Razor gangs revisited, cabaret-style

A one-woman cabaret show set during Sydney’s notorious ‘Razorhurst’ era, helped along with City of Sydney support, has been extended until February due to popular demand.

Mum’s In: Stories from Razorhurst, starring Vashti Hughes, was developed last year with the assistance of a City Accommodation Grant at Heffron Hall – right in the heart of the former razor gangs’ stomping grounds of Darlinghurst.

The show premiered at the hall in June last year and is now running every Sunday at 5pm at The Bordello Theatre in the Kings Cross Hotel.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City’s Accommodation Grants program supports non-profit, locally based organisations by giving them a new home in City-owned buildings.

“Our grants program encourages and supports the work of artists and community groups, creating a rich cultural life in Sydney,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The grants also reactivate underused spaces and give community groups opportunities they otherwise couldn’t afford, allowing many cultural and artistic events, such as Mum’s In, to flourish.

“We are committed to supporting our creative industries and community organisations, because we know they have social and economic benefits for our global city.

Ms Hughes created Mum’s In after reading Sydney author Larry Writer’s 2001 book, Razor, about the birth of organised crime in Australia and two of the leading women crooks: sly-grogger Kate Leigh of Surry Hills and brothel madam Matilda ‘Tilly’ Devine of Darlinghurst.

During the one-woman show, Ms Hughes portrays Leigh and Devine, as well as gunman Frank Green, prostitute Nellie Cameron and gang leader Guido Calletti.

“As a long-time resident of Kings Cross and Darlinghurst, researching the history of the area has made me feel more connected to this place: its history, streets, characters and stories,” Ms Hughes said.

“Audiences have been loving the show that also offers a cultural activity in the Kings Cross Hotel, which is an excellent alternative to just drinking.”

The show’s director, James Winter from Queen Street Studio, said the project may never have come to light without the City’s support.

Mum’s In: Stories from Razorhurst was developed at Heffron Hall last year and we did a preview season there for two weeks,” Mr Winter said.

“If it wasn’t for that development, the project would not have been realised: The show has now been alive for almost two years and is into its third season.”

The Accommodation Grants Program, one of 19 grants and sponsorships programs run by the City, currently funds 66 organisations in 43 buildings and is worth more than $2.4 million in foregone revenue.

Under this grants program Queen Street Studio manage Heffron Hall and make the venue available for hire to community and cultural groups. As a not-for-profit group they are able to keep the hire fees affordable and accessible to most groups.

Mum’s In: Stories From Razorhurst

A Brand X Production

Starring Vashti Hughes

Composed by Ross Johnston

Directed by James Winter

Every Sunday until 24 February 2013, 5pm, at the Kings Cross Hotel

Tickets: $30 or $20 (if dressed in 1930s costume)


For more information, visit cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/grants

For media enquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Jodie Minus phone 0467 803 815 or email jminus@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jonathon Larkin on
0477 310 149 or email jlarkin@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

Mum’s In, photograph by Rowena Hall
Mum’s In, photograph by Rowena Hall