The Variety Collective…YES!

Posted on 12 December 2012

Whole new scenes of live performance have been blossoming in Melbourne: circus arts, burlesque, cabaret, puppetry, storytelling, and more. As people take all the courses available to develop these skills, they soon need venues to further their craft and establish themselves as artists.

Variety venues are still far and few between, but The Brunswick Green is host to one of the liveliest shows for the weird, the wonderful, and the humorous: The Variety Collective. This Wednesday night delectation is the brain child of Michael Connell, Sarah Jones, Nicholas J. Johnson, El Kirschbaum, and Tom Davis.

I have had the pleasure of enjoying two Variety Collective shows. I was impressed both times at the sophistication and vibrancy of the evening. This was good adult entertainment that generally set the bar high on taste.

One of the five founders usually MCs the night. This Wednesday it was the delightful Michael Connell. He had plenty of good natured anecdotes about his experiences marketing…bread. He proved a generous host, doing an excellent job of building interest in each act, then fixing them in your memory afterwards with his topical quips.

We are then treated to a collection of acts, sometimes gathered together based on themes such as “The 80s” or “Science Week”. I have seen marionettes, opera, clowning, dance, standup, magic, sideshow, and sketches find their way into the limelight here. Some of these performers are old hands and present seamless performances. The Variety Collective isn’t shy of giving newcomers a chance on stage. The developing artists may be a little shaky, but none I’ve seen have failed to deliver.

Some acts have particularly impressed me. Ben McKenzie in A Brief History of a Brief History of Time attempted to cram the entire contents of Stephen Hawking’s book into a ten minute summary. Did he manage it? Sufficiently to leave everyone in stitches. Mayumi Nobetsu brought her fresh original humour to a new high, playing 80s hits using the Shamisen (a type of traditional Japanese guitar). Danny Miller’s marionettes need more story, but the fine detail in both their construction and performance was a real wonder. Everyone, male and female, loved Adelaide Everheart’s burlesque Star Wars strip. It was more about surprise and wit, than titillation. As such the audience were treated to something delightful.

I look forward to spending more time attending The Variety Collective shows. They are a gem of entertainment: sparkling, colourful, and full of light.

The Variety Collective
8pm Every Wednesday Night
The Brunswick Green
313 Sydney Road

Peace and kindness,


PS: Michael, this would have gone up sooner if you had sent me the list of performers. Just sayin’ 🙂

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