The tales of Sydney’s most notorious criminals and gangs and its juiciest scandals will be in the spotlight at Cocktails and Crime Stories, a live storytelling series by historian Max Burns-McRuvie at Since I Left You (Sily), a hidden bar tucked off Kent Street in Sydney’s CBD.
Presented as a series of monthly live “episodes”, Burns-McRuvie will take to the stage and regale audiences with legendary murder and crime stories, uncovering the forgotten underworld of drunkenness and debauchery that plagued Sydney during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
With a drink in hand, discover the dope dealers and bottle men of “Razorhurst” (Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Woolloomooloo). Unearth forgotten sex scandals that ended in sensational murders. And revisit the sly grog and black-market spirits trade that once flourished here in Sydney.
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“From murder-mystery documentaries to podcasts, there is a true-crime obsession at the moment,” Burns-McRuvie tells Broadsheet. “Most of the time we listen to or watch these types of stories at home or in the car, but this event is designed to enjoy these stories live, with a few drinks and a laugh together. I’m trying to bring good old-fashioned storytelling back to life.”
The first even, Gin City, Sin City (already sold out), will dig up the dirt on the gin-related massacres that once shocked Sydney, with an array of alcohol-related atrocities – from fatal gin-bottle bashings to G&Ts spiked with cyanide. Episode two, Rum & Razor Gangs, will reimagine Sydney’s golden age of street gangs, cut-throats and chaos. Burns-McRuvie will slash his way through the city’s notorious razor-gang era of the ’20s and ’30s, a shadowy world of slums, stabbings and shoot-outs. Episode three takes on the unlikely combination of spritzes and serial killers. Each episode includes a themed cocktail, to really get into the spirit of things.
“This event series is really about ditching your phones and screens and enjoying live storytelling, which is such a huge part of human history. We want to engage with people and allow them to get lost in these Sydney-based stories,” says Burns-McRuvie.
Tickets are $30, which includes a cocktail on arrival. Tickets can be found here.