BY SUNDAY FRANCIS-REISS
The Ruby Revue, at Will and Toby’s Supper Club, presents a monthly evening of burlesque and cabaret. With the inaugural soiree a stunning success, and the September event is on the way, The Ruby Revue dispels all notions of the burlesque and cabaret scene as a fashion-inspired trend.
Anyone under the false impression that burlesque is just about fishnets and pouty facial expressions should come along. This new night offers a mix of cabaret and burlesque, Sydney style ‘ expect subversive performances, characterisation, titillation and amazing feats or images, often with darkly comedic overtones. Producer Jac Bowie says that the Ruby Revue ethos is about constantly surprising the audience with the unexpected. ‘There are always debut acts that haven’t been staged anywhere before,’ she says, ‘It’s a real mixed bag’.
Another falsehood thrown out the window is that burlesque is an imitative, rather than original, art form. The Ruby Revue’s acts, while using elements of performance that originated in Nazi Germany, are inspired by their particular cultural position. For example, Tender Buttons’ performance as a newly convicted Briton just arrived in Australia, sentenced for thieving apples. Tender Buttons was MC at the August event, and her intriguing interludes very cleverly had the audience admitting to our own petty crimes, effectively wrapping us in an illicit atmosphere as we confessed our darker sides.
The Ruby Revue celebrates the audience as an essential component of burlesque. Limited seating means that the crowd become a very active audience, participating as they watch.
The intimate setting helps, and with numbers capped at about 160 people, things are kept nice and cosy. The Supper Club has been highly praised as part of a new wave of Sydney establishments, where classic ambience and civilised supping, drinking and lounging are the order of the evening. Think chesterfield sofas, heavy gilded mirrors, a life size statue of a black stallion ‘ the décor is dignified though possibly ridiculous, making the venue perfect for this kind of entertainment.
The next Ruby Revue will feature performers Lauren LaRouge (pictured), Ginger Snap, Leanne Russo and Lorelei Lee. Herbie Strangelove will be MC, telling ‘tall tales and ranting madly,’ as well as performing a few bits and pieces of his own boy burlesque, such as his tentacle act, in which he is possessed by an evil potion and strangled by his own tentacles. Strangelove also hints that a few songs might be on the agenda, ‘probably dark and morbid’. Naturally.
The Ruby Revue
Will and Toby’s Supper Club
Level 1, 134 Oxford St, Darlinghurst
Tickets” $25/$35 with dinner, www.jacbowie.com