The Lido, Melbourne

National Archives of Australia, 30766306

When the Tivoli theatres in Sydney and Melbourne closed in 1966, the genres of erotic performance found audiences elsewhere, in theatre restaurants like Melbourne’s lavish Lido and in the night clubs of Sydney’s Kings Cross.

From October 1965, at the Lido Theatre Restaurant in Melbourne, producer David McIlwraith presented revues ‘in the continental style’ with a chorus of showgirls, some nude, and with talent drawn from both television and stage – including comedian Johnny Lockwood, singer Denise Drysdale and drag artiste Tracey Lee.

Reviewing the Lido’s Hello Australia in 1967, Geoffrey Hutton observed that these new venues were considerably smaller than the variety theatres and the audience was, somehow, ‘not quite the same’. ‘Food and conversation’, he continued, ‘take the place of the gagman and his assistant’. But continuities in design and choreography were strong. Angus Winneke’s sets and costumes from the Tivoli were ‘fitted into the smaller stage without any loss in effect’ and ‘the whole performance is as fast as it is spectacular’.

National Archives of Australia, 5971452

The Lido choreographer was Felicia Hallmark, also known as Tuppy Downs. Described as ‘an old hand behind the glamour’ by the Age, Hallmark had been a Tivoli ballet mistress and dancer on the Fullers circuit. Her ‘biggest success’ had been the 1958 Tivoli show she choreographed for Sabrina; mention of the British starlet in pre-opening publicity endowed the Lido’s erotic appeal.

In a short-lived venture, Harry Wren booked McIlwraith’s Lido Revue for the 1967 gala opening of a theatre restaurant in Adelaide, with the Honourable Don Dunstan, Premier of South Australia suitably delivering the opening address, since Dunstan’s reform of liquor licensing had, according to Wren, made the venture possible.

By June 1970, McIlwraith had handed control of the Lido to Ferdinand Nemeth, who renovated the venue with claret and gold wallpaper, a midnight blue ceiling, and ‘a computerised fountain, complete with fairy lights’ imported, at a cost of $100,000, from the Mikado nightclub in Tokyo. Shirley Bassey performed at the renovated Lido later that year.

National Archives of Australia, 7502344

Choreographers carried the Tivoli traditions of showgirl revues into night clubs in Sydney as well. Sheila Cruze – who had worked on Harry Wren’s variety shows in the 1950s – was ballet mistress at Sydney’s Chequers nightclub in the 1960s and also choreographed the Les Girls drag queens at Kings Cross. Such glamorous, revue-style choreography and designs were standard fare at Sydney nightspots of the 1960s, such as Sammy Lee’s Latin Quarter, the Pigalle and other clubs.

Choreographer Judd Laine – who, in the 1950s, had worked at the Tivoli (Chez Paree 1951) and with Harry Wren (Thanks for the Memory 1953) – also applied his practice to the new venues of the 1960s. Alongside his choreography for the Graham Kennedy Show, Bandstand and other television shows, Laine choreographed revues for the Pink Pussycat and Pink Panther clubs in Kings Cross.

As the entertainment industry adjusted to the advent of television, audiences adjusted their relations to the erotic. Once happily presented among the varieties of ‘family’ entertainment, erotic performance would only come to confirm the gendered conventions of erotic spectatorship – whereby women perform for male spectators — as it transitioned in the 1960s into the ‘adult’ world of night club entertainment. Only after television had re-constituted variety entertainment for public broadcast into private homes did the media discourse on erotic entertainment assume the spectacle of moral debate.

National Archives of Australia, 5971453

When a newsreel in the 1940s offered to take viewers behind the curtain for a glimpse backstage at a Tivoli showgirl’s life, erotic fantasies are doused and moral outrage quelled as Joyce Smith turns out to be a girl-next-door leading a regular, respectable, work-a-day life. Yet by 1967 the prospect of topless girls at Melbourne’s Lido – reported in Melbourne’s Truth as if it were something new – saw advance bookings cancelled in their hundreds, drew the attention of the Acting Chief Secretary of the Victorian Parliament, and required the attendance of two vice squad detectives at a dress rehearsal before the show was pronounced ‘not offensive’ and given license to proceed.

The exchange in moral responsibility between televised entertainment and live performance is well-indicated by a placard advertising Sydney’s Pink Pussycat in the late 1960s. The placard invited the attendance of passers-by on the basis that they will recognise the appeal of the Pink Pussycat’s ‘international […] revue’ from its appearance on all four television stations in Sydney.

