80's Ladies - Adelaide Fringe

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Posted 2023-03-03 by Jon Cocksfollow

Sat 04 Mar 2023 - Fri 17 Mar 2023

Eighties Ladies, a vibrant all-singing, all-dancing one-hour Fringe Premiere extravaganza from The Cast Entertainment, is unashamedly a fun show for lovers of Eighties Girl Power. Cannily targeting its prime audience, ladies who were at or just out of school in the eighties, it celebrates a time of lavish ballads, bold production numbers and female-empowerment anthems, and features some of the biggest hits from the most fabulous 80's ladies. Think Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Kylie…

Local writer-director-performer Chloe Castledine is the creative force behind the dancers and the ten-piece band with guitar, bass, drums string quartet, trumpet, sax and keys, an all-SA ensemble that enlivens corporate functions, public events and festivals in Adelaide and around Australia, Their high-voltage performances give new life to the catalogue of songs that defined many a young woman's emotional life, and that of not just a few young men as well. This show might not be what the Fringe was traditionally; namely, a vehicle in which an experimental dramatic troupe might explore new material in a non-conventional way.

Eighties Ladies is in fact the diametric opposite of that concept, a lavish, tightly choreographed reimagining of an era and art form of bygone days. But if established Melbourne comedians can come to Adelaide to our Fringe festival and fine tune new material for the Melbourne Comedy Festival, then why can't a group of beautiful, talented young women help us relive an era that for many is a set of fond four-decade-old recollections amid the blur of late teen and twenty-something partying?

As the sell-out crowd wedged into the tent and around the thrust stage, ten musicians waited motionless in the blue half-light: guitar, bass, drummer, string quartet, keys, trumpet and sax. In the following hour within the Tarntanyangga 'Pyramid' – a massive square tent with a pyramid on top - no ounce of energy was spared by performers and musicians, nor was anything skimped as a dozen scantily attired young dancers swarmed on and off stage in basic black dance gear adorned by ever-changing primary coloured costumes to reflect the eighties artist and song being covered.

It all began when one of them entered as a starry-eyed schoolgirl in tunic and sneakers, and mimed the words while the writer, director, singer and star of the show – Chloe Castledine – made her entrance. The hour rolled by as the band did not let up once and the majority of the songs segued into each other, like one massive medley of eighties pop nostalgia. Castledine has an engaging stage presence and impressive vocal range to match her offstage talents; she is the business head and the star performer to match some of the more enterprising showmen and women of the past.

Iconic hits flowed and the 90%-female audience erupted into singalong, aisle-dancing and untrammelled delight at being transported back to the era of the bouffant hairdo, silly makeup and impossible heels, hits like Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart, Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time, Madonna's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Irene Cara's Flashdance, Dolly Parton's 9 to 5, and Bananarama's reimagining of the 60s classic Venus, to name but a few.

This show was fun, fun, fun. Somehow Castledine and cast lifted even more for the finale, in which she channelled her inner Tina Turner, yellow spangly dress and all, and gave us Simply the Best, somehow leaving enough in the tank for an encore to all but blow the roof off the tent. Kids, gift your mum a ticket if you can. At $50, it is a bit more dear than most hour-long Fringe shows, but its bang-for-buck more than outweighs the discrepancy. *

!date 04/03/2023 -- 17/03/2023
207187 - 2023-06-16 05:56:58


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