If you spent your young days suffering from Saturday night fever, then this is a show to rock you in your seat. It’s 80 minutes of sheer disco and noise with flashing lights, mirror balls, glitter costumes, and screaming vocals. And with those vocals came amazing verve and energy from all the performers. But on top of that there was circus, with strength and balance, aerial gymnastics, hoops, hula hoop comedy and skill, and dancing girls from the disco age.
I must admit that disco is a long way removed from my type of music, but I was carried along in the swirl of excitement the show produced. The audience went even further with screams of encouragement, gasps of disbelief and a rousing standing ovation at the end when the nine super-fit performers took their bows. They followed this with a lot of dancing in the aisles. The songs were straight disco and included, Boogie Wonderland, Everybody dance, It’s Raining Men, Turn the Beat Around, Shake Your Groove and I Feel Love.
The show is loosely based on the New York night spot Club 54, where in its heyday anything went, and a vague story of a man, played by Brendan Maclean, trying to find his way in life. Leading the array of talent was legend Marcia Hines who belted out her numbers in solo, backed by the incredible Rechelle Mansour and Chaska Halliday, or as a duet with Brendan Maclean, who has a voice, dance ability, and energy to be reckoned with.
The lights flashed and the music blared as we took our seats, all managed from a box high on the stage managed by Joe Accaria, who is also the musical director for the show and has worked with many of the top Australian and overseas stars. In the ever-changing mood of the non-stop show we had breaks of beauty with former Queensland Ballet dancer Emma Goh performing her graceful aerial hoop act and a whimsical balance strip act from German circus star Mirko K?ckenberger. Then there was strength from Stephen Williams, who also had a lot of S and M fun with leather and chains with Brendan Maclean.
But most of the laughs came from Scotsman Craig Reid the chubby, smiling “Incredible Hula Boy” who kept the audience happy with his antic and skill with lots of hula hoops. He showed amazing dexterity. Through all this talent though the stand-outs for me were Rechelle Mansour and Chaska Halliday, who hardly ever left the stage, and when they did it was for a costume change. Their dancing talent was superb and fast; their fitness unbelievable and the vocals they performed were top class.
I could have watched them all night – in fact I think I did – from my vantage seat directly in front of the runway.
Velvet is on at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane till 15 May 2016. Bookings are available via www.qpac.com.au or 136246.
For more of Eric Scott’s writings on theatre, check out Absolute Theatre
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television