On Channel 7’s 7 Days, viewers taken on a tour of the Pink Pussycat, the Strip Palace, the Paradise Club and Les Girls, were asked to judge whether goings on inside are ‘Sophisticated – or Sick?’. Thus what television producers declined as too hot to deliver as family entertainment on variety shows was served up cold as investigative exposés of seedy nightlife on prime-time current affairs – which, as it turned out, were just the thing to draw a crowd to St Kilda and Kings Cross.

A journalist records that business had been lacklustre at Les Girls for quite some time, ‘until out of the blue came television with their ‘Glittering Mile […]’ and hey presto, you had to book a week in advance to get a table’.

Lido Revues

Here is a short-list of some of the Lido revues. A longer list with details on cast is collated at AusStage.

  • High Time (1965) – The Bernard Brothers
  • Harlem Express (1966)
  • Champagne on Ice (1966)
  • Blue Magic (1966) A Revue in the Continental Style – Programme – Bounjour Paris, a gay fantasy with all the joie de vivre of the city of light, interpreted by Irene Bevans, Buster Skegges, Noel Hanlen, Paul Gavin, Miss Lido, and the Fabulous Lido Girls – Ken Littlewood and Toshi, aristocrats of magic, from the Mikado Theatre Restaurant, Tokyo – Polynesian Mood, echoes from the pacific isles, blue lagoon, native dances, sunswept beaches, palm trees swaying in the breeze, with Buster Skegges, Danse Primitive. Irene Bevans, Noel Hanlen, Paul Gavin, Miss Lido and the Lido Dancers and Showgirls – English comedy: Boby Dennis, England’s master of mirth from TV’s Jimmy Hannan Show and the Prince of Wales Theatre, London or Johnny Lockwood, Australia’s favourite English funster. Star of TV’s Sunnyside Up from HSV7 and original West End production of Oliver – Nuit Exotique, Finale featuring Miss Lido and the fabulous Lido Girls, with the entire company in the elaborate extravaganza presentation.
  • All the Best (1966) – Think Pink, a distingue serenade to the glories of colour romanticism with a special accent on the spirit of Christmas, interpreted by Irene Bevans, Paul Gavin, Noel Hanlen, Miss Lido and the fabulous Lido Girls; Duo Revells – international acrobatic equilibrists – from Hansa Theatre, Hamburg; Mexican Fiesta – A gay Latin fantasy down South of the Border, echoes from the home of the Aztecs, and the elegance of colonial Spain, with Lido Harmony Duo, Irene Bevans, Noel Hanlen, Paul Gavin, Miss Lido and the Lido Dancers and Showgirls; Freddie Bamberger and Pam – English comedy duo from London Palladium; Rhapsody in Gold – finale, featuring Miss Lido, and the fabulous Lido Girls, with the entire company in an elaborate extravaganza presentation; Antonio Rodrigues – credited as ‘Brazilian King of Go Go and Conga Drummer’
  • Hello Australia (1967) – A History of Australia. Prologue: Hello Australia – Stockman, Ron Lees. Scene I: Corroboree, An Australian Ballet, inspired by the primitive paintings and carvings found on the walls of caves around Alice Springs and throughout the Northern Territory. This sequence is choreographed in the modern jazz revusical dance idiom with Miss Lido, Noel Hanlen, and the fabulous Lido Girls. Scene II: Gold Fever – A re-cfreation of the turbulent, tempestuous gold rush era in Ballarat, when Lola Montez etched her name in Australian history as she captivated the miners with her provocative dances and filled her purse with untold riches, with Rosina Himing and the fabulous Lido Girls and Goddesses. Scene III: Memories of Melba. Intepreted by Valmai Johnston. Scene IV: Naughty Nineties. Music Hall Frolics with Shirlene Clancy. Ladies of the Town, the Fabulous Lido Girls, Bartender, Noel Hanlen. Scene V: Miss Lido introduces Montego, the international juggling virtuoso from New York. Scene VI: Over the Waves. A surf extravaganza dedicated to the sportsmen of Bondi, Coogee, Torquay and other famous Australian surfing resorts, interpreted by Shirlene Clancy, Ron Lees, Rosina Himing, Noel Hanlen, Miss Lido, and the fabulous Lido Girls and Showgirls, with representatives of Victoria’s premier Lifesaving Clubs. Scene VII: Tracey Less. Controversial Impressionist and Singing Personality. From Madame Artur’s Amsterdam. Scene VIII: King’s Cross ’67: Finale, featuring the entire company in the an elaborate presentation depicting Australia’s most cosmopolitan district with its gay ways and melting pot of humanity.
