Review: Le Grande Cabaret at The Shelley Room

On a crisp Spring evening, my man and I ventured to the eclectic suburb of North Fitzroy to visit a venue called ‘The Shelley Room’. Upon finding the venue, we were warmly greeted by the ever gracious and gorgeous host, Camilla Cream, who led us to our seats. The intimate theatre was well set up with a roomy stage backed by coloured curtains (echoing perhaps the billowing of a circus tent) with fairy lights strung across the ceiling. Rows of seats were near the stage, with tables and some lounges down the other side of the room. While we waited for the show to start, we enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the room and its patrons. The European cabaret music playing in the background added to the bohemian atmosphere. I have been trying to attend this event for months, so I was super excited to have finally made it along and was curious to see what sorts of adventures the evening had in store for my man and I.

Opening the show was debonair MC and entertainer Chante Dumont. Ever so charming, Chante sung the audience a special version of ‘Be Our Guest’ which included amusing burlesque themed lyrics. This was especially entertaining as Chante sounded exactly like Lumiere (from Beauty and the Beast) with an additional Gomez Addams charm. Rarely do I find MC’s to be as engaging and witty as Chante was so I was impressed! Chante continued to be the consummate entertainer throughout the show as he introduced each act with blurb of information. Viola Verve was the first burlesque beauty to emerge on stage with a classic burlesque tease routine. Viola was sassy, sweet and sultry, teasing the audience with her fluffy feather boa while giving the audience sly smiles and winks. Her act was the perfect show opener – a mix of sweet and spice to make the audience feel nice!

Appearing next to the side of the stage behind a set of blinds, was O Nyx with a noir themed routine. I loved her use of the blinds to increase mystery and echo films of days past, as she piqued the curiosity of her audience. O Nyx performed a seductive routine, playfully pulling the audience into her noir world. She was irresistible, and I doubt anyone in the audience was immune to her charms.

Delving into a completely different storyline, Kerryx appeared on stage with her traditional burlesque fans (the large kind that can cover your entire body) swapped out for palm leaves and greenery. The audience was invited to luxuriate in original sin as Kerryx depicted Eve. I enjoyed Kerryx’s use of her gaze as she would lift her eyes and slowly gaze at the audience, almost daring them to look away. This was truly a garden of delights, as the audience had a chance peep through the palm fronds into the garden of Eden. It was a fine display of the female form and a clever routine. I especially enjoyed when Kerryx ventured out into the audience, caressing faces and offering a lucky chosen person or two to take a bite of her apple. I found this routine to be ‘other worldly’, possessing a celestial charm.

On this evening, the audience was treated to some Boylesque (for those unaware, this refers to Burlesque routines performed by males). With a full stage set up with props, Sonny James emerged a complete storyteller as he made his way past the audience and pretended to clean tables along the way. Sonny made use of all props (and costume elements) available to him, which I enjoyed. While his routine took some time to reach the exciting moments, Sonny was a crowd pleaser and by the end of the performance he had raised the temperature of the room – especially evident by the increasing levels of noise and applause from the audience.

The final act of the show’s first half was from Chastity de Vice. Again, the theme of her act was different, with Chastity appearing as a green fairy – with almost a ‘children’s entertainer’ vibe about her. Naturally, this made me VERY excited! My eyes lit up with joy when she took to the stage in her fairy outfit, toting booze and starting her sparkly boombox. Oh, how Chastity danced for her audience! It almost seemed as though a 90’s DJ had taken over her boombox until the dance of the sugarplum fairies was playing – mixed in with some dubstep of course! Accompanying Chastity’s cheerful dancing, were a fantastic range of facial expressions. With the audience clapping along to her every command, Chastity had no troubles when enlisting the help of some audience members during her act to hold some of her accessories. I found Chastity to be irresistibly cheerful, you couldn’t help but smile while she was performing. I can’t wait to see more from her.

Interval time was suddenly upon the audience, and I used the time to speak to some of my friends in the audience and to see how my man was finding the show. I had not told him many details about the show, and he has only seen burlesque shows twice so far. I was pleased to see that he was enjoying the evening and appreciating all the different performance styles that were on offer, along with the various costumes. Interval time was quite generous, leaving ample time for audience members to get a drink from the well stocked bar, go to the bathroom or have a smoke (or all three!). Chante Dumont reappeared after interval to the delight of the audience, to sing classic songs and to share his unique brand of comedy. His singing voice was rather enchanting and took me away to another place and time. Unbeknown to me, for the rest of the show each performer seen in the first half returned with a completely different character and routine! I found this impressive as I could see how much effort each artist had put into their performances during the first half of the show.

