Ah, So this is it! Oh My God - I can't believe it, I've seen it - a thousand times before - 
'It is difficult to over estimate the impact that this one small venue had on the cultural life of Melbourne'.
Rod Quantock - The Commedy Cafe.

The Flying Trapeze Cafe - Photo: Jeff Busby

The Flying Trapeze Cafe - Brunswick Street Fitzroy - 1973 - 1982  (bottom photo: Jeff Busby.)    

'The Flying Trapeze Café' was opened in 1973 by John & Gini Pinder with Humprey Poland, who later sold it to Tim Woods & Kay Davidson. Pinder went onto open 'The Last Laugh Theater Restaurant & Zoo' in partnership with Roger Evans. In 1986 John Pinder, in partnership with Tim Woods, Greg Hocking, Roger Evans and Trisha Avery went on to found 'The Melbourne Comedy Festival' which launched in 1987.  As Rod Quantock of 'The Comedy Café' puts it 'it is difficult to over estimate the impact that this one small venue had on the cultural life of Melbourne'.

Premier Hamer - Re-opening the Fly Trap 1980  Dick Hamer at opening the FlyingTrapeze Cafe - 1980

Premier Dick Hamer re-opening The Flying Trapeze Cafe 1980 (photo; The Herald)

'The Fly Trap', as it became colloquially known, was acquired by Ralph Kerle in partnership with Sue Greaves & Wayne Wood in 1977. Ralph had bought out his partners by 1978 and commissioned Gary Willis to redesign it in 1979. Willis kept Bob Daly's image of The Man on the Flying Trapeze on the front window, although everything else was redeveloped.

The Premier of Victoria, Richard Hamer, officially re-opened The Flying Trapeze Café later that year by which time it had become known as the centre of the New Wave Cabaret scene in Melbourne. Ralph Kerle sold the Fly Trap in 1981 and went on to become the Associate Director of the Sydney Theatre Company, responsible for 'second venue' productions such as Kinselas in 1982. The Fly Trap closed later that year.

Ah, So this is it! Oh My God - I can't believe it, I've seen it - a thousand times before -  'Ah - So this is It' - Gary Willis 1980

Left wall pictured above;all paintings by Gary Willis unless otherwise detailed.

Top left; The Whittle Family (Tracey Harvey & Mitchell Faircloth), Jane Clifton, Marlene Dietrich

Mid Left; Ralph Kerle, John Hindle; (Theatre/Cabaret critic from 'The Herald'), Leaf Mask (Ralph Eberlein), Alan Pentland

Bottom left; Charlie Chaplin, Beatnik, Gary Willis (painted by Brian Seidel), Marilyn Munroe (Andy Warhol - original 'Factory' print)

The Fly Trap - poem/mural featured some 35 portraits of local and mythic cabaret stars - Gary Willis painted almost 30 of them before commissioning selected artists to contribute to the mural/poem. These included; Brian Seidel, Ania Walwitz, Richard Boulez/Paula Dawson, Melwitz Folino, Ralph Eberlein & Andy Warhol.

Some of the cabaret artists and stand-up comedians who performed at the Flying Trapeze cafe included: The Busby Berkleys (Henry Maas and Noel Busby), Sam Angelico, Peaches La Creme, Jane Clifton, Steve J. Spears, Captain Rock (Bob Brown), Ahmed the Acrobat, Andrew Knight, David Argue, Alan Pentland and Shiraz Cabaret, Toni Richards, Steve Blackburn, Tim Scally, The Flaming Stars (Toni Williams, Debbie Halpern), Steve Vizard, Wendy Harmer, Los Trios Ringbarkus (Steve Kearney & Neil Gladwin), Elsa Davis, Rod Quantock, Mark Trevorrow, Doug Tremlett, Rob Meldrum, Elizabeth Drake, Tracey Harvey & Michell Faircloth (The Whittle Family), Tim McKew, Jean-Paul Bell, Annie Gaston, Dave Gray, Joe Dolce, Nicholas Flannigan, Bob Thornycroft, Ian McFadyen, Mandy Salomon, Simon Thorpe, Amanda Testro, John Alsop, Vivienne Reynolds, Alan Knight, Simon Hill, to name but a few. 

John Hindle (The Herald) and Peter Weineger (The Age) were theatre/cabaret critics whose recognition of the significance of the cultural dynamic at the Fly Trap cabaret scene is also worthy of mention in this document.