Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University of Wellington Students Association. Vol. 40 Number 4. March 21 1977
The Capital Strut –
The Capital Strut –
Whoa there! That's the typewriter ribbon I'm grabbing because I want to make sure I get this all down alright. Bring up the violins there... Shucks, this Red Mole Enterprises outfit gets around some. Last time I came across them, they were sitting across the table from me in Veints' tearooms above the main street of Gore laying down some heavy charts about a national tour they were then beginning with the fine art combo Split Enz.
They really hauled arse to keep up with Split Enz who were into a very schizo phase. Red Mole did the support act number and just about acted Split Enz out of the tent. That was in January, Split Enz cut out for Los Angeles and a recording contract while Red Mole returned to Wellington, their home base for the last two years, to penury—a penury made awesome by the bad habits they had picked up in farflung but loyal bits of the Empire like Invercargill and Hamilton.
What to do? The regular theatres in town walked a mile around this inventive and provocative act while Red Mole went under the carpet to count the roaches. By one of those fortuitous winds that blow across town occasionally bringing in the good with the bad, Carmen, enterpreneur and local mayoral Candidate, had been forced to close down her night-club deal at The Balcony. Deborah Hunt and Sally Rodwell from Red Mole had worked for Carmen in 1976 with fire-eating, cancan and tango numbers. The obliging Carmen offered our intrepid group the premises on Sunday nights for the purposes of knocking a cabaret together.
Red Mole which had walked hot coals to present theme cabarets in the past ( Cabaret Paris Spleen at the now defunct Performers Theatre, Cabaret Pekin 49 at Unity and Cabaret Gone West in Dunedin's Fortune Theatre) now seized the day, as it were. So was born Cabaret Capital Strut, a two buck deal of theatrico-musical fun and fare that promises to put Sunday back into the weekend. Two hundred tickets for the hushed up gala opening of this, the latest Red Mole charivari, for March 13 were grabbed up in a couple of days and their normally reticent promotions manager promised that Cabaret Capital Strut would last every Sunday until public tolerance was exhausted. And so it will if the enthusiasm and abandoned, reckless response that met the first night are any indication, to use the cant promo phrase.
In the New Year of 1915, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Emilio Settimelli and Bruno Corra created the first manifesto for the Futurist Synthetic Theatre, the first conclusion of this manifesto was: Totally Abolish the Technique that is Killing the Passeist Theatre. Red Mole must have read the whole manifesto a hundred times because they just stuck a barrel of laughing gas under the noses of the bourgeois theatres and are laughing all the way to the apocalypse. Fifty people were turned away at the door, at least another fifty tried bootleg invitations to get in but The Balcony is small. With this sort of pressure happening on opening night it looks like Cabaret Capital Strut could last a life time.
The entertainment on the first night ranged from farce through mise en scene to divine afflatus. Red Mole had a whole bunch of friends on stage to get them through the night, many names too notorious to mention here, who have signed on for the season. As the theme song for the cabaret says:
'Do the Capital Strut!'
The Balcony is situated at 57A Victoria Street in the city and the doors to this trip open at 7 p.m. every Sunday. You best grab a ticket now if you can find one for love or money, and bless your soul at the Capital Strut. This isn't just another movie in a some suburban art film cinema, this is real. It's a revolving show, different acts every time, you could do it once but twice is nice at the Capital Strut!