Pandora's Box meets burlesque
It was a near thing for Melbourne – the Finucane & Smith train almost passed us by this year. "We've got so much touring to do," says Ms Finucane – a performance artist who, with theatre director Jackie Smith, has been presenting the Burlesque Hour for eight years at fortyfivedownstairs, "but then there was this little gap in June, and we thought, well then, let's come home and open Pandora's box. That was the theme. Once we said it – bang!"
There's a succinct summary of the Burlesque Hour experience right there, ladies and gentlemen: "Bang!"
So who is in the velvet-and-braid cocktail cannon, The Glory Box, this year?
Ursula Martinez, cheeky YouTube superstar and cult cabaret legend. "She'll be packing her infamous red hanky, but doing a brand new act as well," says Finucane. "It's Glen Glenda: half man, half woman, transforming before your very eyes."
Miss Behave, a street and sideshow performer since she was a teenager and one of the last surviving female sword swallowers in the world. "Her capacity to hold a bunch of people spell bound is phenomenal. I told her the theme and she went nuts. Now she's going to create a work especially for us. But she will swallow a sword, because that's what she's world famous for."
Christos Tskolkas, award-winning author and playwright. "He'd seen me perform many times and I am a great admirer of his work. I wrote to him and I said, 'You should be our guest star on the Burlesque Hour.' He said, 'I'm not going to get up on stage.' I said, 'Relax, Chris. You don't have to. You have us. You write and we'll perform.'"
Anna Lumb, risk-taking circus performer. "Anna created a show recently called 'I heart Jack' which is a sort of wild 1970s, Velvet Underground homage with this fantastic male character in it. So what we're doing now, is taking that male character and mixing it up with the female Anna, putting it in an amazingly sharp suit with heels."
Harriet Ritchie, contemporary dancer. "She became fascinated with wolves, so we're working with her on a really wonderful she-wolf piece set to Jimi Hendrix's 'Foxy Lady' – a mix of all kind of things, fundamentally a dance, a wolf dance. We even sent her off to the zoo to see how they move."
Holly Durrant, currently living in Paris making dance films. "Last year we asked Holly to make her first solo piece for us. We gave her a brief to take Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love' and put it together with a German Expressionist, Dance-of-the-Seven-Veils thing."
And Moira, what will La Gloriosa herself be performing? "Among other things I'm going to do a piece inspired by Medusa. I can't really tell you anything more than that, but the hair will be huge."
Get ready to be struck stone dead, Melbourne.