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Friday, November 21, 2014

80's Solid Gold @ Stage West Calgary

Stage West Calgary
"'80's Solid Gold"

Featuring Andrew Ball, Amber Bissonnette, Katie Beetham, A.J. Bridel, Jay Davis, Joel Gomez, Jennifer Kee, Jeremy LaPalme, Andrew McGillivray, Nikki Ponte, Brent Thiessen

Directed and choreographed by Timothy French

Courtesy Stage West Calgary

The Friday Morning "Somebody-Asked-Me-To, So-Here-I-Go" Theatre Review"

Stage West Calgary's 

"'80's Solid Gold"

What a decade the '80's were for music! While Country Crossover, AM radio pop hits, Disco and Classic Rock dominated the '70's, the decade that followed introduced us to brand-new styles that expanded those catalogues, and introduced us to New Wave, Punk, Funk, Heavy Metal and more in the process. 

Sure, some of those started to emerge a bit towards the end of the '70's, but as a mobile DJ in my second decade back then, it was amazing to see not only how much these new styles made dancing more fun to watch from behind the MC table (remember The Worm, or Rock Lobster?), but how long these artists would go on to remain popular for their fans. 

Stage West has taken on the unenviable task of trying to contain the multitude of hit makers of the day, and after the conclusion of '80's Solid Gold, I think if you're still a fan of that decade, you'll be pretty impressed with what they have included.

From icons like Billy Joel and Elton John, to Madonna and George Michael, most notables are in the program, and to hit high points they may have missed, there's a terrific "Crazy '80's Mash Up In 80 Seconds", that tries to fill in the blanks. The cast also lets the cat out of the bag regarding a sequel, as there really are that many pop artists and bands that deserve a revisit.

Courtesy Stage West Calgary

Great care has been taken to instill the styles and feel of this very visual era (it was the birth of the music video age, after all), and yet not go over the top with the costumes. There's also a prevailing sense of fun as the cast gets to relay that they are poking fun as much as they are paying tribute. On that, it is important to note that these revues aren't ever really tribute acts. Many of the hits get made over, while some are startlingly close to the original. 

You have to attend just to see when the cast will lose it over John Oates moustache, not the least likely perhaps Joel Gomez who portrays him. 

There's plenty of standouts, especially in the second half which really strengthens on the power so many of these cast members bring to the party.  However, I believe I will hold back just a bit for my official Calgary Herald review, which I will post a link to here when that has run and is also live online.

In the meantime, don't hesitate to check this revue out - there are some misses among the hits, but by the end there's plenty of highlights, an abundance of great fun and memories - plus you'll get some related history lessons between the songs.

4 out of 5 stars.

Also, check out my pre-show interview with co-creator, director and choreographer Timothy French to see him discuss how he chooses his casts - he's made great choices with this one.

Click here to watch that!



Mrs That Dan Guy said...

Good show. Standouts for sure. It was fun hearing the music that brings back so many memories!

ThatDanGuy said...

My era!

Well, one of many of my eras....