Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published November 12th 2016
Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that a story
All actors know the pleasure of putting on a costume, some make-up and being someone else for a few hours - and even getting applauded for it.
But it's a pleasure that most people enjoy. "Oh dear, another party invitation and it's fancy dress this time" we say in a world-weary tone, at the same time ", we say in a world-weary tone, while rapidly thinking 'what can I wear?'
We've all been invited at one time or another to a 'Tarts and Vicars' party, or a 'Come as the letter 'J' party', or 'Your best character from fiction' party.
But even the best wardrobes have only a finite amount of space in them, so that means off to the Hire Shop for a bit of a browse.
Which brings me to Jan Oliver and her newly-opened costume hire shop in Ellenbrook called Masquerade. Jan came to costume in a fairly round-about sort of way. her daughter, Bryony, is a talented actress, performing in the local community theatre group and consequently coming home with the request 'Mum, I need a costume as the cat in Puss in Boots'.
Bryony and Jan oliver at Masquerade (Photograph by D Sutherland-Bruce)
And so on ... Jan found she liked it and got involved and when Memory Lane closed down she bought a goodly amount of their stock, added it to what she'd accumulated and opened Masquerade, a costume hire shop catering for a wide range of interests and tastes.
She has an excellent range of military uniforms, for example, that would be of interest for theatre groups, an excellent range of period costumes running from what Michael Green called 'Coarse Elizabethan Peasant' to some rather elegant Victorian and fringed flappers from the 20s.
As for simply fun parties Jan has a very wide range of Character costumes, movie costumes, mascots for events, pirates, zombies, trolls, fairies, French aristocrats and popular culture icons.
Swan Magazine's Style Editor, Kirsty Noakes, has been heard to mutter 'Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise!' and she is, of course, quite right.
Masquerade has all the extra bits you need - wigs, a fantastic array of hats, kepis, helmets, caps, sombreros, pith helmets, bonnets, berets, crowns, fillets, fascinators, tiaras, turbans, hoods, snoods and veils await your avid gaze.
She also has a range of impressive jewellery for hire and some spectacular actual masks from Commedia dell'arte to the one worn by Jim Carrey in The Mask that are mostly for sale.
Masquerade can order in crepé hair for you and will very shortly have a range of stage make-up, which is very good news since there are only two other places in Perth that carry theatrical slap neither in the northern suburbs.
The range is called Mehron and Jan will carry a basic range plus access to the entire range, which is huge - have a look on their website here.
So if you need a costume for any reason, slip into Masquerade and have a chat to Jan. If she hasn't got it in the shop, she'll check the off-site stock, order it in or have it made in your size for you.
The perfect accomplice in your endeavour to slip into another persona and hide for a few hours.
Masquerade's rates are reasonable (but variable depending on the costume, of course) and include dry cleaning, which she'll arrange on return so you know everything you get is fresh and clean.