Marcia Hines’ big new Brisbane show is a joyous disco circus


marcia hines is coming to brisbane for disco wynnum fringe festival
Image: Daniel Linnet

Break out the sequins and prepare to dance as Velvet Rewired, starring the divine Ms Marcia Hines AM, comes to Spiegeltent as part of the Wynnum Fringe Festival from November 16 to December 4, writes Andrew Blythe.

Disco never fails to make me smile. Its feel-good vibes have traversed the decades and are just as welcome in our current uncertain times. On a grey Brisbane day, I’m looking for inspiration. The magic formula is only a phone call away.

I mix disco with Marcia Hines, aka the Queen of Pop, and get bottled sunshine. She’s returning to performing in a new show Velvet Rewired. I’m curious: how does she feel about returning to the disco era?

History repeating

“Oh, look, I never left it, you know. And this show, Velvet Rewired, is a celebration. Of disco, circus acts, music, dancing, and costumes. Who doesn’t love all those things?

“I still love what the Bee Gees did. I love Donna Summer songs. Stephanie Mills songs. Everything that you remember, those are the songs that we live by.

“It was such a joyous time for us all, despite some terrible fashion, but you know, it’s been great!

“However, for any show there’s always ‘a list’ and I was asked ‘what did I think?’ You might say, ‘Oh, this song. This sounds great. I’ll sing it!’ And you sing it you’re like, ‘oh, no, no, no, it’s not me!’ So it’s about what song fits you best.

“If the song feels stale for me, I’ll leave it alone, and then I’ll come back and revisit it. You get to know a song. It’s still fascinating to me that you can sing a song and still find something different.”

marcia hines performs on stage in velvet rewired ahead of wynnum fringe festival
Image: Dan O’Brien

The dark before the light

Velvet Rewired is a revival of a show that Hines toured with a few years ago. Since then, the entertainment industry has been decimated by events completely outside of their control. What’s it like returning to a stage after such a prolonged hiatus?

“Oh, my gosh! What we’ve just endured, you know? I mean, it has been pretty foreign. Being kept away from people that you love and being denied travel and all those kinds of things. You choose your friends well, because they become your family.

“Not being able to go out to restaurants and all the things that we all took for granted. Well, it was just snatched away from us. But having said that, human beings are incredibly resilient.

“But, you know, then I wonder what would happen if it was all good news? Sometimes you just have to stop listening to or watching the news. I don’t mean putting your head in the sand and not acknowledging what’s going on. Don’t get me wrong!

“But, too much is too much. Not that I’m a hope junkie, but I think positivity is a very important thing to have in your life if you can.

“Everything has a beginning and an end. And, I knew when we weren’t working with all in the industry; we were all in the same boat together. And so I knew that eventually things would change.

“It might not be what it once was, but things would change. And so you know, you’ve got to keep the faith, no matter what happens.

“The darkest moment is just before the dawn and then there’s another day. It was difficult for us all not being able to work, you know, and some of us were far more fortunate than others.

“But I’m Marcia, you know? And what if, God forbid, that I could never sing again? I think I’d be okay.”

marcia hines performs on stage in velvet rewired ahead of wynnum fringe festival

Sharing the light

I also wonder whether recent events have altered her view of performing and her place in the world?

“You know, the new normal doesn’t seem that bad to me right now, because it means we’ve got freedom. That’s how I see it.”

“And when I work, I’m in the public eye. Anybody who walks up to me, I have time for them and talk to them because they’re coming to me from a love place. That memory they want to share with me–why wouldn’t I listen? I think it’s so much easier to be kinder than it is to be nasty.

“For example, I did a gig for Parliament House, their Midwinter Ball. It was just great to see those guys get their hair down a little bit. I think life as a politician could be terribly tense.

“I saw the Prime Minister, and I saw a lot of faces that I see on the news reels, talking about whatever they talk about. We greeted them, and they had a bit of a dance. It was great!”

performers on stage at disco cabaret stage show velvet rewired
Image: Supplied

Shining on stage

So what does a performance schedule with Marcia Hines look like?

“Each day starts with a bit of a warm up and a bit of a stretch. And then before you know it, you’re putting on the war paint. You’re backstage getting ready to do a show. It’s very exciting!

“My voice is my instrument. I can’t plug it in. It’s me. I try and stay fit. You can’t have late nights because you have to rest your voice and I realised that this is my gift and I try and take good care of it.

“When you’re in the show, there are nights where we all go out to dinner, but everybody’s very responsible, especially a lot of the physical acts because, you know, it’s about their bodies.

“Doing this show is sheer joy! We were all kept apart from one another for so long. And I think it’s just so great to be able to gather and watch or gather and listen to shows. I even love going to see shows because it’s escapism.

“You don’t think about anything else but what you’re looking at. It brings joy to each audience, but it also brings joy to performance as well because that’s what we do for a living. We perform!

“In Velvet Rewired, the formula works really well. Everybody’s on their feet at the very end and that’s what you want, you know? They’ve got a good memory to take away.”

Velvet Rewired opens at the Wynnum Fringe Festival on November 16. Tickets are on sale now at wynnumfringe.com/event/velvet-rewired/

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Andrew Blythe

Andrew Blythe is an writer and editor who has a Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing from the University of Queensland. In addition, he is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University within the School of Human Services and Social Work, assisting the school with both curriculum review and lived-experience research development. He enjoys communication in all its forms and has prepared and presented material via print—including as the former editor of Time and Place (the magazine of the Queensland Heritage Council) and consultant editor of QNews Magazine—as well as radio, television, and multimedia formats. He has written a memoir about his father’s experience of receiving a heart transplant, as well as documenting other peoples’ experiences of the Queensland health system.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

2 Comments

  1. Peter Turner
    25 October 2022
    Reply

    We all have a sound track to our young lives and Marcia Hines was very much a part of mine.
    Her music never dates and her personality always shines through whatever she does.

  2. Ann Strachan
    11 November 2022
    Reply

    I was lucky enough to see and meet Marcia Hines at Expo 1988 when a friend bought me in. I am now a partial quadriplegic living in shared accommodation. One of my carers has managed to get tickets for 1 of her shows. My very favorite song of hers I is A Love Story off

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