Penrith Panthers (Evan Theatre)
10th Oct - 10th Oct, 2004
Riverside Theatres (Riverside)
10th Sep - 10th Sep, 2004
Back To The 80's
Written By: Neil Gooding
Producer & Director: Neil Gooding
Assistant Director: Luke Joslin
Musical Director: Brett Foster
Choreographers: Katrina Mann & Cameron Mitchell
Assistant To Choreographers: James Maxfield
Set Designer: Simon Greer
Costume Designer: Felicity Deane
Lighting Designer - Richard Neville - RSNLX
Lighting Operator - Clint Dulieu
Sound Designer - David Betteridge & Daniel Thursby - Loud And Clear Audio
Publicity: Kate Facey - DiGS Entertainment
Make Up Co-Ordinator: Lyn Joslin
Props: Abby Martin & Emily Streat
Stage Manager: Melinda Burness
You are about to go on a journey...
A journey back to a time when Michael Jackson and Rick Astley were the Kings of Pop...
A journey back to a time when bubble skirts and blue eye shadow were cool...
A journey back to a time when the Atari was cutting edge technology...
That's right dudes...you are about to go on a journey...
From the era that brought the world The Rubik's Cube, Max Headroom and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes this "totally awesome" musical in the style of movies such as Back To The Future, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Karate Kid and The Wedding Singer.
Join the graduating class of William Ocean High School as they live through their final senior year - as they experience the fun, the heartbreak, the loves and the loneliness of growing up.... all set to the biggest hits of the 80's!!
BACK TO THE 80's - The Totally Awesome Musical! was written by Neil Gooding, featuring all of the smash hits of the 80's. It has now been performed in Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, South Arfrica, Sweden, Mexico and The Isle Of Man.
Produced by Neil Gooding Productions in Sydney in September / October 2005, the premiere production starred Australian soapie hearthrob Bruce Samazan and played at the Evan Theatre, Penrith Panthers and The Riverside Theatre, Parramatta. The show enjoyed enormous success and played in front of huge, enthusiastic audiences.
Troy Dodds - Broadway Australia Website - 23 September 2004
Let's get this out of the way first: Back To The 80's doesn't have an original score, nor does it provide a thought-provoking storyline. But that's the point. Finally we have a musical that doesn't try to be unique, or special. It just sets out to entertain its audience. After all, isn't that what theatre is all about?
The musical takes you back to 1987, when the Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles were in their prime and when the Atari and Commodore 64 computer systems were cutting edge technology.
The show combines a host of classic songs from the decade most wish time had forgotten, including Let's Hear It For The Boy, Footloose, Lost In Your Eyes, Material Girl and Video Killed The Radio Star. Hidden amongst the popular 80's songs is a storyline focusing around a group of students in their final year at Ocean View High School. It's the classic 'girl falls for wrong guy' clich', while the 'nice guy loses'. Of course, it all works out in the end. But the storyline is only there to make this a true book musical, as the show is completely shaped by the songs.
Neil Gooding Productions has found an incredibly competent cast for this production - not one performer lets the side down, although there are several standouts. In the lead role of Tiffany, Naomi Wallace is superb. The best way to describe her voice, looks and stage presence is to say she could easily fit into the role of Ariel in a professional production of Footloose; the comparison made easier by the way she continued to belt out 80's classics like her life depended on it. Wallace has plenty of potential and one gets the feeling it's a name that won't be too far away from the mainstream theatre scene in Australia. While her acting ability doesn't get a great work-out in this production, the glimpses she was able to show provided enough assurance that she has potential.
Luke Joslin is excellent as Feargal McFerrin III, the class geek and ultimate hero who 'gets the girl of his dreams' by the show's end. Joslin's few solo numbers are among the highlights of the show, while his acting ability is top notch.
Michael O'Neill is quite strong as Corey Palmer, while you couldn't talk about this show without mentioning Andrew Godbold who does a terrific job as teacher Stevie Cocker. In his first performance on the Sydney stage, he gets a big thumbs up.
Back to the 80's is not meant to be taken seriously. It's not out to prove anything, but it does provide a great night of entertainment and plenty of laughs.
Two thumbs up.
Corey Palmer Snr: Bruce Samazan
Corey Palmer Jnr: Michael O'Neill
Alf Bueller: Matt Ryan
Kirk Keaton: Rohan Maloy
Tiffany Houston: Naomi Wallace
Cyndi Gibson: Natalie Streat
Mel Easton: Melissa Boyd
Kim Easton: Emily Streat
Michael Feldman: Rob Hale
Billy Arnold: Scott Fields
Lionel Astley: Luke Wright
Huey Jackson: Michael Gupta
Feargal McFerrin III: Luke Joslin
Feargal McFerrin III (Cover): Patrick Lee
Eileen Reagan: Jenni Wren
Laura Wilde: Rachel Donovan
Debbie Fox: Katrina Mann
Miss Sheena Brannigan: Leah Thomas
Mr Stevie Cocker: Andrew Godbold
Featured Male Singer: Chris Griffiths
Featured Female Singer: Cassandra Joslin
Claire Anastopoulos, Kate Austin, Alanna Carey, Nicole Connor, Melissa Cooper, Felicity Deane, Emma-Louise Druett, Anita Friedman, Jonathan Goldthorpe, Amy Gough, Andrew-John Gulczynski, Brian Hodge, Kristy Hogan, Tanja Ilic, Amanda Jermyn, Grant Jones, Greg Kinkade, Renee Lim, Michelle Lulan, Tanya Maree, Abby Martin, Patrick McCarthy, Jessica Nowosad, Tiffany O'Connor, Michael Petrulis, Amanda Shaw, Aaron Starkey, Kathleen Williamson