The jukebox musical goes cabaret
This article is from 2015.
A soundtrack from the disco era – including a plaintive version of ‘Stayin' Alive’ and a hyper-sexual routine to Donna Summer's ‘I Feel Love’ – lends Velvet a relentless party atmosphere. While there is a narrative of sorts (naive boy is inducted into the fluid world of the 1970s disco scene), the show is more of a celebration of the era. Brendan Maclean plays the hero, who is seduced by Marcia Hine's singing, Perle Noir's stripping and Mirko Kockenberger's acrobatics. Thanks to strong performances across the cast, the party keeps going to the end.
The show is at its best when the music is illustrated by the performances. Emma Goh shows her aerial skills, suggesting the ecstatic highs of disco, while Kockenberger strips and reinvents himself from bell-boy to dude about town. Even the extended BDSM scene moves the plot along, and there is purpose to the titillation. A few scenes are less relevant, and don't add to the atmosphere as much, although they are fine in their own right, recalling the artists' roots in cabaret. A few numbers come out weaker than their original versions and, early in the show, a few lyrics are garbled.
It's a high-energy show, fun, comic and glamorous, with a skilled cast (even the Incredible Hula Boy goes disco), and an intriguing way to combine juke-box musical allure with cabaret glamour.
Famous Spiegel Tent, 0844 693 3008, until 30 Aug, 9pm, £22