Fringe Review: Kids Just Wanna Have Fun – Back to the 80’s Live Show
By Catherine Leo
Venue: Kevin Crease Studios, North Adelaide
“Kids Just Wanna Have Fun – Back to the 80’s Live Show” is an extremely fun and entertaining, high energy musical comedy experience for kids of all ages, up to about 10 years of age…but then it jumps to be perfect for the parents aged 30 and above! The fact that it is presented in the Channel 9 studio where I suspect so many of our childhood favourites were filmed, made it a fitting place to take a trip down memory lane.
Set in the present day when siblings Axel and Tiffany discover ‘The Dress Up Box’, a magical treasure chest in their attic. When chanted to, the lid lifts and three new characters (Roxy, MJ and MD Spanner) enter the scene, having tripped back from the 80’s full of tales of fashion, dance styles, movies and of course music.
The audience is instantly engaged with an invite to join in with the chant, and there’s plenty of in-jokes for the parents with quotes from Dirty Dancing and When Harry Met Sally, to name a few. The talented actors radiate joy and it’s simply infectious – I had a smile from ear to ear – and kept checking my 8 year old’s response to see if his lack of knowledge of the music was a hindrance … it wasn’t. He loved watching the dance moves, particularly the moon walking, and was amazed that items he’s seen in today’s world, like rubik’s cubes and dollar sign necklaces, had a history back when Mum was a girl.
The show is like a prolific history lesson, covering pop, rap and rock, as well as iconic dances like the Bus Stop, Madison and the moves to Blame it on the Boogie, and there is an open invitation to get up and dance in the space between the front row and the show. Some kids were up for the whole time and others got up and down at different times. I loved the warm welcome to get out of your seat if you wanted, and it made it a relaxed experience for the parents of toddlers who may find it tricky to stay in their seat.
While all performers were fantastic, MD Spanner was particularly hilarious and he was responsible for my show highlight – seeing a 6 foot plus man in neck-to-toe lycra and running shorts, simulating the famous Flashdance scene, bending back and then showered in water (in this case, blue streamers). It was just so funny! Of course the young kids wouldn’t know the movie yet, however the outfit and exaggerated dance moves alone were fabulous.
As my son said “I really liked MD Spanner, he was an amazing comedy maker. He is going to be so good when he grows up.”
I’m not actually a massive fan of popular 80’s music but the sentimentality is what gets me…and like it or not it’s engrained in the brain and so I belted along with Bon Jovi and Bonnie Tyler. I felt a real sense of pleasure watching my child take in what us 80’s kids take for granted. He got to see, and I got to share, my childhood to some extent.
So clearly I got more than just an hour of entertainment out of the show. I got the chance to chat about my childhood and the popular culture of the time too, and it turns out this was a common experience for others as well. A mother who was bringing her three girls back for a second viewing (since it debuted in January at Port Adelaide) said that her kids were inspired by the first show to go home and learn some of the dances off of You Tube. As an adult, she herself had sore cheeks from smiling all through the performance which she described as “polished” and “so much fun”.
Father of two, Matt said he “Had a ball. It took me back to the Billy Idol days when Billy wasn’t the only one with a mullet!”
The creators are also offering another show during the Fringe, timetabled just half an hour after this one finishes, called “Kids Just Wanna Boogie – Back to the 80’s Interactive Disco” and I highly recommend attending that too – check out the other Review here to read more.
Finally, just a short word about the wider venue that is ‘Live from The Chapel of Love and Kevin Crease Studios’ because I think it’s worth mentioning that even on a 40 degree day, this space was cool (misting tents….VERY cool!) and shady and had some creative catering options too. Kids could have an icey mug of orange juice for $3 and while the limited food (Latin style) may not appeal to all kids (mine included) there was a box of free apples, and for the grown ups to have a nice drink there were a range of options but Sangria was a highlight for me! The venue operators offer a revolving happy hour that is valid for one hour after YOUR show, so you don’t have to wait for a certain time of day to enjoy a cheaper drink. Great idea I thought!
So I encourage you to see the show with your kids (and some of your Generation X mates too) – have a laugh, have a dance or just remember the fun energy and colour of the era.
For more information and ticket bookings see FringeTix here.
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Play & Go Adelaide have been granted media access to the Adelaide Fringe 2015. All reviews are our own opinion from personal experience, unpaid and not influenced by the artist/s and/or promoter/s in any way.
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