Smart, slick, and a little bit cheeky, Velvet – A Divine Discotheque Circus, is a high – concept tribute to the pumping musical sound and spectacle that defined the ‘me generation’. A deliciously sexy throwback, fusing camp classics such as ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘Xanadu’, as well as Cirque Du Soleil’s powerhouse franchise, there is a little bit of something for everyone.
Is it any wonder that four decades ago in New York City, Studio 54 was the hottest place in town? Both immersing and enchanting its awe – struck audience, Velvet’s visionary creative team takes viewers back and details exactly why.
Daring feats of strength, aerial ballets, glowing hula hoop tricks, and adagio gymnastics, are all underscored by fifteen of the best known disco tracks from yesteryear. Some of these hits include ‘Boogie Wonderland’, ‘Everybody Dance’, ‘Le Freak’, ‘If You Could Read My Mind’, ‘It’s Raining Men’, ‘Last Dance’ and ‘Turn The Beat Around’.
Animated lighting grids, glamorous red carpet – ready outfits, swirling mirror balls, a fully – loaded DJ booth, and outstanding vocals complete this very exciting experience. It is easy to understand during its extensive Australian and New Zealand tour, why this elaborate roadshow production has consistently earned five star raves at every stop.
Told entirely through song and dance, Velvet’s linear narrative is simple, yet genuinely touching at the same time.
A young man’s rite of passage and search for his sense of place in the world, is helped by a fabulous diva and her merry entourage. At times, the journey feels rather like a close cousin to Bob Fosse’s and Stephen Schwartz’s iconic musical, Pippin. Furthermore, the compact yet non – stop running time provides enough sensory variation, that Velvet never once outstays its eighty – minute duration.
Velvet also brings the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas to Melbourne for this strictly – limited return engagement. The Palms at Crown Casino could not be a more perfect choice of venue, making smart use of the auditorium’s atmospheric club lounge layout. Structural elements such as positioning the DJ’s stand above the set, and a catwalk jutting from centre – stage, draws both the performers and the viewers together as one.
The attractive, nine – strong cast features:
· DJ extraordinaire, Joe Accaria;
· Emma Goh and her aerial hoop ballet;
· Mirko Kockenberger and his strength – based gymnastics;
· Craig Reid’s hilarious hula hoop routine;
· Stephen Williams’ daring, aerial swing; and
· Kaylah Attard’s and Rechelle Mansour’s sumptuous backing vocals.
Tom Oliver plays the young man with innocent charm.
A contestant from the 2014 edition of The Voice, Oliver’s gritty singing style gives the seventies’ tunes a flavorsome, and somewhat contemporary edge. (At times, he reminded this reviewer of Bryan Adams.) In one of the show’s quieter moments, Oliver also presented an unplugged version of ‘Staying Alive’. Backing himself on the ukulele, his rendition was both tender and reflective.
Finally, as the diva in question, is the legendary Queen of Australian Pop herself, Marcia Hines. Dressed to thrill in a serious of stunning gowns, Ms Hines is the real deal. Much to the delight of the audience, her trademark chart – topper, ‘Without You’ sounded as fresh as ever.
Under Craig Ilott’s direction, the production team included Lucas Newland’s complex and dynamic choreography, James Browne’s lavish and era appropriate set & costumes, and Mathew Marshall’s dazzling lighting.
The support crew included Melanie Nicholls (Wardrobe & Assistant Stage Manager), Keri Took (Production & Technical Manager), and Ellen Kavanagh (Associate Producer).
Velvet lives up to its billing as a ‘Divine Discotheque Circus’. This is seamless event entertainment of the highest order. By the end of the show, I guarantee the cast will have you up and out of your seats, dancing along to their distinctive beat.
Don’t miss it!