Cabaret Review: Velvet Rewired at the Sydney Opera House is Studio 54 on steroids

Wide shot of a dark room with spotlights shinning on a man suspended in mid-air by a rope.
Velvet Rewired. Photo: Daniel Boud

With a disco soundtrack that had more than one person dancing in the aisles, Velvet Rewired at the Sydney Opera House is an explosion of glitter, glam and classic 70s hits. Lead by the iconic Marcia Hines, the night is filled with aerial feats, acrobatics and vocal talents.

The show adopts a vaudeville – style set up, with various acts having their time to shine on stage. There appears to be a loose narrative of a conservative man thrust into this world of excess and hedonism, and his journey of self-discovery, but the story is tenuous at best and honestly – unnecessary. When you have Marcia Hines wearing incredible sequin jumpsuits and belting out hits like Ain’t Nobody, It’s Raining Men and Last Dance, any hope of a plot line fades into the background. Her performance is, in a word, flawless.

A group of performers assemble on stage for a final song.
Marcia Hines and the cast of Velvet Rewired. Photo: Daniel Boud.

Similar praise can be given to the other members of the ensemble cast, including the amazing back-up singers Sasha Lee Saunders and Jacinta Gulisano, aerialists Beau Sargent and Harley Timmermans and vocalist Tom Sharah. DJ and the productions Musical Director Joe Accaria sits high above the catwalk stage and is the musical glue which holds everyone together.

Over the course of the evening you are presented with more than one jaw-dropping moment, but perhaps none more so than the roller-skating acrobatics of Sven and Jan. There were several moments where I was genuinely concerned for their safety as Jan’s body was swung around and the incredible moves this pair achieve have to be seen to be believed.

A woman is swung around by her legs.
Sven and Jan. Photo Daniel Boud.

Another highlight is Craig Reid aka Hula Boy. It is mind blowing to witness what this performer can do with a hula hoop – or ten. Not to mention the hilarious costume changes and overall energy he exudes, making him a clear audience favourite.

A man twirls hula hoops around his arms.
Craig Reid. Photo: Daniel Boud.

If you do attend, I recommend positioning yourself near the end of the catwalk stage. While seats along each side of the catwalk may bring you slightly closer to the performers, it provides a restricted view. The majority of the acts direct their performances towards the front, not the sides, which is a little disappointing. For this reason, I was surprised that mezzanine seats situated behind the stage were even being used. Essentially, I don’t feel the room configuration works for the amount of people they are trying to cram into the space.

Side note: I wish there was a ‘no filming’ policy for shows like this at the Sydney Opera House. There is nothing more irritating than trying to enjoy a show only to have ten iPhones obstructing your view. I did not appreciate the woman next to me insisting on filming every single performance and encroaching on my space. It’s disrespectful to the people around you and to the artists themselves.

Two men are suspended by a rope above a crowd as they perform acrobatics in the air.
Beau Sargent and Harley Timmermans. Photo: Daniel Boud.

Despite this, Velvet Rewired is a colourful and entertaining fun night out. The performers hit the mark every time and will have you reaching for your sequins and bell-bottoms before the night is done.


Velvet Rewired runs until 12 February 2023 at the Sydney Opera House. For more information and to book tickets head to the website.

Reviewer attended on 22 December 2022.