on Victoria Drive by the Torrens River; Regent Arcade's disused cinemas will get a new lease on life as Arcade Lane hosts live music, vaudeville, puppetry and dance; and the Tuxedo Cat is back with a studio and an attic featuring a gaggle (or giggle) of comedians.

Adelaide Fringe chair Judy Potter says the event’s growth is good for artists, good for our economy – and great for everyone who likes to see fresh new talent.

"The Adelaide Fringe brings so much life to Adelaide - I'm thrilled to see that it's even bigger this year and particularly excited that 58 percent of all shows are Australian premieres," she says. "The program includes some fantastic new experiences that are fun, thought provoking and entertaining and some events that will change the way that we look at our city."

BankSA managing director Rob Chapman says the Adelaide Fringe benefits local audiences while making the city a key target for interstate and international performers and tourists.

"We're happy BankSA's support of the Adelaide Fringe has helped the event achieve such strong growth. As an annual event it continues to promote Adelaide as a dynamic city crammed full of creative talent – we're looking forward to throwing ourselves into the party and helping people see as many shows as they can through the Support Act program."

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