Break out the cassette tapes and prepare to relive the glory days as Tim Campbell and his band take you on a musical journey through the ’70s and ’80s in the Australian premiere of High School Disco.
From the start it is clear that Campbell (whose impressive resume includes playing the lovable Dan Baker on Home and Away and Fiyero in the 2010 Australian production of Wicked) is an ’80s junkie and his enthusiasm for the era is infectious.
Displaying impressive dance moves and accompanied by his talented band, he soon has the audience dancing in their seats as he breathes new life into classics such as “Play that Funky Music”, “Shake Your Groove Thing” and “My Sharona”, as well as hits from movies such as Pretty Woman, The Breakfast Club and Footloose.
Charismatic and a little bit cheeky, Campbell is a natural entertainer with a seemingly endless amount of energy and a voice that must be heard to be believed. He also has a wicked sense of humour and is not afraid of a little shameless self-promotion – as evidenced by his numerous references to the show and his debut album (also titled High School Disco).
Campbell had the opening-night audience laughing as he joked about his childhood in Australia and even attempted to re-create the taste of the ’80s by throwing Redskins and Milko lollies into the audience. When he wasn’t belting out tunes or sharing funny stories, he was talking about his love of the era and getting up close and personal with audience members (not an easy feat, considering we were packed like sardines onto the Festival Theatre stage).
No opportunity for audience participation wasted, with people encouraged to get up and dance, and a few lucky individuals even called up to the stage for a sing-along contest. A highlight of the night was when Campbell announced a last-minute addition to the show’s cast, calling singer Anthony Callea to the stage for a surprise duet which captivated audience members.
With its high-energy performances and playlist of familiar songs, High School Disco is a show audiences of any age can enjoy. My only complaint is that it ended far too soon.
Tim Campbell – High School Disco has its final performance tonight (Friday) on the Festival Theatre Stage. It is part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, which continues until June 21.
For more stories and reviews, see InDaily’s 2014 Adelaide Cabaret Festival hub.
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