I was delighted to find the first performer of the second half to be Chastity de Vice! This time she appeared as a siren – the type of mythical creature that lives in the ocean, tempting men to their death. Chastity wore an elaborate headdress and used silk fans during her performance that mimiced the waves of the ocean. Chastity’s act was alluring and mesmerising, with her steady gaze and seductive silk fan routine. Chastity pulled all those in the audience under the waves with her, to the depths of seduction.

Viola Verve made her reappearance onstage as a doll-like mime. Viola was an adorable noir clown mime, with soulful eyes and a playful spirit. She paused during her routine to silently regard her audience and lap up the cheers and applause before removing her accessories and displaying a floor routine for her audience. I don’t see mimes very often in any areas of my life, so I was intrigued and enchanted by Viola’s every move. If you have the chance to see her perform, I’m sure you’ll enjoy watching her as much as I did! Viola’s act was followed by Sonny James, who also appeared as a mime. While the placement of two mime acts following each other seemed odd, Sonny’s performance was a completely different affair -a poignant piece of physical theatre, with poetic movements and political flair. Sonny’s performance was emotive, set to Leonard Cohen’s “Sound of Silence” and once again elicited a large round of applause and cheers from the audience.

Approaching the end of the evening, O Nyx appeared as a complete “wild child”  – think of a cross between a leather clad biker and a burlesque performer and you would reach O Nyx. O Nyx made a point of teasing her audience as she made her way to the stage – no one was spare from her glares, winks, straddles or pouts! Her performance was unbridled sass and raunch. I enjoyed her wild streak – whether she was on all fours and showing off her athletic body, or taking cheeky swigs from her bottle of Sailor Jerry. This routine from O Nyx even raised my temperature – I felt like a fire inside needed to be quenched after indulging in O Nyx’s routine. O Nyx knows you want her and may even deny you simply because of that fact so beware!

As the evening drew to a close the headline act, Kerryx, appeared in a sweeping lace outfit with a veil over her eyes and performed a ‘pain versus pleasure’ routine. Kerryx depicted a mysterious stranger travelling to unknown places, and explored the boundaries between tension and seduction. Set to a song with a pronounced beat, Kerryx used her hands and an assortment of ‘toys’ in her suitcase to explore tension and pain. During this set, Kerryx towered over her audience, and when she regarded the audience under her gaze we were unaware of this, as she was veiled. I must admit that I find this performance style unusual. While I’m sure Kerryx was in no danger or extreme pain during the performance, I couldn’t help but wince and grimace at some points. It can be a challenge to witness this performance style if you’re not accustomed to it. I also found this was a strange act to end the evening with as it brought such a different vibe with it, however I appreciate that this may have been deliberate – the performance style was certainly memorable!

As my man and I made our way home, the car ride was filled with animated chats about which portions of the show we enjoyed the most. I have to say that the standout performers for us were Chastity de Vice and O Nyx – both used their props well and had engaging expressions and storylines to their performances. I was also enchanted by Viola Verve, while my man especially enjoyed Sonny James’ storyline and props. This show was unlike any other show I’d seen, simply for the many distinct burlesque performance styles presented. It was like a burlesque buffet, and I left the show feeling thoroughly entertained and blessed to have indulged in such an evening. I express gratitude to all the performers, and the producers (especially to Camilla Cream) for providing such exquisite entertainment.

I believe ‘Le Grande Cabaret’ may be moving to a new venue soon, however be sure to keep updated via their Facebook page, along with the show’s producers – Cherries and Cream Productions. Relevant links are below.

Le Grande Cabaret page:

Cherries and Cream Productions page:

*Disclaimer: we attended this show as guests of Camilla Cream.


Review of “At Last” – Songs from the Golden Era of Romance

On the final evening of Winter, I ventured out once more after work to the fantastic vaudeville venue in Melbourne – Speakeasy HQ – for an evening of charming entertainment. On the evening’s bill were identical twins Amy & Mel Djuric singing a variety of songs, with a focus on those of Ella Fitzgerald.

