The ‘80s are back! Think about it, Donald Trump is in the headlines again, and a Trudeau is Prime Minister. Add in Alberta’s slumping economy, as a result of low oil prices, and it’s almost like the 1980s never went away.
And what would the ‘80s be without all that great music from the ‘big hair, don’t care’ decade?
Written by Howard Pechet & Timothy French, ‘80s Solid Gold 2: A Musical Revue is a compilation of decade defining music. From the hard rock to pop ballads, and those guilty pleasures, the show is a mixtape for just about every ear.
On this musical journey presented by Stage West, the ensemble highlights important events from every year until 1989. Canadian sports trivia wins plenty hoots and hollers, while some trivia about Canadian politics – like Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program – elicits boos and jeers from the audience. The trip down memory lane is punctuated by humour that keeps the evening fun and light hearted.
In this show, colour is absolutely everywhere. In the background, large screens run eye-popping visuals that are reminiscent of early music videos. Bright, outrageous ‘80s fashion makes an appearance, geometric shapes and all.
The challenge for shows like this is, how do you keep a two-hour performance from going stale? French, the show’s director and choreographer, goes big and thinks outside the box. For the show’s Michael Jackson category, the ensemble takes turns playing the King of Pop, going from hit to hit, iconic dance move to iconic dance move, then settling into a unique arrangement of Michael Jackson’s songs. Then later, the men play out every ‘80s teenager’s dream of being a rockstar with songs like Van Halen’s Jump and Here I Go Again by Whitesnake. French’s choreography is a serious throwback to the ridiculous spectacle of ‘80s rock shows.
The cast engages enthusiastically with the songs and audience. The different impersonations of famous singers, like Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson, are almost nearly spot-on. Most importantly, though, the ensemble nails the diverse range of vocal styles showcased. The vocals are, unfortunately, hindered by the audio levels, which sound just a bit too sharp at times.
Overall, ‘80s Solid Gold 2 is a wildly entertaining night of everything 1980s. The audience has a blast singing and dancing, as much they can after a full meal, to the greatest hits of the ‘80s as compiled by co-creators Pechet & French. Audiences looking to recapture the spirit of the ‘80s will want to go see Stage West’s ‘80s Solid Gold 2: A Musical Revue.
Stage West’s ’80s Solid Gold 2: A Musical Revue runs Nov 13 – Feb 7, 2016.
For more information about the show, including how to purchase tickets, visit: http://stagewestcalgary.com/80s-solid-gold-2-a-musical-revue/