  • Tropicana (1967) – a Latin-American Revue Extravaganza – Prologue: Tropicana. Robert McPhee, Miss Lido, and the fabulous lido Girls invite you to take an excursion to Chile and enjoy the haunting South American rhythms and joie de vivre; Scene I: Girl from Ipanema. What a senorita? From the pampas to rio De Janiero those Latin lovers are all aflutter. Her vibrant personality and exotic charms are highlighted in a gay extravaganza featuring: Zaid Afiff, Robert McPhee, Miss Lido, John Litchen, Noel Hanlen, with the fabulous lido Girls and the controversial Lido Goddesses; Scene II: The Two Leslies. Adagio Dance Sensationalists. Driect from the Tropicana, Las Vegas; Scene III: Havana. A visit to Cuba where pre-Castro echoes of highlife and gaiety are recaptured by Miss Lido, Robert McPhee, Zaid Affiff, John Litchen, Antonio Rodriques, Noel Hanlen, with the fabulous Lido Girls, and Goddesses; Scene IV: The Flattops. Australia’s International Star Pantomimics. From Mikado Theatre Restaurant, Tokyo, Tropicana, Las Vegas, and Mandarin Hotel, Hong Kong; Scene V: Mardi Gras. A thrilling South American carnival featuring the entire company in a representation of this typical Latin-American traditional celebration. A time for friendship: a time for love: a time to get together and really enjoy the pleasures of life and amour.
  • Tropicana (1967) presented by Harry Wren at the Celebrity Theatre Restaurant (formerly the Majestic Theatre), Adelaide – devised and directed by David H. McIlwraith – Gala opening – Friday, November 24, 1967, by the Hon. The Premier, D.A. Dunstan, Q.C., M.P. – Prologue: Tropicana. Ron Lees, Miss Lido (Narelle Johnson) and the fabulous Lido Girls invite you to take an excursion to Chile and enjoy the haunting South American rhythms and joie de vivre. Scene I: Girl from Ipanema. What a senorita? From the pampas to Rio De Janiero those Latin lovers are all aflutter. Her vibrant personality and exotic charms are highlighted in a gay extravaganza featuring: Antonio Rodrigues, Ron Lees, Miss Lido and the fabulous Lido Girls. Scene II: Joe Martin. Australia’s sophisticated humorist from Chequers night club, Sydney, introduces – Scene III: Ken Littlewood and Toshi, international illusionists from Latin Quarter, Tokyo. Scene IV: Havana 1800. A visit to Cuba where pre-Castro echoes of high-life and gaiety are recaptured by Miss Lido, Ron Lees, Antonio Rodrigues, with the fabulous Lido Girls. Scene V: The Flattops. Australia’s international pantomimics returning to Australia are American and Far east show biz success. Scene VI: The fabulous Lido Girls present a glamorous introduction to June Bronhill, Australia’s international operatic and musical comedy star.
  • Soir de Paris (1967) – Revue de-luxe concue et realise par David H. McIlwraith – Choreographie de Felicia Hallmark – Costumes et decors de Angus Winneke. Programme – I (a) C’est Paris! (This is Paris) (Les images de Paris) avec Les Chanteurs du Lido, Wayne Godfrey, Garcons du Lido. (b) Champs-Elysees. Mademoiselle Mirielle Rubin avec Les Lido Girls et Les Mannequins du Lido. II Nino Frediani, international juggling virtuoso, from Crazy Horse, Paris. III. Paris 1800 Une Soiree chez Maxims (An Evening at Maxims) presentant Madamoiselle Mirielle Rubin, Wayne Godfrey, Les Chanteurs du Lido, Les Lido Girls, Les Mannequins du Lido. IV. Wallace Brothers. Stars of Ed. Sullivan TV Show, U.S. entertainers deluxe. V Final (Finale) Folies Bergere. le Grand Escalier avec toute la compagnie.
  • Say it with Music (1968) – A revue with an accent on melody – Say it with Music – A new Lido extravaganza. Programme. Scene I: Rhapsody in Rhythm (a) A colouful spectacle of melody and movement in a rhythmical mood depicted by Denise Drysdale, Wim Jonker, Quentin Irving and the fabulous Lido Girls. (b) Violins in the Night. Our Lido ballerina Robyn Himing, with Wayne Godfrey, premier danseur, with the Lido Girls and Goddesses. Scene II. Arlene Bailey, international chanteuse, from Thunderbird Hotel, Las Vegas. Scene III. Way Out West. Down where the sage brush grows, and men are men, and women are women, and a man’s best friend is his gun, and those honky tonk girls are so voluptuous, featuring Denise Drysdale, Wim Jonker, Quentin Irving and the fabulous Lido Girls and Goddesses. Scene IV. Des Lane. The Penny Whistle Man. From Dorchester, Savoy Hoetls, London. Scene V. Le Jazz Hot. The fabulous Lido Girls and the entire company are caught in a rapture of melody in the jazz idiom and the tempo builds to a thrilling finale.
  • Gay’s the Word (1969) – Yvonne Barrett, Frances Faye, Ron Less and Antonio Rodriguez
  • Jesse Davis (1969) – Fantasy revue, a new adventure in light and colour


