Stage West’s 80′s Solid Gold 2: A Musical Revue opened last night to a whopping, cheering, flashlight waving audience who were clearly thrilled to go back in time and experience some of the best music that came out of the decade of big hair, bigger personalities and kick started the music video revolution.
The show is the brainchild of Howard Pechet and Timothy French, who have compiled some of the best songs from the 80s and presented them in quirky revue format. Instead of straight-up impersonations, the team have added a comedic element that helps take the show to the next level and ensures that the audience gets tons of laughter along with their music. In addition they’ve wisely broken up each decade with witty banter that addresses some of the highs (and lows) of the 80s with a Canadian twist (it takes guts to segue from the Meech Lake Accord into Milli Villi’s lip syncing debacle).
This is feel good theatre done right – it’s not complicated or over thought and it isn’t trying to be anything other than exactly what it is – two hours of high energy, vocally charged, well choreographed eighties tunes. The ensemble is varied in their talents and matched well for the performers they need to tackle, and they segue beautifully from one song to another at rapid fire pace.
Some highlights included the creative take on Michael Jackson which found a way to use all the Ensemble members to showcase his varies songs, and featured a fantastic version of the now infamous “Thriller” dance. Chris Sams led a rendition of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” accompanied by hilarious choreography that appeared inspired by the Bobby McFerrin music video, and Katrina Reynolds exemplified Janet Jackson in the Act 2 show-stopper “Rhythm Nation”.
Andrew McGillivray returns after performing in 80s Solid Gold 1, and continues to demonstrate a unique ability to steal the stage whenever he was on it. He has an almost Gumby-like ability as he dances around the stage, and his channeling of INXS front man Michael Hutchence had the ladies in the audience squealing like fangirls.
On more than one occasion I caught an audience member dancing in their seat, waving their cellphone in the air or attempting to sing along – and you could see the ear to ear grins on everyone’s faces. A particular highlight for me was during “Mony, Mony” when you could hear some adventurous theatre-goers trying to get the high school refrain of days gone by going in between the verses (you know the one I’m talking about – the one with lyrics too inappropriate for BroadwayBabyTo!).
That’s the magic of live theatre - you never know what’s going to happen. The performers feed off the audience energy, and vice versa. There was no shortage of energy at Stage West on Friday night, and that made the show electric. So grab some friends, some legwarmers and some shoulder pads and leave your worries at the door – 80s Solid Gold 2 will be the fun escapist night out we could all use!
When and Where?
80s Solid Gold 2: A Musical Revue
Stage West Theatre Restaurants
On now until Feb 7th, 2016
For more information or to purchase tickets please visit: http://stagewestcalgary.com/80s-solid-gold-2-a-musical-revue/