Red Bennies

Cabaret, burlesque, variety, vaudeville and exotica venue Red Bennies will celebrate their first birthday on Saturday January 29 with a big birthday bash. We spoke to the Creative Director about a year of extraordinary shows.

Tell me a little bit about your role at Red Bennies.


“My role at Red Bennies is that of Creative Director. Essentially I am in charge of the direction of entertainment and our general image and philosophy as a out of ordinary nightclub and performing arts space. That being said I have the pleasure of working with a great team at Red Bennies who contribute a great deal to this process, and who also keep me at bay from crossing the line from politically incorrect to outright offensive!”


What can we expect at Red Bennies' first birthday celebration?


“A one-way roller coaster ride of jaw dropping circus and slapstick vaudeville fun time antics. Plus the usual dance floor capers brought to you by our resident DJs Mike Gurrieri, Doc Mustard and Edd Fisher.”


What was the curatorial process for Red Bennies' Circus Spectacular show?


At Red Bennies we like to leave things up to fate, and let the Carnie Fire Gods decide. So we set a half grown chicken on fire and simultaneously pulled names out of a hat while evoking ancient Gypsy circus mantras. The names of performers in the hat are a selection of Melbourne’s premier performance artists, crossing all disciplines of circus and vaudeville.”


Could you tell us a little bit about some of the acts involved in Circus Spectacular ?


“For those who haven't been to Red Bennies before, you can expect aerial acts through to tap dancing and foot juggling. We are excited to have Zoe Robbins, a multi award-winning performer back with us performing her umbrella foot juggling show, which is an awe inspiring and elegant change from some of the more fast paced action. We are also lucky enough to be joined by a guest act that night, one of the Midsumma festivals headlining performers Constatina And The Bushettes, and indigenous Australian drag performer who is a way out, extremely funny and highly talented diva.”


The venue is renowned for showcasing the weird and left field - what's in store for this year?


“This year we are bringing things up a notch. We’ve recently updated the sound and lighting system which looks and sounds fantastic. This year’s program is focussed on a considerable increase in live music events and some great shows from London, Berlin and NYC producing extended seasons with us. Launching in February is Grab My Junk, a New York burlesque game show that is launching its Australian home with us fortnightly on Thursday.”


Allegedly, Red Bennies is one of the only venues in Melbourne with a shower backstage - will you be hosting any more events in the future that'll put that utility to good use?


“Two showers backstage actually! Last night’s Jelly Wrestling contest with our dwarf referee Arthur Penn kicked off the year putting the showers to good use for the poor jelly-drenched contestants who performed!”


Catch Farhard, Hand Balance, Ikko (aerial tissue), Bill Wilson-Coffey (aerial trapeze), Zoe Robbins (foot juggler), Lauren Skopalova (burlesque), Tank & Kelly Ann Doll (burlesque trapeze) and Eden Read (tap dancer) as well as Costantina And The Bushettes and DJs Edd Fisher, Errol Flynn, Mike Gurrieri plus other mysterious musical guests at Red Bennies on Saturday January 29 for some amazing birthday celebrations.