Scott John: Back To The 80s
Show type: Adelaide Fringe 2007
Ah, how good were the 80's?! Leg warmers, ra-ra skirts, big shoulder pads... and that was just the blokes.
Join award-winning comedian Scott John for a hilarious celebration of the Awesome Era - from Alf to ZZ Top!
Oh yes, friends... It's still hip to be square.
This is basically a live version of one of those 100 GreatestÖ list shows that so dominate Channel 4ís weekend nights; little more than a catalogue of shared memories for the audience to identify with and reminisce about.
Indeed, much of Scott Johnís 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, thereís 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 popís 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 heís rewritten Billy Joelís much-parodied We Didnít 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 Adelaideís own Eighties-built theme park, Magic Mountain, on the eve of its demolition is silly and funny.
Such highlights Ė and Johnís easy, infectious charm Ė 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. Itís enough to make you want to grow a mullet again. Almost.
Reviewed by:Steve Bennett
Adelaine, March 2007
Date of review: Mar 2007