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‘After Hours Cabaret Club’ have a proposition for you, a show that is filled with the hottest burlesque, cabaret, sideshow and circus stars letting loose in a scandalous and decadent show which is not to be missed in the 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival. Co-producer and production manager Miss Maple Rose has a glint in her eye as she tells me about the show. “Burlesque, sideshow and vaudeville are fascinating! They have always been underground because they’re different, but there’s always something for audiences to associate with”, Maple exclaims. “We want a show where there is something everyone wants to see”.
Maple tells me about how the show came about, and how her co-producer and the creative director Bettie Bombshell was the catalyst for the show, describing it as “Bettie’s baby”. “Last year, we were at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, doing our own thing. Bettie was like ‘I really want to create a show that allows people to do the stuff they can’t do on stage’”, and so began ‘After Hours Cabaret Club’.
What started as a “seedy, underground style gig” has now blossomed into a show that has “people flying in from all over Australia and all over the world to be part of our show”. As a result of their growth, Maple notes that they have “created this weird After Hours family” as the “the burlesque world doesn’t usually collide with the sideshow or circus world”. In each iteration of ‘After Hours Cabaret Club’, they have sought to build on this family and to help those in need. “We’re raising proceeds for WIRE”, says Maple. WIRE stands for Women’s Information and Referral Exchange Inc, which is a Victoria-wide information, support and referral service run by women for women. For more information about WIRE and to donate, click here.
‘After Hours Cabaret Club’ will take audiences into another world. “We want it to be seedy, we want it to be grungy” but also accessible, says Maple, “we call ourselves a vaudeville show”. There will be a classic jazz band, “people will get to hear live music” which Maple comments adds “energy…and a soul to it”. But what about the performers in this “raunchy show”? The show will feature classic burlesque performers, “a clown or some kind of circus performer” and “we will always have a sideshow performer in the show, which is a big part of what After Hours is”. “We want it to be shocking”!
“All of our art forms revolve around comedy at some level…if you have an element of fun, and comedy…people just become on your side”. Maple notes, “you can have a very serious act but comedy allows people to escape from real life”. For ‘After Hours Comedy Club’ it’s all about finding the balance between the silly, the shocking and the outright sexy. “It’s very much a variety show...we want to have that balance, to create something that is an amazing piece of art as a whole”.
Maple is deeply engaging when discussing her passion for burlesque. She describes the differences between what she would consider the “purest form of burlesque” and the “most marketable” forms. “Everyone loves the glitz and the glamour” but “burlesque is supposed to be shocking”, “it’s supposed to be a parody…like cabaret”, she says. “There’s still that stigma that burlesque is a seedy art form”. “We take off our clothes…we’re strippers straight up”. That said, Maple adds “some people don’t think stripping is an art form…I disagree…you have to be an artist to do that job”. Maple comments on the influence of burlesque and it’s draw to female punters. “In burlesque, you choreograph and you make your costume”, “women are encouraged by other women who dress up sexy, who feel sexy and who go for it”.
“On stage I’m a classic performer but I’ll have a bit of a cheeky ‘oh I wasn’t supposed to do that’”, says Maple. “I’m sexy but I’m also not sexy…it’s supposed to be funny, it’s supposed to be about playing with sexuality”. This comment is most poignant when discussing her dinosaur act. “There’s actually a T-Rex…and she fan dances…she’s cute, she’s happy, all the time”. “Who’s not happy about a dancing T-Rex”?!
“That’s why we all do it, we just want to wear sparkles”, Maple laughs as we discuss what draws people to be burlesque performers. Maple describes a different and perhaps more corporate history, almost as a previous life. In addition to her former corporate life, she worked behind the scenes as a production designer (and loved it) but the appeal of “modern shows” dissipated. “I wanted to wear feathers, I wanted to recreate my heroes that I had watched…that’s how I came into burlesque”. Maple notes that the role of a burlesque artist is “so different…a weird role that people don’t get, and that’s what’s fun”!
Maple talks about ‘After Hours Cabaret Club’ almost as this other world that many of us do not often get to experience. “We have the glitz, we have the glam but we also have people doing weird and wonderful things”. Maple wants audiences to have fun and let their guard down; “it’s always in a safe place…you’re with likeminded people”. ‘After Hours Cabaret Club’ is the real deal where “anything can go” in this “adults only” show. Audiences will be allured, shocked and entertained. Maple assures me, if a particular act is “not your cup of tea, that’s fine. We have a burlesque performer coming up next, or a dancing T-Rex…there’s always going to be something for everybody in our show”.
Check out ‘After Hours Cabaret Club’ from 16 to 30 September 2017 at the Wonderland Spiegeltent. For more information and to book tickets, click here!
If you are a comedian, get in touch and we can sit down for an interview to talk about comedy. Or if you have a 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival show you want to talk about or want reviewed, contact Hugging Comedians on Facebook, Twitter or through the website.