Hidden Sydney is back by popular demand as part of Vivid Sydney, and it’s like nothing you’ve seen before. Immersive is an understatement. Wow. The gritty history of Kings Cross is brought to life by a star studded cast in this sensational cabaret. The audience are taken on a topsy-turvy journey through ‘The Nevada’ a former Sydney brothel, now known as The World Bar. The experience is a bonding one as everyone is involved in the camaraderie throughout the evening, some more than others – poor John never stood a chance against drag queen Loretta.
We are given drinks tokens on arrival and enjoy a glass of wine in the bar before we are led to the back entrance of The Nevada where the immersion gets underway. A security guard asks to see our ID’s, much to the amusement of the ladies and gentleman around me. As we wait in line the street begins to come alive, the homeless man across the road turns out to be Gerard Carroll. Once inside he treats us to a touching acoustic performance, the hook ‘you find this ugly, I find it lovely’ becomes the tagline for the Kings Cross spirit.
The brilliant Lucy Goleby gave a wonderfully witty performance as the Lady of the Night. Having previously seen her playing the straight edge matron in the Sport for Jove’s production of ‘Fallen,’ seeing her embody such a contrasting role so expertly in Hidden Sydney was enthralling – a true testament to her acting prowess.
Without giving away too much, prepare yourself for a change of pace as Fiona Jopp performs a scarily enchanting duet with Richard Cilli, as she embodies Rosaleen Norton known as the ‘Witch of Kings Cross’ in the 1950s. Cackling as she performs ‘sex magic’ on her client it felt wrong being in the room as the two performed an erotically charged dance. True performance art.
The energy of the show is uplifting, the story is captivating and the staging is faultless. Sydney needs more of this no filter theatre. We now live in a Sydney with lockout laws and RSA marshalls and it’s refreshing to hear of a Sydney where out-of-the-ordinary people created a community where they could be themselves. Here’s to the Kings Cross state of mind. I can’t beg you enough to book your tickets.
Abi believes you can never wear too much leopard print or drink too much white wine. Follow her on Instagram @rincess_abi.