I have been blessed to have previously seen short performances from Amy & Mel, however for those who are yet to see them perform let me assure you that you’re in for a visual and auditory treat! Dressed in matching stunning red gowns with sparkling chokers, Amy & Mel easily commanded the attention of all audience members.

 Much of this show seemed to be an ‘Ella Fitzgerald Extravaganza’ with Amy & Mel singing beloved Ella classics such as “Summertime”, “At Last” and “Lullaby of Birdland”. If you’re keen on the songs of Ella Fitzgerald or that era of music, then watch out for your next opportunity to see this show! One aspect I enjoyed about this show was that each twin had many solo times to shine on stage, mixed in with some fantastic and entertaining duets. Along with their golden voices, Amy & Mel used the stage well and ensured that the audience were given plenty of smiles, cheeky glances and sassy dance moves.

  There were times that I could see the joy and happiness shine in Amy & Mel’s eyes during their performances, and they had the audience captivated – many couldn’t take their eyes off Amy & Mel! I enjoyed the range of songs performed -classic hits alongside modern songs sung in a jazzy or lounge style. Other songs had a dreamlike, fairytale quality to them. A strength of the show was the different vocal ranges of the twins, with one favouring the high, sweet notes and the other the lower, more sultry tones. Naturally, Amy & Mel played to their own strengths in this area with their song choices.

 Amy & Mel were playful and sweet at times, then brought all the sass the next moment. Their vocal strengths and song choices made for an immensely enjoyable show. If you’ve never seen singing twins perform then I recommend you go and see a performance by Amy & Mel – yes, they are as adorable and sweet as you can imagine!

VERDICT: A splendid evening featuring some enchanting singers and well chosen songs. If Ella Fitzgerald and her era of music are your cup of tea, then you’ll surely enjoy this show.

*Disclaimer: I attended this show as a guest of Speakeasy HQ.

Auslusion magic show performed by Scott Stunz and Jace Wonders

I was very excited to see a magic show from Adelaide magicians Scott Stunz and Jace Wonders. I will confess that I’ve never visited Adelaide so I was curious to see what delights the magicians had in store for their Melbourne audience.

Appearing on stage together in suits (rocking the ‘classic magician’ look), Stunz and Wonders commenced with a (magical) toast to the audience – a friendly and welcoming way to start the show.

Throughout the show, Stunz and Wonders performed many feats of amazing magic, all accompanied with some high entertaining facial expressions and their brand of comedic wit. Audience participation was a bit hit during this show, with Stunz and Wonders regularly asking audience members to assist them. Stunz and Wonders are so affable and good natured to their volunteers, that they never had a shortage of people willing to assist them. In fact, the audience seemed to be having as much fun as I was during this show, as I regularly heard roars of laughter interspersed with gasps of amazement and cries of “How’d he do that?!” during the show.

Stunz and Wonders are a couple of charming characters, mystifying and entertaining the audience with feats of magic, comedy and wit. Their show featured many surprising pieces of magic, all weaved with with Auslusion’s penchant for comedy (and some top notch comedic timing!). There are nods to classic magic, and certainly elements you’d expect in a magic show (magic with cards, mysterious predictions) however this show is greater than the pieces of magic. My favourite segments of the show were the predictions as they were done with flair unmatched by any others I’d seen before. Their predictions left me genuinely surprised and astounded!

Stunz and Wonders live up to their names – they had the audience spellbound one moment and in awe the next! Wonderously magical and witty. Auslusion provide a thoroughly entertaining and magical experience for all the family. I highly encourage you to book tickets for their next show or to find out when they’re next showing in your city before they vanish!

VERDICT: Can’t recommend their show enough – I had the best night out I’ve had in weeks! It’s a bonus that their show is suitable for families, so everyone can enjoy a fantastic night out and share in the magic together.

This show is currently at Speakeasy HQ in Melbourne.

More information about the venue:



MMF 2017: Tay’s Top Ten Shows

Now that the MMF has come and gone for another year, it’s time for my annual listing of my Top Shows. Usually it will be a top five, but given I saw a total of 33 shows this year (breaking my own personal record of 23 shows seen during an MMF) I’ve expanded the listing this year to be my TOP TEN shows of the MMF. I should mention that this list isn’t numbered – far too difficult to nominate a clear winner given so many different magic and performance styles!  I’ve also added a couple of ‘honourable  mentions’ at the bottom of the list.

