Rice Queen’s a Cabaret, Old Chum

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Last week, AussieTheatre.com uncovered Melbourne’s newest and freshest cabaret venue.

Great food and drinks – tick
Excellent entertainment – tick
Fabulous atmosphere – tick
Free entry – tick, tick
Campest name for a cabaret venue –  tick, tick, tick!

Rice Queen, a modest, oriental bar and diner in Collingwood, seems set to become a popular haunt for the theatre community and general public alike after recently launching a new initiative – Cabaret Queen.

Performer Noni McCallum – hysterical, intelligent and super organised – is the brains behind this new innovation. As Manager of the venue, she believes that Rice Queen has a “fabulous capacity for special events and live entertainment”, and it’s not hard to see why.

We at AussieTheatre.com attended the inaugural Cabaret Queen event – Lisa Adam’s cleverly designed one-woman show Amy Housewine – Back to Crack, and were enamored with McCallum’s new venture.

Boasting a grand piano and a large stage, a tasty menu and a well stocked bar, the room is perfect for both live entertainment and intimate cabaret events. We arrived at the venue well before the show, with plenty of time to enjoy dinner and a glass of wine. Although quiet and sparsely populated at first, Rice Queen was overflowing with life within half an hour.

With a cosy lounge area in front of the stage, patrons enjoyed the show close up, while the tables at the back gave those who arrived later a chance for dinner during the show.

Generally, in the professional arts industry, Mondays are the only nights away from the theatre. So, McCallum says Cabaret Queen will be scheduled as a monthly event on a Monday evening, ensuring cast members from current shows will be able to attend, or even perform.

The next big event at Rice Queen will be a gala fundraiser – The Big Bali Knees Up – and will take place on Monday June 13. Cast members from Love Never Dies, Rock of Ages, and Dr. Zhivago will be donating their time to perform at event.

With free entry, a buzzing theatre crowd, the turnout at Rice Queen’s first Cabaret Queen was very promising. According to McCallum, all events will have no cover charge, so this venue could prove to be the next big industry hub. Keep your eyes peeled for more information about Rice Queen and the Cabaret Queen series!

For More information, visit: www.ricequeen.com.au

Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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