Velour is a cheap, cheesy, hilarious hoot. Presented by Schedule C Productions from Anderson, Ind., this two-hander follows the rise of a terrible entertainer who turns out to be terribly entertaining.
Kevin Holladay plays Vinnie Velour, a Jersey-accented showbiz wannabe who has spent his adult career as a “driver to the stars.” When one of his idols, Mel Torme, tells him to follow his dream of becoming a lounge singer, Vinnie decides to go for it. While rehearsing at home — which really means placing his head behind a small puppet stage and turning on a rotating disco light ball — he is discovered by Lux Lamé (Jesska Pinyon), the talent director for a large hotel. She hires him on the spot for a gig that night.
Of course, Vinnie loses both his nerve and his voice once he gets his first big shot, and he runs from the theater. When Lux calls to get him back onstage, he pretends to be his own manager, Todd Gordon of the Todd Gordon Agency. This sets up a series of circus-style acts that the audience chooses from a menu. Some, like plate spinning, Holladay can actually (and amazingly) perform; some he fobs, like tightrope walking. Vinnie sings during each stunt, and the final round had me in stitches while he crooned a Vegas-inflected version of Bryan Adams’ Cuts Like a Knife while pretending to saw into his own arm.
Velour relies on a wide range of pop culture references for its humor, and it is interesting to see who in the audience remembers and connects. Not everyone is going to respond equally to a lounge rendition of a Rihanna song and a parody of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Holladay has this character down, and he revels in his easy sleaze and naiveté. It’s a fun performance, one worth adding to your list for the 2016 Fringe. Pinyon has her moments, but for the most part, her character is meant to be a little wooden, the foil to Vinnie’s antics and one-liners.
All in all, it’s fun stuff, and if Holladay were to ever take this shtick to Vegas, he’d hit the big time.