Red Door Burlesque – Sunday Nights through the mysterious red door opposite RMIT

On Sunday night I and a friend (S) went along to Red Door Burlesque, at The Order Of Melbourne on level 2 of 401 Swanston Street, opposite RMIT (It’s the red door just beyond the 7-11 and the Druid’s Cafe, heading out of the CBD). (Contact them on (03) 9663 6707.)

It was an excellent night out. The Order of Melbourne is a restaurant/bar on the second level (at the top of about four flights of stairs); it has a large dining area, a DJ booth, a trapeze hanging from the ceiling, and, of course, a stage. The mood is very Victorian (the era, not the state). There is no dress code, but S and I felt a little under-dressed compared to the other patrons. And i’m not talking about standard shirts and ties; i’m talking gothic (once again, Victorian) sorts of outfits, one or two of which looked home-made. I almost wished I had a top hat and cane. It’s not just a place you go to, it’s a place where you’re invited to participate in the atmosphere. Of course, both S and I were in jeans and biker jackets, and nobody seemed to mind.

The food was very good, fresh and hot; there wasn’t much of a range, but it wasn’t anything that seemed likely to offend anyone’s palate either, so you’re unlikely to go hungry. (Vegetarians can choose pizza and spring rolls, those avoiding lactose or gluten might be more limited.) To give you an idea of the menu, food took up one page – drinks, on the other hand, ran for about ten! I’m not an expert in alcoholic drinks, but the range available seemed really impressive.

Make reservations beforehand; I called up on the day, and just managed to grab the last table available. Doors open at 6pm and they ask that you arrive by 7pm, when the show starts, otherwise you might lose your table. The cost is $15 at the door; food and drink are paid for at the end of the night on a tab at the bar. Prices are fairly reasonable for a restaurant; we had a warm meal, a glass of wine, a couple of orange juice, and our tab was under $30.

Then, of course, there is the burlesque.

The acts vary from week-to-week; regulars include Hi Ball Burlesque and aerialist Ms Rocket, with a DJ to set the music and other rotating acts advertised in advance. Last Sunday, we saw an R&B band – and i mean actual R&B, not the stuff you hear on Fox FM. Hi Ball Burlesque are a group of girls who play out exactly what you want when you go to a burlesque club. Their acts are extremely sexy and strongly inspired by the classic image of burlesque; expect feather fans, choreography and the occasional 1940s US Navy uniform. Ms Rocket was absolutely brilliant. She made use both of the trapeze and a formidable stack of hula hoops… and you really can’t overstate the skill involved. She’s also very good at playing off the audience in gestures and expressions; she gave a character filled performance without any need for a microphone.

S and I both absolutely loved the show; if you decide to go along, you’re bound to see us in the audience there again.

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