Adelaide Fringe: Velvet

Marcia Hines & Brendan Maclean in Velvet. Photo by Sam Oster
Marcia Hines & Brendan Maclean in Velvet. Photo by Sam Oster

“Welcome to Wonderland,” The Fringe guide says and it’s not wrong; Velvet is a wonderful wonderland. We enter an extravagant, slightly seedy disco and let our inhibitions fall away. We are back in the seventies! (And I didn’t ever want to leave).

‘Freak Out’ begins the show; and from the moment a Disco hunk set things rolling in his red soldier suit (which came off pretty quickly) we were fully there.

And of course Velvet has a big Australian star in it – Marcia Hines. Queen of Pop in the seventies, she brings that Marcia magic totally to life as she delivers a great range of songs, alone and with the team, including: ‘If You Could Read My Mind’, ‘Without You’ and ‘Last Chance For Love’. In her gold frock and with her generous smile, she captivated each time she took to centre stage.

Rising star, singer/songwriter, Brendan Maclean shared the space with our Diva, and very well too, with great solos and duets; his lone ‘Staying Alive’ with only ukulele, both haunting and mesmerising.

Velvet has lots of hot songs, sexy bodies galore, loads of undressing and dazzling costumes and dines out gorgeously on eroticism. New Orleans Burlesque Queen, Perle Noir, is old school stunning and the brilliant acrobatic/aerialist team blow us away continually. It’s cool, raunchy, sassy and very well directed by Craig llott. It’s loads of fun and so damn Disco! (And we were all itching to get up and dance).

The Donna Summer hit ‘I Feel Love’, with the entire cast, was delivered with a highly choreographed acrobatic saucy S&M element and ‘It’s Raining Men’ was nothing short of a high-camp blast.

There is so much top class physical acrobatic work in this show it’s mesmerising; The physical performers as much stage stars as the singers. An incredible segment sees one of the guys up on stacked cases, supporting his whole body on one arm and undressing at the same time. Breathtaking trapeze work is brilliantly blended with very fine dance and music.

And how far can you take Hoop Acrobatics? (Not as far as the hoop king in this show did). With a naughty sissy-boy character and costumes, he just kept topping himself with what he could do with an armful (and leg full) of hoops, and heaps of style and wit to set it all spinning.

A very special mention must go to the two female back-up singers who many times leapt out and into their own numbers. Total movers, singers and shakers – they took us into a (Motown like) big production several times with utter class and talent. Don’t miss this show! It’s disco dynamite without a doubt. A blast from the past with current day openness, and charm a plenty.

Stephen House

Stephen is a writer with numerous plays, exhibitions and short films produced. He has been commissioned often and directs and performs his work. He has won two AWGIE Awards from The Australian Writers Guild and an Adelaide Fringe Award (as well as more), and has received several international literature residencies. Stephen has been Artistic Director of many events. He has been performing his acclaimed solo show, “Appalling Behaviour” nationally from 2010 – 2014 (100 shows to date). Stephen has 2 new works in development.

Stephen House

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