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Mum's In Ahead of Underbelly: Razor

Update: Following the show's success, an encore season is being shown at the Kings Cross Hotel from Tuesday October 25 to Thursday November 17.

In the lead up to the next installment of Underbelly, based on the events of the "razor gangs" in Sydney between 1927 and 1936, and the war between rival crime queens Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine, a local theatre production will take locals back to the era.

The one-women cabaret act stars local performer Vashti Hughes as the notorious characters of Kate Leigh, Tilly Devine, Frank Green, Nelly Cameron and Guido Calleti.

Hughes also wrote the production, which is directed by James Winter with composition by Ross Johnston.

The media release provides some background:

The legendary characters of Sydney's 1930s razor gangs are experiencing a renaissance, but as they come to the small screen, courtesy of the new Underbelly series, rising as a source of fascination for a wider, national audience, they appear in more intimate incarnations in this titillating cabaret production.

In homage to the indecent days of Darlinghurst's brothels, bars and brawls, Hughes embodies various notorious characters from the Razorhurst era sliding seamlessly between the five characters; feuding madams and first ladies of Sydney crime Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh, death-defying prostitute Nellie Cameron, one of her many gangland boyfriends Frank Green, and her first husband, overlord Guido Caletti, whose murder and funeral sets the scene for the play.

These were the years in which wealthy, powerful women had Darlinghurst by the balls, the police in their pockets, criminals on their knees and packed establishments supplying bountiful illegal booze to Sydney-siders looking for a good time. With Mum's In, Hughes promises the same as she is joined on stage by her partner, Ross Johnston, musician and sound artist better known to locals as "3k Short" of Machine Gun Fellatio.

After many years of researching and ruminating on these local figures, and finding great inspiration in Larry Writer's Razor book, Hughes hopes to offer her own insights into these now legendary criminals. "This isn’t about a history lesson or a retelling of any particular events, it’s more about these characters and their personalities and what they're thinking and feeling about the situation they're in. I think we can still really relate to them, you know, times are tough at the moment, people are having to go to extraordinary lengths to get by, sometimes the rules aren't actually servicing our survival, and let’s be honest, Sydney's always been a city for cutting corners and doing some dodgy deals to help yourself get by."

In keeping with the spirit of the era, the show is held at a "secret" location in Darlinghurst, which is revealed once you book your seat on the website -- but you'll still have to knock and give the password in order to get in. There will be nudity, filthy language and a bootleg bar serving booze in jam jars, so this is not for the fainthearted.

Get a taste of what you can except from the live show:


Meet Tilly Devine


Meet Nellie Cameron

Mum's In - Stories from Razorhurst is playing at a secret location in the inner-Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst from June 16-18. Visit www.mumsin.com.au for tickets and location details.

Underbelly: Razor premiered 8:30pm Sunday August 21 on Nine.

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