The Crimson Goat Cabaret Club performs a Super Show
“I am probably the worst person to go to a comedy show with because not much makes me laugh,” says comedy legend Jack Levi (aka Elliot Goblet) “Unless I can hand-pick it…” he continues. That’s exactly what Levi is doing with The Crimson Goat Cabaret Club.
Perhaps Melbourne’s best kept secret, since 2009 Levi has been curating evenings showcasing the best of variety and cabaret acts, which entertain, enthral and tickle funny bones. Levi organises the night with none other than Mitchell Faircloth, (aka Slim Whittle). “Slim Whittle was one of the kings of cabaret when I started during the vibrant comedy cabaret scene in 1981. He is a living legend,” says Levi. The project came about after an annual comedian’s lunch. Levi spoke briefly about his current take on the industry, “I really lament the loss of our cabaret variety scene which was so prevalent in the ‘70s and ‘80s. There were a lot of heads nodding saying we miss it too,” he says. To Levi’s surprise, Mitchell called two days later and suggested they do something to address it.
It was during the global financial crisis, Levi’s work was slowing down and he had some time on his hands. He now has plenty of corporate work again and enjoys writing tailored material for his clients, but he’s thrilled to be back on the scene. “It is so fulfilling for me to be back and involved in the industry after going solo for 20 years. My corporate work is well-paid but it is very lonely with just me performing at events. I have just gone over the 1300 corporate event performances mark.”
Levi and Mitchell may seem like the odd couple but in fact they’re perfectly matched – each possessing different and complimentary skills. Levi books the acts for the night, and Mitchell’s design skills have come in handy in illustrating the crimson goat itself.
Levi’s high standards for acts serve as a great filter in curating an outstanding night of entertaining. With comedy and cabaret often relying on surprise, there’s not much Levi can’t see coming, but when it works, it’s magic. “I’ve seen so much comedy over my thirty years in the industry and I predict and I predict and I predict,” he says. He’s always pleasantly surprised when someone pulls off the surprise element. “Flacko is my favourite in the whole of Australia because he continually surprises me,” he says.
The Crimson Goat Cabaret Club has been running since 2009 and will deliver two super shows for Melbourne International Comedy Festival. MC Marty Fields with some of the best variety/cabaret acts from past shows including Greg Champion, Mic Conway and Robbie Long (cabaret legends), Bob Franklin, Ethel Chop, Jon Jackson, Elliot Goblet, Slim Whittle, The Great Gondos (vaudeville), Nick Nickolas (comedy magician), Anna ‘the pocket rocket’ Lumb (vaudeville) and Dean and Fetch (ventriloquist and dummy).
The lineup of traditional stand up with cabaret and variety acts is unusual in recent times. “I find a traditional stand up comedian as an MC plus comedy flavoured variety/cabaret acts is a working formula,” says Levi. “It actually gives the cabaret acts hero status, they’re the stars and the MC who is the most well known guy on the bill is setting it up for these stars.” It’s a combination that works, if the success of the Crimson Goat Cabaret Club to date is anything to go by.
The Crimson Goat Cabaret Club will perform Super Show at Ormond Hall at The Belgian Beer Café in St Kilda on Sunday April 17 at 2.30pm and Monday April 18 at 7.30pm. Tickets are $37/$34 for groups of eight or more. Book through Ormond Hall on 9529 3111 or buy tickets on the door. For more info head to thecrimsongoatcabaretclub.com.
This article first appeared in Beat magazine.