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  • Liane Morris

Marcia Hines Stars With Dazzling Array of Talent in Velvet Rewired

Dust off your platform heels, shine up those sparkly sequins and get ready to dance Newcastle because the disco sensation and smash hit that is Velvet Rewired is heading to town with a 5-day season at the Civic Theatre from 19 April – and it promises to be a sell-out!


Australia’s own original disco diva and Queen of Pop, Marcia Hines, heads up a stellar cast and crew of consummate performers and creatives as they return to touring Australia six years after the original Velvet was born into the sequins and the disco dust of the Adelaide Fringe in 2015.

This fresh, totally reinvented extension of the Velvet journey continues to chart the progress of a young man on his path of self-discovery. He returns to the club known as ‘Velvet’ and is again embraced by its inhabitants. Blind to colour, creed, class, gender, size and sexuality, Velvet Rewired continues the underlying theme of celebration, family and freedom. In an age of uncertainty and compromise, it’s a story of hope, resilience and bravery as the production rolls the dice on recovery, ticket sales and a future for Australian theatre.

Velvet Rewired fuses music, circus and burlesque, and this disco inferno results in an insatiably flawless theatrical experience with a dazzling array of acrobats, aerialists, amazing vocalists, glitz, glamour and jaw-dropping circus skills that are not to be missed.

The show was developed by Rix Management Live Experiences, which has been the management behind Marcia Hines for five decades. The Director, Craig Ilott, the Musical Director, Joe Accaria, Marcia Hines, and Guinness World Record breaker, hula hoop artist Craig Reid were all involved with the original Velvet production. Ilott brings his awardwinning, multi-genre directorial experience to lead an extraordinarily talented team in creating this feel-good disco phenomena.

“When you find people that you like to work with, you gravitate toward them,” said Hines.

“That’s what we did with Velvet. This show was my manager Peter Rix’s idea in the first place and was superbly directed by Craig. The Musical Director and the DJ in the show, Joe Accaria, has continued to work with me on other projects, including The Gospel According to Marcia. We’ll be touring that next year and releasing the album.

“It becomes like a family when you work a lot with a group of people – whether you like it or not! It includes all the idiosyncrasies you get with a family, but it’s a good thing – we all get along well, and it’s an artistic process, so it’s beautiful.”

Hines is understandably proud of the production and the message it attempts to deliver, which is to learn to be yourself.

“I think learning to be yourself should be the message behind every show. To thine own self be true, you know? In the case of Velvet Rewired, it’s about a boy who comes into an environment kind of lost and finds himself through song and dance. The show is a celebration of that, and it’s a great time for everyone – performers and audience. Ames Browne has done a fabulous job with the costumes – they are amazing, and this time round we have skaters – the incredible Skating Willers. They’re a little bit scary. Every night we hear the audience gasp and go ‘whoa!’ – which is a great thing!”

Indeed, in this production, the music takes equal billing beside the dancing, acrobatics and circus skills. Besides the extraordinary, heartattack-inducing skating sequence, there are two aerialists who leave the audience gasping. Beau Sargent originally trained with the Australian Ballet, and it shows.

His grace, sass and mesmerising skills are pure magic and very beautiful. Harley Timmermans is a graduate of the National Institute of Circus Arts and thrills with his charismatic and smouldering performance. The hoola-hoop artist Craig Reid is a firm audience favourite with a fun, cheeky personality and an undeniable world-class talent with hoops, gymnastics, comedy and dance.

Jacinta Gulisano and Sasha Lee Saunders star as the Sirens, singing and dancing almost non-stop throughout the whole performance. Simple backup singers, they are not, with moves and voices to hold the audience in their sway and to keep the disco jive pumping all the way. Amy Campbell’s choreography and the music provide the glue that holds the whole together, while Matt Marshall’s lighting design evokes the very essence of a 70’s disco/nightclub.

Joe Accaria’s DJ character and talent as a Musical Director are the very foundation of the production. This Helpmann award-winning and Aria-nominated musical talent has a veritable who’s who list of credits and collaborators. A very talented orchestral percussionist, Accaria ensures the rhythm of the music; his bongos and his electric drum solos reach into your soul as he spins the tunes from high above the stage. Don’t forget to look up – you won’t want to miss some of his costume changes.

The soundtrack to this production is excellent and will have everyone dancing in their seats, if not the aisles. Tom Sharah, who plays the protagonist of the show, is a critically acclaimed cabaret and musical theatre performer who holds his own on a stage that he shares with the unparalleled singing talent of Marcia Hines. Sharah brings a touch of musical theatre to the songs he sings, with an emotional range that acts as the perfect counterpart to the strength and energy of Hines.

The disco tracks of this show are right in Hines’ wheelhouse. With songs such as Ain’t Nobody, Don’t Leave Me This Way, Disco Inferno, No More Tears, You, Born to be Alive, Boogie Wonderland, If You Could Read My Mind and Turn the Beat Around, Hines is right at home after a career spanning five decades and 22 albums with 2.6 million copies sold. Inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2007, she also received the Order of Australia (AM) in 2009 for her services to the entertainment industry and continues to reinvent herself and her career with absolutely no signs that she is turning 70 years young this July.

“I don’t think disco ever went out of style,” said Hines. “Parents have driven their kids crazy with this music, they’ve often heard it in film soundtracks, and it’s still relevant, which is a very good thing. And when it comes to my age, I’ve just been blessed with great genes. There are no concessions for my age when it comes to workload and commitment. The young kids get tired, too, and that’s really nice to know!”

Hines is looking forward to the Newcastle season and sees it as a chance to catch up with girlfriends.

“I used to live at Whitebridge, just outside Newcastle city, and I miss the beaches. It was a very beautiful place to come home to and a lovely place to live. I still have several friends there that I talk to on the phone all the time. It will be nice to catch up.”

One thing is certain, Newcastle audiences are in for a treat. Velvet Rewired has always been a nightclub, a state of mind and a fantasy. It’s an exhilarating night of fun, funk and fabulous music. With only seven performances, if you want to join this party, you’ll need to get your tickets early.


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