I was really looking forward to seeing Robert Bertram play last night at “Bar Me”, that wonderfully unique cabaret venue in the basement of a Kings Cross restaurant. Previously known as the El Rocco Club, I’ve been told the likes of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior have done late-night shows there in the days of midnight closing. I’ve also been to see the likes of Tim Draxl and David Campbell performs shows there. It’s an odd room, that’s for sure, but it’s also a good room because you’re never far away from the show, as it only seats 40 or 50 people at most. And as you walk down the stars, you wonder for a moment if you’re entering a brothel (not that I ever have, by the way!).
And as for Robert Bertram? Well, we’d seen him a few months ago at Statement Bar as part of the showcase performance by graduating students of the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. He was a “star” then, for sure, and there was a glowing article in the Sydney Morning Herald the other week in which he was likened to a “new Hugh Jackman”. In the performance I recall, he was funny, smart, sang well, played piano, wrote all his own songs, and was incredibly engaging. So, of course, we were looking forward to seeing him perform in such an appropriate venue.
As we sat and waited for the show to commence (fifteen minutes late), and as the audience started to arrive, Colin observed, “It’s a funny audience, isn’t it? Do you recognise anyone?”. “No”, I said, “No one at all.”. As I cast my eye around the room, which was mostly quite young, student-types, I rationalised this by thinking they must have been friends, fellow-students and family members.
It was then that two of the women from another show, “Way Off Broadway” came on stage and began singing. “Oh,” I thought, a preview of tomorrow night’s show, that’ll be interesting. And it was until they began to sing another song.
At that point I whispered in Colin’s ear, “I think we’re at the wrong show”. Picking up one of the brochures, we both recognised we were either one week late or two nights early to see Robert Bertram perform at Bar Me. It was then we realised why we didn’t recognise anyone in the audience for three simple words: “no theatre poofs”.
Neither one of us is sure how we BOTH managed to get it wrong, but we certainly did. The two women in the show had really nice voices, and often harmonised well, but it wasn’t what we were expecting, and wasn’t in the same league as what we were expecting from Robert Bertram.
As the show was being taped with multiple cameras around the room, I kept myself slightly amused by the idea we were being taped as part of a new reality television show or maybe for “Today Tonight”.
VOICE OVER: “These two blokes have come to the wrong show, but how long will they stay before they get up and ask for their money back?”
VIDEO EFFECTS: (tick, tick, tick, as the clock ticks away)
VOICE OVER: “Forty five minutes, and they’re still there”
PS. This post is actually cause for some celebration as it’s my 500th post to this blog! I can scarcely bloody believe it!