Scott John: Back To The 80s

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

This is basically a live version of one of those 100 Greatest… list shows that so dominate Channel 4’s weekend nights; little more than a catalogue of shared memories for the audience to identify with and reminisce about.

Indeed, much of Scott John’s routine sparks excited chitter-chatter, as mere mention of Mel & Kim, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or shoulder pads ignites youthful reminiscences. The audience even emit a shriek of delight at some references. John does little to quell these outbreaks of discussion which makes for a rather odd atmosphere.

And because all he need do to get a positive reaction is reel off a list of trigger words, there’s not much incentive to produce material better than bland observation, which John does rely on.

He does, however, punctuate this romp through the music and fashion of that ridiculous decade with a number of more creative set pieces, albeit with mixed results. A segment about pop’s propensity to repeat a syllable goes no further than Tony Hawks did with Stutter Rap in 1988 (an Australian No1, by the way), and why he’s rewritten Billy Joel’s much-parodied We Didn’t Start The Fire to list celebrities with moustaches is simply perplexing.

Others are more successful. A parody of a New Romantic track, Confectionary Lane Lady is bang-on stylistically, if overburdened by puns; his letter to Men At Work complaining that their anthem Safety Dance discriminates against the disable is expertly done; and a film showing his visit to Adelaide’s own Eighties-built theme park, Magic Mountain, on the eve of its demolition is silly and funny.

Such highlights – and John’s easy, infectious charm – makes the show much more than it threatened to be. The feelgood factor inherent in such a nostalgia-fest is skilfully exploited, and it all ends up being a whole heap of fun, if entirely unchallenging. It’s enough to make you want to grow a mullet again. Almost.

Reviewed by:Steve Bennett
Adelaine, March 2007

Review date: 31 Mar 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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