RSVP’s Cory Watson has developed a reputation for producing edgy parties.
This year the RSVP Party After Dark went retro with sex the dominant theme - and that theme oozed from every pore of the labyrinthine venue. Home is one of Sydney’s best-known nightclubs and is just a short walk from the expo venue at SCEC.
On arrival a pair of tele-evangelists implored guests not to enter the den of iniquity in front of them while a couple of sprites on stilts beckoned those same guests. Others tried to keep warm by huddling around the gas fired RSVP welcome sign.
Eventually the velvet ropes were parted and the guests were allowed in, to be greeted by an assortment of characters that one might meet at the Moulin Rouge or a German Cabaret of the 30s.
The entertainment opened with The Velvet Set a swing band accompanied at times by a pair of Lindy Swing dancers and then Sydney’s top burlesque entertainers showcasing their acts.
The Sugartime burlesque performers included Gypsy Wood as the absinthe fairy, a very dexterous Ginger Snap who has perfected the twirling of nipple tassels and Amelia Wood who has taken foot juggling to a new level.
Tasia showed a very inventive use of lights while Tulsa was a poppin and Hula La turned into a human slinky.
The finale featured Rachael St James in a very large champagne saucer. These acts managed to surprise a few punters but the majority were totally engrossed.
Elsewhere guests could indulge their fantasies in the Absinthe bar, try their had at sketching a model or visit the delights of the East and the Middle East.
Burlesque has made a big resurgence over the past year or so and has crossed into the mainstream where it is often combined with the edgier circus acts. Kass Warner is the madame of Sugartime and was responsible for the lineup of these acts.
Unfortunately this fantastic event did not get off to a good start.
Most guests simply walked across to the venue from SCEC. It was a chill night and they were looking forward to the warmth of the venue, however they were kept waiting for around 20 minutes in the unusually (for Sydney) freezing conditions and quite a number decided enough was enough and didn’t wait around.
This was then compounded by the tight entry to the venue. Home is not an event venue; it is a nightclub or disco and the entry is quite small, so many guests were left in the cold for even longer.
The welcoming drinks on arrival were a good look for the first dozen guests to enter but then they were just in the way.
Guests were directed into the main downstairs space which quickly became packed (at least it was warm). Eventually the upstairs spaces were opened up and when the crowd filtered through the venue it was quite comfortable and the bars accessible, however many guests had had enough and had gone.
Many guests complained about there not being enough food or drink. To be fair to the caterers the problem was that the waitstaff couldn’t move through the crowd to distribute the food or drinks and the bar was impossible to get near.
The entertainment content was too confronting or risqué for some guests (who apparently don’t get out much). I know the element of surprise is important for such events but some sort of forewarning could have prevented the wowsers from getting upset.
Home has a cloakroom hidden behind the main bar – it has no signage and no attempt was made to make guests aware of its existence, consequently the main dancefloor was littered with bags and coats, causing more than a few trips.
Surely it is important at any event to keep guests entertained, fed and watered. The issues I have listed are all avoidable with proper preparation and isn’t that what event management is all about! Keeping punters waiting outside a nightclub is supposed to make the venue look more exclusive, but this was supposed to be a party, not some wanky nightclub.
Not a good way to showcase the industry.