The award-winning Birmingham Youth Theatre perform two shows a year at the Old Rep Theatre Birmingham. Back to the 80’s is the first production of the season.

This “awesome musical” was written by Neil Gooding, original musical adaptation made by Scott Copeman, and later re-orchestrated and rearranged in 2003 by Brett Foster.

Set in the USA to a catalogue of pop songs from the era, this musical tells the story of the final school year of the graduating class of William Ocean High School, as they experience the joys and heartaches associated with the teenage years.

Director Adam Swift and musical director Chris Corcoran successfully recreate a high-quality version of this “cult” musical. The production’s band deliver the familiar songs of the era with energy and professionalism.

Choreographer Sam Depper created dance routines that fit the music of the 80s perfectly and the numbers were performed with enthusiasm and accuracy by the talented young cast.

We enjoyed the fact that each member of the cast were given an opportunity to showcase their individual talent to the audience. Each member of the chorus were given a solo section in a musical number, delivered note perfectly by everyone.

Youngest cast member Dylan-Jak O’Dwyer, has very good stage presence and confidence; we particularly enjoyed his cameo as Yoda.

Molly Ewins and Abbie Hudson gave strong performances as Laura and Debbie. They have good chemistry with each other and both have excellent voices each delivering their individual numbers pitch perfectly.

Zak Hayes was successful in his role as character Michael Feldman the most popular boy in the school. Zac has a great voice and we particularly enjoyed his delivery of the number Footloose.

Cameron Simpson gave a very good performance as Billy Arnold, Michael’s side kick; playing him with just the right amount of comedy.

Sam Cox gave a very strong performance as confused and troubled high school teacher Mr Cocker.

Harry Chamberlain played the character of the geek, Fergal McFerrin, perfectly. We really enjoyed his rendition of Video killed the radio star, one of our favourite numbers of the production.

Maddison Clarke gave a very strong performance as the girl next door Tiffany Houston. Maddison has a wonderful singing voice and acting ability, delivering her lines with conviction.

On the evening we went to see Back to the 80’s the role of Corey Palmer junior was played by Dylan Mulholland who gave an outstanding performance, creating a likeable, believable character. Dylan has great stage presence and a fantastic voice. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Dylan in his musical theatre career.

This was a fun, energetic, enjoyable production by a very talented young company who we wish every success for the future.

Back to the 80’s ran at the Old Rep Theatre Birmingham from the 7th – 9th June 2018. Birmingham Youth Theatre’s next production is the pantomime Snow White in December at the Old Rep.

Theatretastic 4/5:

Very good


We say: “Birmingham Youth Theatre deliver 80s nostalgia in this bright, vibrant, joyous production!”