Opening with Wham’s 1984 hit song, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Coonabarabran High School’s biannual musical got off to a toe-tapping start when it played to packed houses during May, transporting the audience back to the days of big hair, fluoro lycra and leg warmers.
The production of “Back to the 80s”, led by director, Tegan Aitkin and musical director, Allan Scott- Rogers, told the story of the senior class of William Ocean High School in the 1980s, as seen in the memory of Corey Palmer.
The musical described the various relationships among the senior students, which were eventually resolved by the end of the show.
Characters included the nerdy-but-loveable underdog, the oblivious popular girl he’s in love with, the mean-spirited popular football player, and a raft of other characters who were both familiar and enjoyable.
The cast and production crew took the audience on a journey back in time to when Michael Jackson and Rick Astley were the Kings of Pop, when bubble skirts and blue eye shadow were cool, and when the Atari was cutting edge technology.
Played over two nights, along with a weekend matinee session, audiences enjoyed fantastic performances staged within excellent and creative set design, and accompanied by an accomplished and professional band, led by conductor, Di Suthons.
The musical showcased the ability and talent of the more than 40 students of Coonabarabran High School, whose skills as performers and musicians shone through the various songs and dramatic elements.
“Back to the 80s” succeeded by blending the catchy songs of the 1980s with the nostalgia of the audience.
Songs featured included Kim Wilde’s hit, Kids In America, Video Killed The Radio Star, Bon Jovi’s You Give Love A Bad Name, Nine To Five, by Dolly Parton, Madonna’s hit single, Material Girl, Walking On Sunshine, and Rick Astley’s world-wide number-one hit, Never Gonna Give You Up.
Director, Tegan Aitkin, said everyone involved was grateful for the support of the community which contributed so much to the success of the show and thanked students, staff and volunteers for their months of preparation in bringing the show to life.
“Back to the 80s explored the experiences that cross generations - our first love, first heartbreak, first humiliation and first victory,” Ms Aitkin said.
“What made this production a standout was the energy and enthusiasm of the whole cast.
“It was impossible to stop yourself toe-tapping to the likes of Footloose and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, or wanting to give your best cheerleading impersonation when Mickey blasted out of the box.”
Coonabarabran High’s annual musical transported audiences “Back to the 80s”, when fluoro clothing and permed hair reigned supreme. Photo: Maddie Shoobert.