If you ever have the chance to see any of the performers listed below, then do take that chance and watch their shows – they’re all in the TOP TEN for a reason.

Joshua Jay – affable storyteller, and took the audience on such a fun journey

The Ladies’ Guide to Deceit and Debauchery (performed by Carisa Hendrix) – my enjoyment of this show is testament to me attending twice, and I’m fairly sure all my friends heard my ridiculous laugh during this show. Magical, theatrical and so much more. An unexpected festival highlight, that has left me with cherished memories!

E.G. Lee – magic that was dazzling, poetic and sublime. An exciting show with a stirring finale.

Dani DaOrtiz – simply the god of cards.

Tim Credible’s Family Magic Show (performed by Tim You) – a polished performer and highly enjoyable show with many highlights

Mick TrickSTAR Tricky Extravaganza (performed by Micky TrickSTAR) – a festival newcomer with an exciting and hilarious show. The kids’ show that held the most laughs for me.

Comic Conjurors in ‘Despicable’ (performed by Lawson Reeves and Josh Staley) – clever and comical magic, and an unexpected highlight for me. Keen to see them perform again.

I Love Magic (performed by Anthony DeMasi) – assorted feats of magic, and the opportunity for some bunny cuddles make this a highly enjoyable show. It had so many great moments!

Gone Girl by ‘Dom and Dumber’ (performed by Dom Chambers and Bayden Hammond) – best theatrical magic show I have seen yet! A show bursting with comedy, movie references and plenty of surprises and magic. I left wanting more.

The Fairy Magic Show (performed by Lee Cohen) – an annual highlight that I hope doesn’t go unnoticed in the programme. So much fun to forget being an adult for a while and step into Fairy Lee’s whimsically enchanting world. Always makes me smile.

Honourable mentions:
Things By Simon (performed by Simon Coronel) – continually raising the bar (or wand?!) for sophisticated and surprising magic.

Lawrence Leung’s Very Strange Things (performed by Lawrence Leung) – unusual yet very entertaining magic. This show has elements that make me think and that linger long after the show has gone (it has already been a week and this show is still on my mind!)

Thanks to all the performers, festival organisers and directors, and staff that all contributed to making this the best MMF I’ve attended and one that has left me with so many awesome memories. Every day I felt so lucky.


MMF 2017 Mini Review: ‘Best of The Fest’ – Final Show Edition

So, we’re coming to the end of my MMF 2017 Mini Reviews….thanks to all those who’ve been regular readers and those that have stopped by to read my blog. One of my long standing traditions of the MMF is to attend the last ‘Best of the Fest’ show each year. Host Nicholas J Johnson goes out of his way to cram in so many performers into the last show that it ends up being a madcap display of swift magic, set in a crazy ‘race against the clock’. Whereas most ‘Best of the Fest’ editions have a host and 3 performers, the last ‘Best of the Fest’ includes any performers Nicholas can encourage / bribe / coerce to be on stage.

Naturally there are way too many individual performers to mention here, however there were some outstanding performers: newly crowned Australian Junior Champion of BOTH Stage and Close-Up magic, Prue Spencer, treated the audience to an entertaining card routine; David Chandler returned with his whimsical routine with an assistant from the audience (who was charmingly getting into the spirit of the routine); and special appearances by festival organisers Tim Ellis and Lee Cohen. ‘Simon and Davefunkel’ teamed up to wow the audience with their usual flair and comedy, and the show even had performers (like ‘Dom and Dumber’)racing from their just finished shows to treat the audience to something speedy and surprising.

MVP of the night went to the elusive “Gary the Magician” who is also known as Nicholas J Johnson’s nemesis! Nicholas couldn’t be in the room while Gary was performing which was a huge shame, as Gary had my boyfriend and I (along with other audience members I’m sure) in fits of laughter. There was one point where I was crying with laughter up in the back row of the theatre – Gary’s witty rejoinders and candor with his audience helpers became too much for me to handle. Gary’s exuberance over presenting his card magic to the audience, mixed with him feigning indifference the next moment made for so many pieces of pure comedy gold. I hadn’t seen Gary the magician perform before now, however he helped make the night shine and I sincerely hope to watch him perform again!

