Your Disco Needs You: Tom Oliver drapes himself in Velvet


Step back in time and into the discotheque this Fringe World when Velvet takes over the West Australian Spiegeltent. A dazzling homage to all things disco inspired by the likes of Studio 54, this critically acclaimed Australian-born show has wowed Fringe audiences across the globe with its amalgamation of spectacular acrobatics, mirrorball glitz, sexy sirens and the legendary chanteuse herself – Marcia Hines.

Accompanying Hines in this stellar cast will be hula boy Craig Reid, acrobat Mirko Kockenberger, aerialist Emma Goh, muscle man Stephen Williams, sass-mistresses Rechelle Mansour and Kaylah Attad and The Voice alum, team Kylie Minogue’s Tom Oliver.

Since appearing on The Voice under Minogue’s tutelage, Oliver has kicked off a whirlwind career starring in musicals across the globe, releasing his own music and working with the likes of Eddie Perfect, Rachael Beck, Andrew O’Keefe and Naomi Price.

OUTinPerth got Tom Oliver on the phone to talk working with Marcia Hines and preparing to freak out Perth audiences in Velvet.

How has it been working on the show?

It’s so much fun! I’m a new cast member to the show so I’m just loving it. It toured all over the world for about a year before I jumped on board and I’ve kind of been on both sides of the fence. I was an audience member in Melbourne when I was working on a show with my partner there and one of our mates said, “I have just seen the best show ever!”. Of course we thought he was exaggerating but we went along. At the end of the show we turned to each other and said “What the hell was that?!” – He wasn’t lying! It was just mind boggling to see a show that’s Cirque du Soleil meets disco meets Marcia Hines.

Were you already a big fan of all things disco?

I think secretly deep down everyone is a fan of disco, it’s just a matter of whether they know it or not. I didn’t religiously listen to disco but it’s always been in the back of my head since my folks always used to play it around the house. I never really listened before but now I’m just loving it. It’s got to be my favourite genre now. I would love to just jump in a time machine and check it out at its peak in places like Studio 54 which the show was inspired by.

How did you get your disco knowledge up to scratch being new to the genre?

Listening to Marcia talk about the glory days of disco and sing the era she’s known the most for has helped me a lot but I’ve been watching documentaries online and all sorts to get into it. Craig, our director, has been at the helm of the show since it started and his musical director Joey (who is the live DJ in the show) have shown me their collections so I’m really pumped and on board now. Don’t you worry!

How has it been working with Marcia? You still seem a little starstruck!

I was when I auditioned! I felt like I was auditioning for Australian Idol. Now that I know her, she’s honestly the most down-to-earth, fun loving and welcoming person that I’ve ever worked with. I’ve been in the same room working with celebrities many times before and I always try to keep my distance since I dont want to be that guy but she was the one who made the effort to come and get to know me and really welcome me to the cast so I’m having a total blast with her. To have a role model like that at age 24 as a performer is just so lucky.

Would you describe Velvet as a showcase or is there a narrative through it?

It depends what you’re looking for! On one level it’s about a boy who arrives in a nightclub which we call Velvet which is inspired by Studio 54 and he’s a bit lost with his white shirt, black tie and suitcase. He doesn’t really know much about himself and he doesn’t know what he wants out of life. He’s taken in by this fairy godmother figure (Hines) and meets all of these new, intriguing and exciting characters; the incredible hula boy Craig, acrobats from all over the world doing all of these amazing things and by the end of the show he sees a new side of life and… well, I won’t spoil it!

On another level, it’s just a great night out with glorious music and an incredible smorgasbord of artists from all corners of the globe doing their thing.

Catch Tom Oliver and Marcia Hines in Velvet at Fringe World from Friday January 20th – Sunday February 19th (ex. Mondays). Tickets available from

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