Cabaret far from dead

Cabaret, dead and buried in Sydney?

Cabaret, dead and buried in Sydney?

Apparently not.

Is it ever?

It’s funny how things come and go in cycles in the theatre world and for as long as I can remember, talk of cabaret’s Sydney death has been one of the industry’s only consistent elements.

For a few years there, it was more than talk. The closure of the Statement Cabaret Lounge early last year (which was far from perfect but still a nice, comfortable room) and the continued inconsistency of Bar Me at Kings Cross meant cabaret was struggling for its identity.

The lack of interest in cabaret was not helped by the demise of the Sydney Cabaret Convention a few years back. We all expected it would be an issue but perhaps it took four or five years before the real impact of this event not existing in Sydney became obvious.

As 2009 comes to an end, it appears cabaret has returned – and it’s more stylish than ever.

First, the Raval in Surry Hills is simply superb. Recently playing host to Christie Whelan’s cabaret tribute to Britney Spears, the venue has got it right. Its attitude towards the audience is strong, with no interuptions, and the table service makes you feel like you’ve gone back a few decades and exited rude, in-a-rush Sydney.

Hopefully more and more artists head to the Raval and keep a consistent cabaret theme to the venue.

The second venue making headlines is the Civic Hotel in Sydney, where Rhonda Burchmore recently kicked things off. According to our reviewer Maz Dixon and several other reports I have heard, the food is to die for, the venue is sensationally comfortable and ‘style’ is putting it lightly as far as the nature of the venue is concerned.

Cabaret will never die in Sydney but it appears the current incarnation is full of class and style, and hopefully it will be a winner.

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