Head on down to Alma's – Melbourne's newest Cabaret Venue

 Downstairs at Alma’s is Melbourne’s newest Cabaret venue, located downstairs (of course) at the Alma Sports Club.  

  Downstairs At Almas Written by Clare Pickering Downstairs at Alma’s is Melbourne’s newest Cabaret venue, located downstairs (of course) at the Alma Sports Club.  
I must say that it has not been a regular occurrence of mine to attend a Cabaret show in a sports club and as I approached the entrance I wondered whether the beautifully manicured lawn of the bowling green was in fact, an elaborate set that transformed into a stage.  
Once inside I dutifully signed myself in and decided to investigate the ‘sports club’ section of the venue. Similar to any local sports club, the facilities include a bar, outdoor smoking areas, plenty of seating and rooms for meetings or other events. Food can be purchased from Chef David’s Tapas-style menu; however, as I had already eaten I am unable to comment on the quality of the food or service. The toilet facilities (only available on this level) were plain but much to my delight were very clean with plenty of soap and hand towels – always a positive indication of the standards of the rest of the club. 
Following friendly service from the lone barman, I headed downstairs straight into a room reminiscent of Moulin Rouge. This daringly designed venue features dark-coloured walls with lightning strikes subtly strewn across its surfaces. The lighting created a warm and sensual mood which was both inviting and intriguing. The room was set out a-la-cabaret style with plenty of space between the tables. The seats were covered in similar fashion to those adorning wedding reception chairs with the choice of black material adding an almost tongue-in-cheek touch of class to the setting.
While the room is relatively small, it provides an atmosphere of intimacy which is perfect for cabaret, burlesque, comedy and theatre. The seating can be re-arranged according to the needs and design of the individual show and can comfortably accommodate up to 90 patrons.
One of the greatest draw cards of this venue is the state-of-the-art lighting and sound facilities which were skilfully put to the test by our entertainment for the evening, the extraordinary Jon Jackson.
Born of the creative spirit of the Broadway At Bedtime team of Will Conyers, PJ Buchanan and David ‘Peakey’ Peake, Downstairs at Alma’s is truly a unique and charming space. With plenty of on-site parking and easy access via public transport and with an array of talented performers gracing the stage in the coming months, this is definitely a venue worth checking out.    As I set off for home, I snuck a final look at the bowling green staring mockingly at me. It might not have transformed into a Cabaret venue tonight, but maybe one day soon we will see Shakespeare on the Green with a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
Downstairs at Alma’s Located at Alma Sports Club1 Wilks Street, Caulfield North, Victoria.(03) 9527 2626Visit www.downstairsatalmas.com for more details

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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