  • Theatre program collections at the Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre, Melbourne and the Special Collections, Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide.
  • Geoffrey Hutton, ‘Lavish Lido revue’, The Age, 2 February 1967, p.6.
  • ‘Old hand behind the glamour’, The Age, 16 October 1965, p.6.
  • ‘Day in the Life of a Ballet Girl’, Cinesound Review no. 0749, 8 March 1946, NFSA title no. 236836
  • ‘Champagne Flowed like water at party bare-tops too daring? Show regulars cancel bookings’, Melbourne Truth, 21 January 1967, p.23, in Tracey Lee papers, SLNSW; ‘Minister to see ‘topless’’, The Age, 24 January 1967, p.1; ‘Police stage critics’, The Age, 1 Feb 1967, p.3.
  • ‘Four Corners – Channel 2, Glittering Mile – Channel 9, 7 Days – Channel 7 [and] Telescope – Channel 10’. Four Corners episode, ‘Michael Charlton looks at Sydney night life’, was broadcast on 17 November 1962. Channel Nine’s The Glittering Mile dates from 1964 and the episode of 7 Days from 1966.
  • Michael Charlton looks at Sydney’s night life’, Four Corners, ABC Television, Sydney, transmitted 17 Nov 1962.7 Days: Sophisticated or Sick? (NFSA Title 221923).
  • ‘Is it Tom, Dick or Harriet’ [no publication details], c.1967, Tracey Lee papers, SLNSW, Box 5 scrapbook. See also Carlotta 1994 He Did It Her Way, Sydney, Ironback.

51 thoughts on “The Lido, Melbourne”

  1. re
    ‘November 24, 1967, by the Hon. The Premier, D.A. Dunstan, Q.C., M.P. – Prologue: Tropicana. Ron Lees, Miss Lido (Narelle Johnson) ‘ – I thought of beautiful Narelle this week as she was the partner of Bill Hunter for some years and they lived in Brighton, Vic. She was earlier married to trumpeter Russell Smith (I was at their Wayside Chapel wedding in 1969) and their son Oliver also became a trumpeter.

  2. Hello! My name is Ron Lees. I sang in David McIlwraith’s shows for 4 years. I starred in the last show as the lead with Velvet Revell. The first night I was her support & after the first night she became mine.
    I am still working and as a matter of interest I am performing in “Mario Lanza – The American Caruso” show at the West Gippsland Art Centre on October 30th this year.
    It was good to read all about this, bringing back many memories,
    kindest regards,
    Ron Lees

  3. Dear Ron – lovely to hear from you – and great to know that you’re still performing. I’m so glad that the post brought back some memories! I’ve been gathering some more information on the shows at the Lido. I hope to do an update soon. By the way, do you happen to know what David McIlwraith did after the Lido? He took Velvet Revell and some others to Singapore in August 1970. I wonder what he did after that? best wishes, Jonathan

