Wynnum Fringe Garden – George Clayton Park, Raine & Horne Wynnum Spiegeltent
November 16 – December 4
There was much conversation from audience members while in line for entry to the 8pm opening night show of “Velvet Rewired”. It was coming, largely, from those who had just seen the 6pm performance, raving to us about how wonderful it was. They needed to be spruiking, however, to those yet to purchase tickets, because this is fabulous entertainment that everyone should experience before it heads south for a season at the Sydney Opera House. The new, reinvented “Velvet Rewired” is the showcase event of the Wynnum Fringe Festival, now is its third year. Its home of the Raine & Horne Wynnum Spiegeltent within the Wynnum Fringe Garden of George Clayton Park on the shores of Moreton Bay, allows audience members to get up-close and personal with its performers, including commanding headliner The Diva, Marcia Hines.
As Hines makes her way out into the audience at one point, it is clear that love for the iconic national treasure is still strong. The Australian Queen of Pop’s voice is as powerful as ever, but still richly warm, and is smoothly complemented in duet with Tom Sharah as Country Mike in ‘You to Me Are Everything’. It is, however, her 1977 hit ‘You’ that really pinnacles the show. And, joined, as she is by a cast of internationally acclaimed circus performers and dancers, the highlights are plenty in this fusion of flawless glamour, glitz and jaw-dropping feats. Multi-skilled circus artist Beau Sargent stuns with aerialist work high about the stage. Indeed, as he hangs from an aerial hoop from just his neck, audible gasps replace the mouth agape awe of onlookers. Harley Timmerman’s too, provides a memorable aerial accompaniment to a multi-faceted ‘It’s Raining Men’ number’.
As with so many numbers, there is so much going on with James Browne’s set and costume design and Amy Campbell’s choreography, that our eyes are spoiled for choice upon where to settle. When ‘greatest dancer’ Craig Reid, aka The Incredible Hula boy storms the stage, our attention is commanded to the one spot. The multiple Guinness World Record holder, is clearly the King of the Rings as he simultaneously hulas hoops on multiple limbs and even while ascending into the air. The Skating Willers, Pierre and Stef too, have difficulty keeping their
feet wheels on the ground with a daring number, especially for those seated in its front row danger zone.
As with previous “Velvet” undertakings, while seats close its thrust stage allow for intimate appreciation of the precision, strength and balance of circus performers, those located further back in the venue are rewarded with appreciation of the full spectacle of the show’s dynamism. Inspired by Studio 54, “Velvet Rewired” is full of exciting colour and moment in celebration of freedom, with Matthew Marshall’s vibrant disco lighting design adding to the excitement in its precise execution.
Under The DJ’s (music director Joe Accaria) watchful eye, Siren dancers Sasha Lee Saunders and Jacinta Giliano ensure that energy never wanes as the setlist takes us through over 15 of-era classics, including ‘Disco Inferno’ and ‘Boogie Wonderland’, though not always as we might remember them. In balance to the exuberant sparkle, there are even some more avant-garde moments and more subdued numbers as classic disco era songs are considered anew.
Like its previous incantations “Velvet Rewired” is a fusion of discotheque, nightclub, burlesque and carnival. The Australian-made global smash hit cabaret presents the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas along with the death-defying world of Cirque du Soleil, which results in sheer entertainment of the most exhilarating sort. So break out the sequins and get yourself down to see it at the Wynnum Fringe Speigeltent as soon as possible so you can then be the one urging others along to its disco delights.