Velvet Review: Welcome to Boogie Wonderland
In the first moments of Velvet, the audience are holding their breath as Berlin born and bred Mirko Köckenberger balances on a stack of suitcases and cylindrical tubes carrying out some incredible aerial work. For any future audience members: Make sure you take a deep breath at the beginning because the amazing circus and musical acts that follow will have you holding your breath all night!
Velvet doesn’t fit into one entertainment style. They have taken some of the most impressive components of burlesque and circus acts, mixed them with the essence of the disco era and added incredibly talented performers to transport the audience back to the days of Studio 54. What resulted is a fantastic show of comedy, death-defying acrobatics and musical highlights from disco diva Marcia Hines.
Marcia Hines shines in this production. The audience goes wild from the moment she steps out onto the stage to perform ‘Never Knew Love Like This Before’ and continues to deliver show stopping disco number after show stopping disco number. The highlight of the night comes when she takes over the stage to perform her biggest hit single ‘You’. Despite the song being released back in 1977, Marcia manages to find the song’s timeless appeal and performs it (dare I say) better than her original as she guides the naïve Brendan MacLean through this disco-infused world.
It is no easy task to perform alongside a musical legend such as Marcia Hines, but that is what Brendan MacLean, Rechelle Mansour and Chaska Halliday do every night. Each one gets their moment to shine throughout the night as they bring these disco standards into the modern era and show off their impressive musical talents – especially when Brendan MacLean performs a stripped back acoustic version of the Bee Gees’ hit ‘Stayin’ Alive’.
But this show isn’t purely a musical spectacle with some great musical arrangements and perfusion performances by musical director Joe Accaria. It also stuns the audience with some amazing circus and aerial performers.
Mirko Köckenberger, Stephen Williams, Emma Goh and Craig Reid each take it in turns to display their stunning acrobatic skills throughout the night. Craig Reid, aka ‘The Incredible Hula Boy’, certainly earns his title as he masters . . . not one . . . not two . . . but about twenty hula hoops around a constantly changing combination of body parts – even forming pictures and patterns with a series of LED covered spinning hoops at one point. Mirko’s infection smile and bedazzled sequin hoodie only draw more attention to his incredible acts of strength and balance which have the audience sitting in stunned silence. But it isn’t long before Stephen Williams and Emma Goh’s aerial work on a variety of ropes, straps and hoops captivate the audience as they spin and soar above their heads without harnesses.
After seeing Velvet, you wonder why all these performance styles haven’t been combined before. This combination of legendary musical performances and awe-inspiring circus acts only complement each other and create an unmissable night of entertainment.
Velvet is playing at The Coopers Malthouse until 17 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival before it must move to QPAC, Brisbane. For more information and to book your tickets, visit www.velvettheshow.com