  4. Hello Jonathan…my name is Linda Astore and was married to Ferdinand Nemeth when he owned the Lido after David McIlwraith. Both have sadly passed away…David,several years ago and my ex husband,last year. David remained a friend of mine and moved to Sydney where he had an affiliation with Hugh and Lenny Sadler and choreographed shows at South Sydney Junior Leagues Club, such as Annie get your gun and others. After I divorced, I lost touch with him and attended his funeral in the early 90’s. Stumbled on this site as I was looking to find some information on a variety show televised by Channel 9 at the Lido which from my now shakey memory, was in 1971 or close. Julie Rogers ( the wedding) was one of the performers and Barry Crocker and there was also a fashion parade by Biba’s House of Fashion, which I remember very well as she needed another model and I was nominated. They were great days and it seems like such a long time ago.
    Cheers, Linda

  5. Dear Linda – thank you so much for sharing your memories and connections with Ferdinand Nemeth, David McIlwraith and Lido. I was really interested to read about David McIlwraith’s connections with the Hugh and Lenny Sadler. Were the Sadlers also involved in the shows at South Sydney Juniors, or was that a separate conection? I checked Barry Crocker’s autobiography, but I couldn’t find mention of a show with Julie Rogers at the Lido, although he mentions her in the section on the Barry Crocker Show which he made with Channel 9 around 1966 and 1967. I’m still gathering information on the Lido – so I’ll let you know if I find out more!

  6. Dear Jonathan…the Sadler brothers were a seperate entity and organized shows and David was employed by them as a choreographer. I have just remembered that another friend of David’s also worked for the Sadler’s…Ronnie Balcombe who supplied props AND once upon a time, he and his lovely japanese wife were working for David as an adagio act at the Lido. Mayumi also remained a friend of mine. David used to occupy a suite at the Hampton Court Hotel in Kings Cross which was owned by us and he remained a family friend….he used to keep all the ex Lido costumes on the 8th floor and as I was managing the front desk he would every now and then call me up to the 8th floor to show me a costume and upon asking what he was up to he would always say “just airing the bibs and bobs” which would always make me laugh….he was a very nice man.

  7. dear jonathon I did my first professional show with tuppy at the tivoli I then workad at the princess theatre in musc man and robert and elizabeth I also worked for sheila criz at teh latin quarter and for david mcilwraith at south sydney juniors so glad i found thi sight cheers maureenleishman

  8. Dear Maureen – wonderful to hear about your career with Tuppy Downs, Sheila Cruz and David McIlwraith. I’m really interested in the connections with dancers moving between work in theatres and the clubs. I’m so glad you left a comment! cheers, Jonathan

  9. Dear Jonathan,
    was wondering if you had gathered any further information regarding the Lido….particularly the Channel 9 variety show that I had mentioned.
    Cheers, Linda Astore

  10. Dear Jonathan, I was dating the very first nude girl the Tivoli ever had, she was a 6 foot tall girl who had to stay motionless the whole time the show was on, I do not remember her name or what ever happened to her.From a very hazy memory, she lived near the end of the tram line in East Malvern, Victoria

  11. Hi my name is Wilhelmina van Hennik and I worked as a dancer at both Tropicana Show in Celebrity Theatre (still hold an IOU from Harry Wren, don’t think that will get honoured) as well as Soir de Paris at Lido in Melbourne (where I got talked into topless as well). Have fond memories of both shows spending heaps do time with June Bronhill and still have a friendship with Nino Frediani, working with David McIlwraith and Tuppy Downs (we gave her heaps as young girls) but we did what she asked. Went overseas not long after and ended up at the Moulin Rouge in Paris as first Australian girl and nick named “Skippy” as that was all they knew about Australia.

  12. Dear Whilhelmina van Hennik – it’s wonderful to read your story – thank you so much for sharing it here. Very interesting to read worked with both Harry Wren and David McIlwraith, and then made the move to Paris. I’d be interested to hear more about your impressions of Wren and McIlwraith as producers. How did they compare? best wishes, Jonathan

  13. Hi Jonathan, can’t compare these two producers had a great time in both shows and they were happy to hear suggestions or any input but at that stage I did not have a lot of experience, did receive a letter from David Mc when I arrived back to Australia if I wanted to do more work for him. Did do a show in Melbourne can’t remember the name, it was going to travel to other states but the logistics made it to expensive one truck was needed for an elephant which was huge and I sat on top and one of the male dancers sat on its head, we did a can can, Japanese number and had singers from the USA. After that I did a show for St George Leages Club myself as a headliner, French theme, and then went to Japan to join a troupe over there. Hope you get some more interesting artists giving you the information you are after. There’s no business like show business! I was very lucky, all the best Jonathan.

