Dionysus, god of disguise, returns to party at Red Bennies.
Dionysus was the god of disguise and wine in Ancient Greek mythology, and he returns to party at Red Bennies on New Year’s Eve this year. Expect pleasure and excess, dreams and illusion, the garden of abandon, passion, intoxication and the shiny bright stars of the night of the year. We spoke to Red Bennies about what you can expect…
This is the first New Years Event for Red Bennies. Given its profile as Melbourne’s premier venue for burlesque, circus and vaudeville, what can audiences expect?
“It’s been a year long party for Bennies! We’ll be celebrating our first successful year as Melbourne’s premier venue for burlesque, circus and vaudeville with a massive show case of some of our best performers from 2010. Dionysia has been described as a Gotham City party that meets the Jumanji jungle, truly midnight in the garden of good and evil. A large-scale production with non-stop visual spectaculars of sly vaudeville, heart-stopping circus and evolved burlesque… and of course, a multi-media countdown.”
You have a unique music policy integrating old cabaret show tunes into soul, funk and hip hop. How do audiences south side and on Chapel St, better known for known for its more house music-focused venues generally respond to this?
“We pride ourselves on attracting a very wide audience to Red Bennies, finding a lot of our regulars brave the trip from the other side of Yarra for a big night out, so we’re largely preaching to the converted! That being said, we have definitely developed a unique sound in Melbourne, something that I’m yet to have heard out consistently at any other venues in Melbourne which seems to win people other regardless what kind of music their into. People largely come to Red Bennies now knowing what to expect, and they’re never disappointed. One of our biggest problems at Red Bennies is convincing punters to clear the dance floor at the end of the night.”
Your lineup of performers includes some of the biggest names in the scene, can you tell us more about who is involved in the production and which character they will play?
“We’ve spent a considerable amount of time hand picking performers who are most closely suited to the characters of Dionysia, and some parts have been written with certain actors in mind. Asher Treleaven will be playing the sly and villainous Big Daddy Long Legs who has a penchant for the Nymphs and the beautiful Manaed Youth (portrayed by the inimitable Gypsy Wood!). We couldn’t go past the comical dandy hijinks of Andrew McClelland for our in house god of wine and merriment, Dionysus, nor the ethereal beauty and allure of Foxtrot India for the Venus Fly-Trap. I’m most looking forward to seeing the Electric Faun (portrayed by circus wonder woman Tank), a dark machine-goat hybrid with electricity in her heart and fire in her fingertips…”
You’ve been actively promoting and producing burlesque shows for some time. What are you current thoughts about where the scene in headed in Australia given its recent explosion?
“The burlesque explosion has been a real double-edge sword, but I think with the amount of production companies and clans out there, it’s really pushing producers to create bigger and better things in order to stand out. The burlesque world, particularly in Australia, is evolving at an exponential rate, and is providing audiences with first class shows that they deserve. Red Bennies has really been at the forefront in Melbourne, encouraging high quality acts and oddities that capture your attention. There are some incredibly creative people out there who are banding together in order to create something extraordinary. And that’s what its about. Creating an immersive, extraordinary world for people to disappear into for a night.”
Red Bennies Dionysia New Year’s Eve begins at 6pm, with the show starting officially at 7pm, and it stars Asher Treleaven, Andrew McClelland, Tank, Foxtrot India, Gypsy Wood and more, with DJs Mike Guirrieri, Edd Fisher, Erol Flynn and Buddy. Expect everything and nothing you can expect – tickets are $50 – $120 and available from redbennies.com.