Every major world city seems to have its places of urban bohemia, neon glitter and decadent notoriety but in Kings Cross, Sydney had it all rolled into one. It’s a place just itching to tell its stories and at least some of them come to light in the show, Hidden Sydney and its companion piece Kings Bloody Cross.
“Everyone knows the stories of Kings Cross – it’s like literary fodder”, says curator Olivia Ansell. “In many ways, the flamboyancy of Kings Cross has given Sydney its personality.” Looking for a cheap rehearsal space for actors, she stumbled upon The World Bar and immediately thought of putting on a show about the history of the Cross. “The interiors look exactly like it did when it was a working brothel”, explains Ansell.
It’s an immersive interactive cabaret experience that begins with a bouncer in a back lane and ends with Judy Garland heckling from the bar at the Chevron Silver Spade. In between the audience travels through the Manzil room, the Carousel Club, a scene from the bedroom of Eugene Gossens and Rosaleen Norton, the Les Girls dressing room and a brothel called the Nevada – which is what The World Bar once was.
Hidden Sydney was a massive hit in 2016 selling out by word of mouth alone, prompting Ansell to add to it this year with an intriguing series of ‘in conversation events’. Over three weekends, Kings Bloody Cross, gathers together some of the luminaries that were used to create Hidden Sydney, to speak candidly about what they know. It’s all about the people who made the cross, the bohemians, the Sydney Push, the corruption, the anarchists, the music.
“There is nothing like it”, says Ansell, “come and see it while you still can.”
May 27-June 11, Various performance times. The World Bar, 24 Bayswater Rd, Kings Cross. $50. Tickets & Info: www.hiddensydney.com.au
By Greg Webster.