Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Saturday, 26 March 2016
Velvet, March 24, 2016 ****
CABARET/CIRCUS Created by Craig Ilott
by Organised Pandemonium, Melbourne Comedy Festival Merlyn
Theatre, Malthouse, until April 17, 2016 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars:**** Review also on Herald Sun Arts web page, Fri March 25, 2016. KH
Marcia Hines in Velvet
Marcia Hines singing 1970s Disco hits sounds good enough but the addition of
startling circus feats transforms Velvet from concert to cabaret spectacle.
directed by Craig Ilott with musical
direction by Joe Accaria, features a
series of musical, dance and circus acts threaded together by a slim narrative.
A geeky bloke (Brendan
Maclean) stumbles into a disco nightclub – loosely based on the hedonistic
Studio 54 in New York – where he is confronted by a seductive world of
glittering lamé, mirror balls and mildly transgressive behaviour.
commanding, elegant and voluptuous when she appears about 30 minutes into the
show singing Never Knew Love Like This Before when her warm, honeyed tones,
impeccable vocal control and bright timbre send the audience into paroxysms of
follows the crowd favourite, Craig Reid’s audacious, hilariously cheeky and camp hula hoop routine in which he wears tummy-hugging
pink and yellow lamé and whirls
hoops around his plump, sassy body to disco hit, Shake Your Groove Thing. He
looks like a human slinky!
reappears to deliver consummate versions of You, Enough Is Enough, It’s Raining
Men, Last Dance and other hits.
versatile voice complements Hines well in their duets and he engages the
audience with his passionate singing of If You Could Read My Mind, Thinking of
You and a poignant, solo version of Stayin’ Alive on ukulele.
Marcia Hines & Brendan Maclean in Velvet
Accaria’s disco mixing and drumming are highlights and the
singing chanteuses, Chaska Halliday and
Rechelle Mansour, are vivacious and
Köckenberger uses a cunningly new
context for a handstand act, depicting a bellboy balancing on suitcases while
he strips to disco hit, Le Freak.
Goh’s aerial acts are sensual,
graceful dances in the air while Stephen Williams, with his chiselled musculature,
defies gravity and human limitations on aerial straps.
narrative onto circus/cabaret shows is always a fraught business and, in the
production, the narrative, its related scene transitions and Maclean’s geeky
character with his awkward physicality and ham acting are weaknesses.
The S and M
club scene attempts to look raunchy but ends up a cheesy parody of bondage
while Maclean’s character emerges in feathers and lamé like an
escapee from Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Velvet is an exhilarating cabaret show that will titillate some and entertain