The final ‘Best of the Fest’ always ends with a story told via playing cards, and like every other year that I’ve seen it, this highlight endures. Each story has a theme provided by the audience, and it’s such a special routine as there are many points where both performers and audience members have no idea in which direction the story will end up. Despite fatigue setting for some performers, this final show has it’s own charm and that’s part of the appeal – you never know who is going to appear next!


MMF 2017 Mini Review: ‘Lawrence Leung’s Very Strange Things’

Nearing the end of my MMF jaunt of 33 magic shows in two weeks (HA!), I was particularly keen to see Lawrence Leung’s show. Not only had I heard great things about this show, but I’d missed previous iterations of it in other festivals so I was determined not to miss out this time!

The theatre was packed – Lawrence clearly has many fans, and being known in various different media formats and circles (TV, science, pop culture to name a few) – no doubt assists this. Lawrence appeared to raptuous applause and opened his show with some jokes, in his usual affable style. I didn’t know quite what to expect during this show, but I was pleased to find it contained much magic and mystery alongside some elements of psychology. At times the show was part magic, part educational as Lawrence mentioned psychological theories along with theories on the ‘seances’ of older times (far too much detail to discuss here). In terms of the magical portions of the evening, they were often displayed as mysteries – like being able to decipher the passcode on someone’s phone and some (zener) card predictions, and even magic with a Rubik’s cube.

If you’re thinking that a show about mysteries and psychology would get a bit ‘dry’ / boring / too much like a lecture then you’d be 100% WRONG regarding this show! Aside from Lawrence seemingly like one the friendliest performers, the audience were also treated to some hilarious ‘throwback’ pictures of a younger Lawrence. So refreshing to see someone being able to laugh at themselves in front of a large audience. Coupled with some unintended comedic pieces involving an audience member’s phone, this show did have some great laughs.

At points during the show, Lawrence mentioned being ‘skeptic but not cynical’ which I liked and thought it’s a clever way to look at magic too because I’m sure cynics wouldn’t end up getting value from a magic show. I enjoyed Lawrence’s comments regarding mystery, and I’m a self confessed lover of mystery so I thoroughly enjoyed that piece of the show. Lawrence’s show ended with some powerful effects that left many audience members gasping, alongside plenty of applause and cheers for what was an immensely enjoyable show. This was a very strange magic show in some ways but that made it more wonderful too.


MMF 2017 Mini Review: ‘Rockstar Magic Revisited’ Performed by John Fung

I had previously seen short performances from John Fung, however he seems to be regularly travelling so once I heard he’d be back in Melbourne I was extra keen to see his show.

John’s magic was classy and often very mystifying – magic occurred with an assortment of objects such as money, cards, cutlery and rings. John at times seemed like a ‘James Bond’ character – sharply dressed and debonair with a silver suitcase on stage – which he used to his advantage, charming and astounding the audience. John regularly selected people from the audience to help him – whether it was to inspect objects or make some selections for predictions to come. The audience members themselves seemed to be from a mix of different countries, which added to the ‘International feel’ of the evening. This international theme was also incorporated into the final prediction of the show, which I thought was a nice touch.

Whilst my expectations for this show were different to what I experienced (I’d expected the flashy routines set to music that I’d seen from John in the past), I was impressed with his rapport with the audience and I left the show feeling entertained and happy.


MMF 2017 Mini Review: ‘Tim Credible’s Family Magic Show’

Tim Credible (magician Tim You) is undoubtedly one of the hardest working local magicians I’ve come across. Each MMF he has a family magic show on each morning (in the earliest timeslot!) and often runs a magic school session for budding magicians after the show. I felt most privileged and excited to attend his family magic show this year, in fact this is the first time EVER that I’ve been able to watch his full show so I was beaming as I walked into the theatre.

With little magic fans sitting up the front on donut shaped cushions, and (ahem) older audience members sitting up the back of the theatre, Tim welcomed the audience to his show. Dressed in a smart ensemble featuring primary colours, Tim showed off some hat juggling to get everyone in the mood for a fun show. Having performed countless magic shows, it was obvious that Tim is a polished performer – he knew which comedy lines and jokes would make his audience laugh and how best to direct his special helpers from the audience in order to create some special magic. Personal show highlights for me included magic that I’ve seen at plenty of other shows (rope magic, magic with a special bag) however none of those effects quite had the same magical elements previously as when Tim Credible performed them for he imparts his own fantastic and playful personality into his magic of course. Another highlight was that the audience got to meet some of Tim’s VERY talented animal friends. I even had the rare chance to meet one of Tim’s animal friends up close on stage – a memory that I will cherish!

