Velvet, a dizzying blend of music, dance and acrobatics inspired by the hedonistic heyday of New York nightclub Studio 54, has enjoyed rave reviews and played to sell-out audiences in Sydney, Brisbane and Edinburgh over the past 10 months.
But it all began at last year’s Adelaide Fringe, where the show had its world premiere – and that’s where it will return to the Aurora Spiegeltent in the Garden of Unearthly Delights next month.
“Adelaide just welcomed us with open arms and Craig’s [director Craig Illott’s] vision came to life,” Hines tells InDaily.
“We didn’t know what to expect … you never know what to expect when you start a new show, but the way Velvet was received in Adelaide was something we will never forget.”
The show, which was named Pick of the Fringe in 2015, is built around a soundtrack that includes songs such as “Boogie Wonderland”, “Le Freak”, “It’s Raining Men” and “Turn the Beat Around”. It has a loose storyline that sees a young man, played by singer Brendan Maclean, guided on a journey of self-discovery by Hines.
The wild trip leads him to a glamorous contemporary nightclub full of seductive and flamboyant characters including “dreamy muscle man” Stephen Williams, hula-hoop performer Craig Reid, acrobat Mirko Köckenberger, aerialist Emma Goh, “sassy sirens” Chaska Halliday and Rechelle Mansour, and mix master Joe Accaria.
Asked if it is as much fun to perform in as it looks, Hines replies emphatically: “Hell, yeah!
“It really is – it’s a blast.
“Everyone in the company is really great … we all take good care of each other. We went to Edinburgh [Fringe] and we had a ball.”
She believes the show has been so successful because it offers audiences “a bit of escapism” and celebrates music that is the soundtrack to a lot of people’s lives – whether they remember listening to it themselves, have heard their parents play it, or know the songs from movies.
Hines – whose own music career spans more than 40 years and who was inducted into the Aria Hall of Fame in 2007 – says her disco memories remain fresh.
“It was such a large part of my life and anyone who grew up in that period would know what I’m saying; it was such a hopeful time.
“[I remember] hanging out with my girlfriends, the anticipation that the weekends used to hold and the fun that we would have; working out what we were going to wear and listening to the new songs on the playlist … and The Bee Gees and really tight pants!”
Hines, who says she finds it hard to think of a bad disco song, nominates Chic, A Taste of Honey, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Commodores and Gloria Estefan among her favourite disco artists – but then adds that there are too many others to mention.
So how does she explain the enduring appeal of a style of music which has enjoyed many revivals and continues to influence contemporary artists?
“It’s joyous, reflective, somewhat sexy,” she says.
“I don’t think it’s any deeper than that.”
Velvet will be at the Garden of Unearthly Delights from February 12 until March 13 during the Adelaide Fringe.