When you think ‘golden age’ of entertainment a few things come to mind. Maybe 50’s Hollywood? Marilyn Monroe? Classic burlesque and swinging jazz? A lot can be said about those nostalgic vibes we get when one utters the words ‘golden age’, and those vibes are alive and well in small sectors of Melbourne’s arts community, and maybe none more current and recent than the world famous Spiegeltent that just launched its season of Spiegel Et Luna at Luna Park, Melbourne.
For those unfamiliar, a Spiegeltent is a mobile, pop-up tent, complete with beautiful wooden pillars, colourful stained glass windows and cozy booths lining the outer walls for patrons to take in the lovely and days-of-past circus feel. Originally erected in Belgium in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the travelling tent is designed to host various forms of art and performance, and has kept up this wonderful tradition for many, many years.
Spiegel Et Luna opened its upcoming four-week run to roughly one hundred well-dressed attendees at 8:00pm, Saturday the 22nd of September, and if this launch event was any indication of the season ahead, audiences young and old are in for a treat!
As the crowd took their seats, not without first visiting the bar for a flute of bubbly or a glass of red, the feeling in the room was that of being taken back in time to the Barnum-esque Circus age, complete with the smell of popcorn and background tunes heavy on brass. The polite chatter subsided and the applause began as Martin Foley MP (Minister For Creative Industries, Albert Park) took the stage and introduced the Spiegeltent to its home for the next few weeks at Luna Park, and spoke briefly about the history, importance and legacy of such a diverse and historical staple of the arts community. Foley then introduced the house band for the evening, The Shuffle Club, who right from the first note from Ashley Gaudion’s saxophone, had the crowd tapping their toes, bopping along, and moving their bodies on the large and lovely wooden dance floor to their fun, tight and energetic jazz. The band played classic free-form hits, bouncing off each other and improvising soaring solos, while bantering with the dancing audience and not losing steam with their frenetic and engaging performance. In all senses of the word, it was exactly what jazz should be. Fun, swinging, cool, and takes you with it every step of the way.
It was after a non-stop, highly enjoyable hour that The Shuffle Club called their break, and welcomed the audience to stick around for their second half, but not without a sneak preview of the upcoming season of Moira Finucane’s Dance Hall! Leading the way in this taste of the upcoming run of performances was a ‘Golden Age Of Hollywood’ style performance from the beautiful and dazzling Clare St Clare. Introduced by the charming and very funny Mama Alto, Clare took the stage and performed a jazzy, seductive Marilyn-esque number which had both the guys and girls of the audience ‘woo-ing’, and wanting more. Clare is a wonderful performer, with all the sass and glamour of Monroe herself, which she brings to her performance brilliantly. Definitely worth booking a ticket for the Dance Hall performance, as Mama Alto and Clare St Clare are sure to be crowd pleasers.
The Shuffle Club returned to the stage, and the dance floor lit up once again as they flew through more lively jazz. The bar kept busy, the laughter and applause was energetic and place had all the vibes and charm of a New York old-timey jazz club. In a word, perfect. The night ended with The Shuffle Club thanking everyone, and encouraging everyone to book a show or five for Luna Park’s Spiegeltent season.
While the entertainment of the opening night of Spiegel Et Luna was only a taste of what audiences can expect from the iconic travelling tent, it was world-class fun in a nostalgic and beautiful venue. There was not one smiling face throughout the performances, and the energy did not let up once in the two and a half hour launch. There is something on offer for all ages at Spiegel Et Luna over these coming weeks, and by the looks of it, crowds will leave the Spiegeltent exhausted from dancing, laughing, clapping and booking more tickets!
For a full listing of all events and performances on show at the Spiegeltent as part of Spiegel Et Luna, visit: https://lunapark.com.au/event/the-famous-spiegeltent-whats-on/