  14. Worked with willie van hennik at the latin quarter 1967 and would love to get in touch if possible. many thanks. Mick leyton

  15. Hi I remember The Lido from around 1968 when I was dating Antonio Rodrigues, whom I later married. Antonio was Brazilian and danced and played the congo drums. I often watched the shows there and in particular loved seeing Eartha Kitt.
    Great memories from half a lifetime ago.

  16. Dear Margaret – thanks for sharing your memories of the Lido and Antonio Rodrigues. I’m really pleased you got in touch. I’ve seen an ABC recording of him dancing with Yolanda at the Phillip Street Theatre in 1958. An amazing performer!

  17. Hi Jonathan, can I have Mick Leyton’s email address or give him mine, would live to re connect. Much appreciated

  18. Hi, I played guitar in the orchestra backing Eartha Kitt at the Lido Theater Melbourne (I think it was about 1959) The only other players names that I remember are Kevin Simmons (drums) and Reg Cantrell (piano) sorry I can’t remember the band leader’s name. During rehearsal, Eartha stopped the music, (the song was I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby), walked up to me and said, “Don, this is a lurve song, you and me are making lurve baby, put more into it”. Being quite young, I was completely flustered by it. She was an amazing performer.

  19. Dear Don – what a great memory, thanks for sharing it here. I guess Eartha knew how to get the sound that she wanted! I’d like to do more research on her appearances here. I know she visited Australia several times, and performed at the Lido in Melbourne in February 1969. I saw her perform much later, at the Hackney Empire, London, in 1992.

  20. Dear Wilhelmina – I’ll forward your email to Mick Leyton, and suggest that he get in touch. Hope you can connect. best wishes, Jonathan

  21. Dear Jonathan, Ertha did a show at the Gold Coast Jazz & Blues Festival 1991.(would not have thought that it fits the Jazz & Blues genre,) There is a you tube album of the concert, (the url is-
    The Melbourne concert was taped for television and was screened a few months later. I managed to record some of it on audio tape from the TV and later transferred it to digital. Unfortunately in those days I had no way of recording video from the TV. A few years later I asked the TV people, I think it was Chanel 9, and they said “they were unable to store tapes for long due to space problems”. I would have liked a copy of it for sure.
    Maybe someone has a copy?

  22. Does this site still exist I have photos from the tivoli would love to pst them thanks

  23. My name laurie middleton. Did the spotlights and back stage electrix. Met many wonderful people ,never forgotten. I’m 76 a twin. My brother Colin. Wym yonker in damm yankee’s. 57. Did the tivoli dome ,stop the world,many happy returns prinee 59 put the spot on gladys moncrief.june bronhill,capt jim gerald ,george wallace. Marlene dietrich. My fair lady 59 bunty turner robin baily.cherry blossom harry wren .what great memories

  24. Hello Laurie – you worked on a lot of shows! I’d be interested to know how working on the Harry Wren shows compared with working at the Tivoli. Thanks for sharing your memories. best wishes, Jonathan

  25. Just back from a visit to an op shop in Hampton where I purchased the programme for “Gay’s the Word” at the Lido starring Frances Faye. Great to now do some reading up on the Lido. I remember my mum and dad talking about The Lido many years ago.

  26. Hi Shelley – great that you’re interested in the Lido and Frances Faye. Actually, there’s a full-recording of Frances Faye’s 1968 show at the Lido in the National Film and Sound Archive. It’s called ‘Foodland Spectacular Starring Frances Faye’ (title number 22338). Search the collection at and you’ll find it. The NFSA will send items to ACMI in Melbourne on request. She’s an amazing performer and the recording gives a great sense of what the Lido was like. Well worth a look! Jonathan

  27. My name is Ian Howard – a Pom – known in Kings Cross, between 1971 and 1975, as Pedro. I worked with Judd Laine at the Barrel Burlesque Review after leaving The Staccatto and the Pink Panther.

    I remember him with great affection, he was a lovely man and a good friend.

  28. Hi Ian – thanks for sharing your memories. I’ve read that Judd Laine worked at the Pink Panther. It’s great to know about the venues. Did he workg as a choreographer at all three? best wishes, Jonathan

  29. Yes, he worked at the Panther and the Staccato with a lady named (or called) Sandy who, apocryphally, demonstrated a full splits movement to a dancer whilst in the late stages of pregnancy!