This show is your best bet if you’re after some ‘tried and tested’ solid family entertainment. Both young children and adults are involved at various times during the show, whether it is wiggling fingers or having the chance to be involved in some magic on stage. Nothing is cheap or tacky, and everything is glorious in its flawlessness. The magic and comedy flow so seamlessly that I couldn’t quite believe it when the show was over, it certainly left me wanting to see more. If you have the chance to see a show by Tim Credible (whether at the MMF or at another event at another time), take that chance and please do see it!

Note: I attended this show as a Tim’s guest.


MMF 2017 Mini Review: ‘Gone Girl’

Dom Chambers and Bayden Hammond are the comedy magic duo ‘Dom and Dumber’ and since they burst onto the magic scene roughly a year ago, they’ve been successfully shaking up the concept of a traditional magic show. Each are magicians, able to hold their own in separate shows however when their powers are combined something special happens – put a magician and a comedian into a blender, and ‘Dom and Dumber’ will likely be the result!*

One thing to expect from a ‘Dom and Dumber’ show is plenty of theatrical magic, and their show “Gone Girl” was no different. The storyline was that Dom’s dog had been dognapped and the audience had the special privilege to be taken along for the (very) magical ride as Dom sought to be reunited with his precious pooch. I find it so refreshing that the variety of scenes in this show meant that I had no idea what was around each corner and that was thrilling! Without giving too much away, the show has a wild cast of characters and set locations along with some hilariously magical scenes. Many of the stories are parodies of scenes from popular movies, so it was easy to follow along with the story. There are a couple of scenes where it looks like Dom has hit some trouble, and those were the scenes where I laughed the most during the show (sorry Dom!). Those facial expressions get me every time.

In a world where magic shows can sometimes get a little stuffy and dated, ‘Dom and Dumber’ are the heroes, shaking up the ordinary and the expected. This time, I got so taken by the storyline that I actually forgot what city I was in when I left the theatre.

If you’re looking for an extraordinary (and somewhat zany and bizarre) theatrical magic show, then this is definitely the show for you. Clever, hilarious and refreshing, I look forward to what’s next on the crazy ‘Dom and Dumber’ horizon. This show is best enjoyed by audiences over 15.

*please do not put magicians and comedians into a blender.


MMF 2017 Mini Review: ‘Welcome to the Movies Part 3’

Having seen magician Peter Nguyen’s previous magic installment ‘Welcome to the Movies Part 2’ (which I thoroughly enjoyed) I was extra keen to see what the part 3 installment had in store for the audience.

Peter’s magic show is a tribute to the movies. He’s a self confessed movie buff and I enjoy that he displays his love of movies via magic. There’s plenty of variety in this show – sometimes the audience is watching a short movie clip on a screen, sometimes Peter is asking the audience movie trivia and a lot of the time Peter is performing magic. Peter is always optimistic and smiles broadly for the audience, and his entrance for this show was surprising! It’s hard not to be taken along for a magical ride through popular movies with Peter guiding the way. My boyfriend and I both saw this show (albeit on different nights) and it was interesting to see which segments he and I enjoyed the most. We both especially enjoyed Peter’s tribute to Stargate, and a scene during the show with Peter’s special lie detector. An interesting inclusion in this show was an awards ceremony (which I thought was quite clever). There is no sitting idly through this show, staring into a screen (as you would in the movies) as Peter frequently calls for assistance from the audience – often with hilarious results. Of course, everyone is treated well and perhaps a little ‘extra’ movie magic happens when audience members are involved.

Overall another fantastic show which really was like an escape to the movies, except with some added audience participation and some fantastic magic. This particular installment was aimed more at adults rather than children – with many of the movie quiz references being ‘before my time’ – however the children in attendance seemed interested and excited when it was time for magic. The installments of ‘Welcome to the Movies’ remain a MMF highlight for me so I hope another installment is on its way.

Note: I attended this show as a Peter’s guest.