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Wonderfully Terrible Things ‘Intimate’

  • Theatre, Circuses
  1. Wonderfully Terrible Things
    Photograph: Supplied/Wonderfully Terrible Things
  2. Wonderfully Terrible Things
    Photograph: Supplied/Wonderfully Terrible Things
  3. Wonderfully Terrible Things
    Photograph: Supplied/Wonderfully Terrible Things
  4. Wonderfully Terrible Things
    Photograph: Supplied/Wonderfully Terrible Things

Time Out says

This raunchy burlesque freak show is firing up at Newtown's quirky new secret venue

This titillating variety show is positively spilling out of its corset with up-close and personal cabaret noir, neo burlesque and freak show antics. The library is open as a menacing mistress of ceremonies guides you through the ultimate night in entertainment, divulging your senses with live music, seductive circus and much, much more. 

Time Out readers can score 50 per cent off tickets for the final five performances of Wonderfully Terrible Things' Newtown residency. The shows are happening from July 27-29 (one show is on Thursday, and two shows each on Friday and Saturday night). All you need to do is enter the promo code 'TIMEOUT' when you make your booking over here.

Wonderfully Terrible Things returns ‘intimately’ to 5 Eliza, performed in the round at Sydney’s reimagined arts venue and character-filled bar residing in a heritage building in the beating heart of Newtown

This naughty affair is created, produced and cheekily wrangled by seasoned cirque songstress Christine Ibrahim (who has worked under the pseudonyms Mesuline Wilde and Alysia Rose). She has assembled a world-class clique of intriguing and highly skilled performers who evoke wonderfully terrible feelings within anyone who bears witness to their crafts. Meanwhile, Ibrahim delivers hilarious, sensual and occasionally heartbreaking original songs and clever covers with extraordinary vocal prowess (you haven’t lived until you’ve seen an operatic performance of ‘WAP’). 

If you’re at all squeamish about audience interaction, crass humour, nudity, fire breathing, leather whips, proud sluts, and expressions of sensuality from a range of beautiful bodies from across the gender spectrum – think twice. Or better yet, just strap in for the ride. Actually, a “safe word” wouldn’t have gone astray on the night we sat in – not even audience goers sitting towards the back of the 150-seat theatre were safe from being playfully, probingly questioned about their sex lives. 

A content note, also, for references to reproductive rights, sexual violence and “women’s issues” in general. But boy, the mistress will have you singing along valiantly to lyrics like “I wish my c*nt was a gun” before the night is through. It’s a good time for those of us who long for those stolen evenings at Dracula’s cabaret restaurant on weekend jaunts to Melbourne (RIP). 

It’s a wonderful thing to see this artfully reimagined venue live on after 5 Eliza opened with the site-specific theatrical thriller experience Darkness in February. The former Newtown School of Arts Library building has been transformed into a lost world overflowing with curious objects by designer Isabel Hudson (The Mousetrap, American Psycho, Cry-Baby). And Wonderfully Terrible Things is the perfect fit for this goth-tinged wet dream.

The bar downstairs – along with the passageways and bathrooms – is kitted out like the vintage store of your dust-speckled fantasies. Bookshelves are stacked with an artful jumbling of leatherbacks and knick-knacks, apothecary bottles and taxidermied creatures. Vacant eyes follow you from oil paintings and porcelain dolls dotted around the venue. Make sure you arrive with plenty of time for a pre-show cocktail or a post-show tipple (and a selfie with the generous and wonderfully terrible cast). 

Wonderfully Terrible Things plays at 5 Eliza until July 29, 2023. 18+ only. Tickets are $55 and you can snap them up over here. (Use the promo code 'TIMEOUT' for 50 per cent off tickets for shows between July 27 and 29.)


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Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross


Opening hours:
Fri 8pm
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