    At these two clubs, and at the Barrel, he worked as choreographer and he was involved with a gentleman named Robbie Mathews and myself in creating to music tapes used by the acts at the clubs and the shows at the Barrel.

    At the Barrel he also performed in the shows, in one sketch he appeared as the famous ballerina Dame Margo Fountain – complete with a huge Afro hairdo and Pancho Villa moustache; in another, Western, sketch he appeared as the hero’s Mexican side-kick Juan Velope (a pun on my Pommie pronunciation of “envelope”).

  30. Thanks, Ian. That’s great to learn that Judd Laine was performing, as well as working as a choreographer. Sounds like those sketches at the Barrel were hilarious!

  31. Hey Jonathan,

    I have been booking the acts at 170 Russell (formerly Billboard / The Lido Theatre etc) since 2014 and myself and the current owners are interested in putting a history of the venue together to be launched with a concert at the venue next year.

    The venue is now hosting over 100 national and international touring artists each year plus still has the long running club nights witg DJs each Thursday and Saturday nights. With 150,000 people now attending the venue each year we would love to uncover some of the rich history of the venue since opening in 1964 and present it.

    This project is just beginning and just wanted to reach out to see if yourself and any contributors here could point us in the right direction for any information, show listings, photo’s or video that we could use for this project.


  32. Hi Ben – good to hear about your plans for a history of 170 Russell. I’ll be happy to share what else I’ve found on the Lido. Give me a few days and I’ll be in touch. best wishes, Jonathan

  33. Hey Jonathan,

    That would be great! The Lido years of the venue sound amazing and look forward to knowing more.


  34. Hi Jonathan,
    we caught up with the very classy Velvet Revell at the Lido around the end of the 60’s. Wondering on her background and how she is now. Do you have any info?
    Best regards,
    Ron & Rhonda.

  35. Dear Ben, I have a box of photos and some journals given to me by David MacIlwrath who had the Lido when it was in Russell street. I would very much like to be able to give this material to someone who is really interested in preserving it. I knew David at the end of his life.

    June Furner

  36. Hey Jane,

    We would love the opportunity to view / make copies of anything pertinent to the history of the Lido. We are slowly piecing together a history of the venue to present at a future exhibition to be held at the venue.

    As Jonathan suggested the Arts Centre or similar would be a great permanent home for Davids journals / photo’s where they could be properly preserved and documented for the future.

    If there is the possibly of viewing and getting some copies of the photo’s professionally made that could be used as part of the venue exhibition that would be amazing. Feel free to contact me on below email.


  37. Hi, in Johnny Broadway. I was in the opening show at the lido, having come from the paris lido. The show started the Bernard bros, and I still have the program.

  38. I worked as a secretary for Harry Wren in the late Fifties and early Sixties and was based in Sydney. I traveled on several of the shows mostly in New Zealand. I was a teenager and during that time HW gave me many career opportunities. I did everything from typing his letters, selling theatre programs, and negotiating contracts with overseas performers. During my time with him I worked on several shows (Thanks for the Memory, The Good Old Days, Yellzapoppin’, The Cherry Blossom Show, Ladies Night in a Turkish Bath, Joy of Spain, etc.) and with countless performers of the time. I have many fond memories of those days, and enjoyed these posts.
    Patricia Payne (Schiller)

  39. Dear Patricia, delighted to be in touch – so great to read about your memories of work with Harry Wren. Jonathan

  40. I’m just about positive that my mother Maxine McIntyre is the middle dancer in the photo of the girls sitting!

  41. Hi, does anyone have a photo of the Lido entrance showing the Lido light sign, Lido girl artwork and show info wording also front door and any interior pics of lobby and main theatre. Your help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks David

  42. Hi there I was in a Production of Annie Get Your Gun in 1969 at the Lido Theatre Restaurant , Russel St MELBOURNE with Gloria Dawn and Frank Wilson Etc..I was wondering if I could find some pic’s of the Production. I would be most Grateful. Sincere wishes CLayton Mitchell

  43. Hi Clayton, thanks for your comment. I don’t have photos of Annie Get Your Gun at the Lido. Perhaps try the State Library of Victoria for something in the newspapers? The opening date is 8 March 1969 according to AusStage, – I’ll be interested in anything you find! best wishes, Jonathan

  44. I’d like info on our school ballet teacher, Miss Downes.
    Her sister, Tuppy Downes, was better known.
    The period was mid nineteen fifties to mid sixties.

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