If you wanted to know how it actually all went down behind the scenes of your favourite soap opera, then this show might not be what you are looking for. But if, like me, you are nostalgic for the times where only Brenda and Dylan from 90210 mattered and are interested in a good laugh, please, help yourself.
The goal of this musical, written by Andrew Norris, is simple: to bring back good memories. This musical moves towards the world of a low budget Aussie Soap Opera through a succession of kitschy songs and hilarious references. Carried by four incredible comedians, this musical gives you a two-hour long trip down adolescence lane.
The musical follows the journey of a group of former soap opera actors, who wish to make their comeback. Several years after their show ended, the cast are called back for a revival, giving us the opportunity to understand their journeys as soap opera actors. We are introduced to four really distinct but stereotypical personalities, in the form of four different kinds of actors one would find in a soap opera: the archetype of the successful female-lead, who managed to make it through to the end of the show; the drunk, the actor whose dream has been cut short; the “good-looking guy”, whose whole career was defined by his looks; and finally, the sweetheart, who joined the show when she was really young and never made a come-back to television – this revival is her last shot at success. We learn about their dream and fears and about how it all started and ended for them. And somehow, we develop a significant empathy for them.
The show follows two paths: one, on-screen, which is a portrayal of the soap opera and the second, off-screen, including the behind-the-scenes moments. Though somewhat complicated to understand at the beginning, the audience quickly overcomes this and can fully enjoy the performance. What really stands out about this show is the songs – extremely well-written; they are funny and realistic, summarising everything that goes through our heads as we watch this play.
Finally, the reactions of the audience really contributes to how we can enjoy this musical. It was made to bring back memories and it was incredibly moving to see the actors, and audience alike, laugh and have a good time. That night, we were all teenagers again: young, excitable and full of joy.
Summer Street was on at the Waterloo East Theatre. More information about the production can be found here.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor