Home to the mysterious, the exotic and the just plain weird, Melbourne is fast earning a reputation as a playground where the wacky and wonderful performers of the world can rejoice in their unique skills and show them off to an appreciative audience.
The recent rise in burlesque and circus inspired performances is testament to the fact that Melbourne is craving an old school approach to live theatre, and that there is more than enough acrobats, dancers, sword swallowers and magicians willing to show audiences a good old fashioned time of vaudevillian excess.
Red Bennies in Chapel St Prahran is the perfect venue for a throwback to the days where glamour and charm ruled the stage. Designed in an art deco style you may feel you’ve accidentally stepped back in time and entered Cabaret’s Kit Kat Club. The patrons also seem to exist from another era, dressed to the nines, the ladies wear gloves, stockings, high heels, and exhibit perfectly coiffed hairstyles, and few are with the trademark scarlet lips.
From the appearance of the patrons it seems the performance has started before the players have even taken to the stage.
Hosted by the charismatic Hadley Fibby, An Awful Lot of Vaudeville immediately takes you into its grasp and holds you captive as you try to decipher the madness that is the nine performers who make up the eclectic troupe.
Behold the folly as overall madman Justin Sane embodies Charlie Chapman in his bewildering hat juggling, chicken hypnotising and plunger licking performance (mind you watch out for the ping pong balls). Joined by contortionist Aerial Manx whose double-jointed magistery is certainly not for the faint hearted (his nipple rings alone will have you squirming in your seats).
Manx’s signature trick is the highlight of the evening, he pull off the impossible by sword swallowing whist mid handstand and had the audience in awe (and fear for his life!).
Along with self-proclaimed, “pocket rocket” Papillion and the current queen of burlesque Miss Frankie Valentine, whose vintage inspired act brought a rich authenticity to the whole vaudevillian themed evening.
With so many performances to choose from, no sense will be left unattended as the ladies shake their stuff and the gents deceive you with a series of impossible stunts and magical trickery.
An Awful Lot of Vaudeville is an absolute delight for anyone who dreams of a time when fishnet stockings, garter belts and slapstick humour ruled the stage Long live 1919!
An Awful Lot of Vaudeville
Venue: Red Bennies | 373 Chapel St South Yarra, 3141
Dates: Every Friday in August
Times: Doors open 7pm. Show 8pm – 10pm