By the early 80’s the cabaret had exhausted the vaudeville format, with many of the performers wanting to perform seasons of their own shows.
Cabaret Conspiracy opened its own venue, Palms on Oxford Street at Taylor Square, and toured shows to Melbourne and Adelaide at venues such as the Last Laugh, the Flying Trapeze and the Crystal Ballroom, whilst inviting shows that they liked to perform at their home venue in Sydney.
In the first three months of its life, Palms presented over thirty original new shows, including Sideshow in The End of the Road Show, Tim McKew in Come Down With Us, Mike Mullins in Kitsch or But Please Be Careful, the Doctor Whittle Show from Melbourne, Martin Raphael in The Women in My Life, and the wonderful feminist musical Failing in Love Again with Jan Cornall and Elizabeth Drake.
Many troupes followed Cabaret Conspiracy in what became a genuine cabaret revival. First and foremost of these was the Sideshow Theatre Company, formed by Michael Matou and Martin Raphael, which created the hit show Burlesco at Garibaldi’s and later at the Nimrod Theatre and interstate seasons.
Perhaps their most atmospheric show was Café Debris, staged in the abandoned Gladstone Hotel in William Street, Kings Cross, with a weird and wonderful assortment of characters.
Other groups arising from the scene included Kelso and Curtis, with their successful Dr Poo show on 2JJ, the Lobotomy Brothers with Michael Lake and George Smilovici, and the prophets of the absurd Funny Stories.