The Savage Club

The Savage Club started as a dance hall in the '30s, with a laundromat on one side, and a late-night takeaway restaurant on the other. Roy's Burger Bar stank of fat from the deep fryer, but that didn't stop the Ladies of the Night wandering over from the brothel across the street at three in the morning, their petticoats bearing stains of more dubious provenance than that of the meat in the burgers. The Savages were allowed to be as loud as they wanted almost any day of the week, so it was perfect as a venue - far enough from the centre of town that it felt like a secret; close enough that the residents nearby were used to the noise.

The only time the club wasn't open was the first Wednesday of each month. As a condition of the lease, the building owners would ensconce themselves within its cozy confines, their activities opaque to even the most seasoned regulars. At midnight, without fail, they would totter down the front steps, all jowls and tweed, and disappear again. The Savages, for their part, refused to be drawn on the matter.

When Arthur Savage died, in the sixties, the club died with him. A theatre company took the lease, but kept the name. The rest of the Savages kept in touch with the new tenants at first but most, eventually, drifted away - the new black walls made them feel like they were still in mourning.

The ones that stuck around, though, found that the more things change, the more they stay the same. They don't hire the place out for weddings any more - you can't perform a wedding in a black box, even if they're theatre majors - but they still keep the mops in the last stall of the womens' bathroom, the chandelier in the foyer is still bright green, and there's still a locked door backstage that doesn't lead anywhere marked "off limits".

And no shows on the first Wednesday of the month, of course, but that's a condition of the lease.