Review by Matthew Hocter
Disco is so much more than a musical genre of a by gone era. For many, it symbolizes a moment in history where music and fashion truly collided and the embodiment of the idiom “throwing caution to the wind,” had never seemed truer or more accessible in the way that disco allowed. To this very day, disco has been the foundation for so many musical genres that followed, along with some of pop cultures most iconic moments.
In true Fringe fashion, the tried and tested formula for so many shows - drag, vocals and acrobatics, is again used in Velvet Rewired. The big difference here this time is the star power utilized by way of Australia’s original Queen of Pop, Marcia Hines. There are few artists that could better embody the true essence of just what disco is than Hines, something that director Craig Ilott uses to full effect.
The stage is bold and bright, lights surround the purpose built tent at The Moa in Gluttony, with the DJ and musical director, Joe Accaria presiding over the audience like some intergalactic musical deity playing well known disco hits. As the disco ball high above the stage spins, Accaria revels in warming up an audience hell bent on reliving the freedom and headiness that disco gave to the sights and sounds of the 70’s.
With an array of performers, beginning with the stunningly beautiful acrobatic and aerialist artistry of Beau Sargent and Harley Timmermans, both individually and together in one of the evenings final acts, the saying a “feast for the eyes” wouldn’t even begin describe the elegance and ability of these two artists.
Another standout moment of the evening, a confronting one at times too, belonged to German Rollerskating acrobats, Sven and Jan. Without going into detail as this truly needs to be seen (even though at times I had to turn my head away for fear of witnessing something that could end badly), their act is both a combination of breath-taking speed in a condensed purpose built roller skating rink and an act that could be best described as edge of your seat daredevilry. Unexpected and brilliant.
The night most definitely belonged to it’s musical stars, The Diva - Marcia Hines, Country Mike - Tom Sharah and two backing vocalists known as the Sirens, Jacinta Gulisano and Sasha Lee Saunders. Sharah’s vocals were put on blast when he covered Cerrone’s “Supernature,” which harked back to the headiness and eroticism of clubs like Studio 54. The lighting, costumes and acrobatics all leant into this heavily, the only thing missing was Warhol, Grace Jones and a surplus of white powdery substances.
After an hour long journey through some of disco’s greatest hits and a solo dance performance by Bronx native, Marc “Fallout” Royale, who showed that exuberance and high energy have no limitations, other than what you choose to deliver, Hines closed the show with one of her most associated hits, “You.” Not one person was seated in the packed out tent as Hines showed just why she has managed to thrive for over five decades as one of Australia’s most revered performers.
Marcia SHINES in this love letter to disco as does the entire cast of Velvet Rewired. In a sea of shows with the same formula, all with varying degrees of professionalism and talent, Velvet Rewired is really the only one you must see this fringe.