The Butterfly Club is a haven for the beautifully bizarre and the Club’s 2017 Spring program is as varied as the artworks and knick-knacks that adorn the venue’s surfaces. Producing upwards of 1100 performances a year, the published Spring program offers a small taste of what the Club will offer over the coming months, and what is available is a terrific mix of cabaret, theatre. and storytelling which sees established artists returning to connect with more intimate audiences, and original performances that range from a tutorial on sexiness to a modern re-imagining of the Ugly Duckling tale.
For those interested in reality television Auditions: The Callback and Elizabeth are for you. Both inspired by real-life tales from the lives of the performers, these shows provide insights into some of Melbourne’s best musical minds and the hilarious and awkward experiences their careers have led them into. For Elizabeth, Lisa Crawley will be returning to the Butterfly Club stage after having played with the likes of John Mayer and Simply Red, providing those lucky enough to get tickets the chance to see a world-class performer in an intimate venue and relax with an aptly retitled Ginfizzabeth from the bar.
On the topic of substances, Lucy Gransbury’s I’m Fine is described as an “anxious comedy” for those of us clinging to the last of our sanity and suggests audiences should come stocked with their own valium. Another key requirement is to come prepared with ideas for erotic fiction and given Gransbury has been touted as familiar with the intricacies of Big Foot erotica, I’d say you’d better arrive well-equipped.
Those seeking discussions and reworkings of classic characters will enjoy Ugly Duckling, a cabaret depicting Duckie as “an adopted D-Grade socialite” in the same manner as Emma became Cher from Clueless, as well as Piaf and Aznavour: Tales from the Pavement and Shaken: Baritones Belting Bond. Remounted four years after its initial run as the opening act at the Butterfly Club’s new venue, Piaf and Aznavour follows the early lives of the legendary French performers from their time busking in Montmartre and features established cabaret artists Camille O’Sullivan and Caroline Nin. In Shaken, performers Charlie D Barkle and Oliver Clark will take the audience on a scientific journey into who was the best James Bond and who provided the best song across the Bond film franchise.
For those interested in the perks and perils of womanhood there is a bevy of works to choose from. Mummy promises audience participation for which man-children need not apply (last time host Mummy Num Nums was on stage at the Butterfly Club she had a group of 10+men peeling grapes for her) while Madwomen Monologues – now in its eighth year – will feature a variety of short works written, directed, produced, and performed by women and frankly sounds like an amazing night of theatre. Green Room Award-winner Outer Suburban Witch will put a spell on you (you’re welcome) with its magical (I’ll stop) variety of catchy tunes honouring the witches of suburbia. And speaking of suburbia, who doesn’t love children’s birthday parties? The answer: me, and also the creators of The Birth of the Unicorn Mermaid, a show that debates the ethics of ‘designer babies’ and questions the necessity of baby showers while arguing babies are still worth having. I’d recommend a fine pairing with this show would be Louisa Wall’s It’s Not Me, It’s Lou in which Wall includes a song about bogan baby names called ABCDE pronounced “Obesity.’ Not only does Wall’s comedic reputation proceed her – the above sentence alone should act as evidence of this – her musical prowess and red locks offer a likeness to Tim Minch, who those at the club herald as Wall’s predecessor.
Finally, two very personal shows about sexuality and sensuality are included in the program that sound highly engaging and unique. Jordan Barr: How to be Sexy is a cabaret set in a toilet cubicle and sees Barr provide a tutorial on sexiness to the soundtrack of 80s power ballads whereas Nikki Spunde’s Asexual Healing sees improvisation High Priestess and general comedy goddess Nikki Spunde explore asexuality in an open environment where audience members are given the opportunity to ask the questions about asexuality they’ve always wanted to.
Given these shows are just a taste of what the Club has to offer in the upcoming months there is something for everyone’s tastes, although I would caution access to the venues can be problematic so I recommend checking with Butterfly Club staff in regards to how they can accommodate anyone who might require assistance.