More of a party than a performance, globally acclaimed Velvet is currently showing at Auckland’s Q Theatre. Promoted as a “divine discotheque circus”, Velvet is part of the Auckland Live International Cabaret Season.
Directed by Craig Ilott, Velvet has received pretty stellar reviews since its conception in 2015. An international show with an award-winning cast, Velvet’s promotion sets some rather high expectations. The show starts strong, and audience members would be forgiven for thinking they were in a nightclub rather than a theatre. All flashing lights and smoke machines, Velvet instantly sets the scene.
Preshow entertainment comes in the form of Joe Accaria, who grooves and DJs above the main performers throughout the entire show. The performance proper starts with Mirko Köckenberger, handstand acrobat. An absolute joy to watch, Köckenberger delivers his unique performance with both amazing skill and genuine enthusiasm.
Velvet at first seems to follow a set formula – one acrobatic performance, then one singing performance. A wacky hula hoop sequence by Craig Reed is followed by a soulful ballad from diva Marcia Hines. Hines is backed by two supporting vocalists/dancers – Kaylah Attard and Rechelle Mansour – who prove to be a major highlight as they manage to constantly hold my attention with perfectly timed moves and vigour.
About halfway through the show, Velvet steers away from acrobatics and seems to focus exclusively on singing. This seems odd, especially since there are at least two acrobatic entertainers who barely feature on the stage. I found this rather confusing, especially because the circus element of the show had been heavily promoted. Based on trailers from international performances of the show, I’m relatively confident this Auckland edition is missing some of the aerial acts that I imagine lift Velvet to the next level.
Velvet is without a doubt an incredibly fun show. Audience members are encouraged to dance and sing throughout, and I definitely saw some people who literally didn’t sit down. So despite its missing moments, Velvet is a good time. At $65 to $85 a ticket it definitely serves as a great night out for the more bourgie among us.
Velvet shows at Q Theatre until this Sunday. Tickets are available here.