Friday, February 1, 2013

Across the Border: Kings Cross: Art and Culture: Mum's In

Fancy a Devonshire (Street) Wake? Bit of Blood on the Strand (Hotel)? Or do you want to share some Darlinghurst Push?
I didn't partake of any of these excellent-sounding vodka cocktails, but they're on the exclusive menu at the Kings Cross Hotel's Bordello Theatre, where the cult theatre show, Mum's In, is playing on Sundays at 5pm.

You may recall I saw Mum's In, and wrote about it, when it premiered at Heffron Hall back in June 2011. And still, two years later, actor Vashti Hughes' amazing one-woman show set during the 'Razorhurst' years is running. 
But this time, it's in its rightful home, a pub. And only for another two weeks!
I had been planning on going to see the show again, which has developed since I saw it last, and when Vashti offered me a couple of tickets for free, I put on my best 30s frock, met my dear friend Milly Fisher and we slunk on down to the pub on a Sunday.

Mum's In is a drinking show. That means you can order drinks from the roaming barmaid while the performance takes place, or even step up and order at the bar (but do it discreetly!). 
Drinking during the show is appropriate, too, considering it's focused on that period in Sydney's history when Darlinghurst and surrounding suburbs were home to many illegal grog dens where people could buy under-the-counter alcohol after the pubs had closed at 6pm.

It's hard to imagine pubs closing at 6pm, but Vashti Hughes brings to life the era and the characters that dominated the illegal booze scene, such as Tilly Devine, Kate Leigh and gangster Guido Calletti (whose wake the show is based around).

The Kings Cross Hotel is a great venue and the producers of Mum's In have made clever use of the space. We take the lift straight up to the level five rooftop and are met by a dubious-looking character, Slim Jim, who asks for the secret password and then draws an L on the palm of our hands, allowing us entry to the show.

Milly's red talons nicely matched the L and a quick glass of plonk before the show was a good match, too, for the fabulous view (of the 311 bus). 
We loved the rooftop so much, we returned during the intermission.

Slim Jim rings an old brass bell and we troop downstairs and take a seat in the intimate Bordello Theatre, which is all red velvet curtains, gilt mirrors and shadows. 

Vashti literally jumps, slithers and flits between five characters: Tilly and Kate, swaggering Italian Guido, as well as Frank Green - a lethal gunman - and Nellie Cameron, a North Shore schoolgirl who ran away to Kings Cross to become a prostitute (as you do). 
All the character's featured in Larry Writer's 2001 true-crime history book, Razor, which is required reading for all residents of the 2010 and 2011 postcodes. 
And this show really should be seen by anyone who has a fleeting interest in the deadly and debaucherous days of 1920s and 30s Darlinghurst when the streets were ruled by thugs with deadly razor weapons.  
If you haven't seen it yet, make sure you get tickets as there are only two shows left before the season ends!

Mum's In
The Bordello Theatre, Level 4, Kings Cross Hotel
Last shows: 5pm, Sunday 3 February and Sunday 10 February 2013
Written and performed by Vashti Hughes
Directed by James Winter
Music by Ross Johnston
Graphic design by Righteye Creative
Publicity by Emma Jones

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Thanks for recommending this, we thoroughly enjoyed it