Nostalgia...A thing of the past? 80s Mania hits Town.

80’s Mania Show
Theatre Severn
Saturday July 14th

There was an incredible buzz of excitement as the crowd of 30/40 and 50-somethings gathered at Theatre Severn for a trip backwards into the 1980s courtesy of The Reunion Group. What a splendid occasion it was for all as the live band pumped out hits by; Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Wham, Toni Basil, Boy George and so many others. The audience had, themselves, come to a reunion of strangers, they might not have known it but this was re-union in music. A blast back to different days, to days long gone by.

It was such a great spectacle to see as instantly and readily they reached the audience through music, dance and colour. It was easy to forget that this music came from a decade of The Falklands War, Thatcherism, Factory Closures, The Miners Strike and other such horrors that affected our days back then. One needs the gift of hindsight to contextualise the music and realise that it was about having fun. The chord riffs were simple, the lyrics, in some cases, as in Adam Ant, maybe, were just pure doggerel but the atmosphere was one of party.

It took just seconds for the auditorium to come alive with dancing and singing people lapping up this pure, brilliantly delivered, nostalgia.

So the question presents itself what is nostalgia? To many it’s a double edged sword firstly being a reflection of a filtered past where all the pains and bad memories have been forgotten and one is young again. Secondly, however, and this more sorrowful, could nostalgia be born out of panic over the ever eternal ticking clock? If we can loose ourselves to a time thirty years ago we can forget that our true direction is controlled by a one speed gear box that gear ensuring we only ever move forward. The overall journey gets shortened daily so how nice to loose yourself somewhere further back down the path, even if it is only for two hours.

When one looks at sixties music it was intrinsically linked with what was happening in society, it was about change and revolution, it was about galvanising the listener into direct action into rebellion. By the time one reaches the Eighties it becomes clear that the music was an escape, a fantasy, a new romantic which made life in Britain slightly more bearable, slightly more risqué, slightly more alternative. The cannon in the eighties had been diverted to comedy to make our social comment and that rule seems to still apply to today thirty years on. 

So the stage was full of fun loving, talented, extremely photogenic versatile people. Keen readers of this critic will already know the stance taken on tribute bands and keen readers will also know that he, in the past, has accused tribute nights of being nothing more worthy than plagiarism.  There was none of that tonight. Whilst the cast dressed to look like the character it was not a, “Tonight Matthew I will be,” kind of night. It was, instead, a highly polished, extremely meticulously rehearsed event. Whilst I might not be over the moon that I was present during that grisly decade, I was certainly delighted that tonight Frankie told my little suede boots to rock to the sound of yesterday.

Critic Rating.
This is a four out of five star show.

Owen Lewis
 

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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Comments

80's were the best decade IMO for music and haven't been beaten since. It says something when a Stock, Aitkin & Waterman hit that I thought was throw away music at the time blows most chart topping hits of today.

Was a great night, my favourite decade too Roger but I still enjoy music since. Shrewsbury has been buzzing lately and I'd love to see more and more of this going on.

It was an amazing night, brilliant and polished performance by the group. I would definitely go again next time they're on.

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