Theatrical youngsters set for high energy show full of hits from the 1980s


Local theatre group to perform ‘Back to the 80’s musical’ this weekend

North Oxfordshire theatre group Odyssey is bringing a high energy show full of the best hits from the 1980s to the Wykham Theatre, as they perform the musical ‘Back To The 80’s’ this Friday and Saturday.

The show utilises the sounds of the 80’s era to tell the tale of Corey Palmer, who fondly reminisces about his senior year at William Ocean High School in 1985.   The story revolves around Corey’s unrequited love for the school’s reigning popular girl, Tiffany, who remained oblivious to his affection.   Instead, Tiffany was taken by Michael, an alluring and athletic figure – the embodiment of Corey and his friends’ aspirations.

The summer production includes songs like ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’, ‘Man in the Mirror’, and ‘Material Girl’, alongside tunes from films and shows of different genres from the 80’s.  The colourful costumes and neon style set are also completely inspired from the decade, with continuous references throughout the play to 80’s pop culture.

The events unfold through a fusion of a Star Wars dream sequence, high-energy dance routines, and an 80s party scene.

Director of the musical, Andy Aldcroft, says: “It’s an amazing production. The kids are great, they’ve worked so hard and they’re so talented.”

The Odyssey group was put together back in 2010 by five theatre lovers who wanted to give the opportunity for people in Banbury to have a try at theatre.

Their summer school for the youth section of the group runs every year. The performers, aged 11-18, put a show together in a week, starting rehearsals on the Saturday and performing the following Friday and Saturday night.

“It’s a really tough, long, intense week. But the whole point is to stretch the performers and to give them an experience that they can take with them for the rest of their lives”, says Mr Aldcroft.

Previous members of the Odyssey group have gone on to work in the arts industry, and perform on a professional level. This includes actors performing in the show this weekend.

17-year-old Will Healy, who plays Corey Palmer, will be performing for the last time with Odyssey. He is going on to Emil Dale academy in Hertfordshire to study musical theatre.

He says: “It’s my first time playing a role like Corey. It’s been a bit of a challenge. But he’s fun and such a great laugh to play.

“It’s a very professional environment. Only having a week to put on a show, everyone is here voluntarily to work hard and learn about what they’re doing.”

Also performing for the final time is Billy Lambert, 18, who plays Michael.   He is heading to Urdang Academy in London in September to pursue professional dancing and acting.

Catching up with him in rehearsal, he said: “The music is amazing. All the dances are incredible. I’ve had so much fun rehearsing.”

The female protagonist, Tiffany Houston, is played by 17 year old Tilly Palmer.   Speaking about her character, Tilly said: “She’s very friendly but a naive young girl. She’s in senior year of high school and is just having lots of fun with her friends.”

Director and choreographer for Odyssey youth Sharon Green said: “We guide them throughout the week but it’s them who put on the final performance.

“For this one, the audience will definitely want to get up and sing and dance along. It’s very much a fun one to watch.

“The group is a non-profit company. All profits go straight back into the group to put on more shows. It’s the love and passion that drives it.”

Mr Aldcroft added: “Despite the company being non-profit, the cost of living has hit the theatre sector in this town.   The cost of putting on these shows is still rising.   We try our best to keep what we do as affordable as possible, so ticket prices are still the same as they always have been.   But we’d love people to come and support us, and fill the theatre for the performers.   A full house would be amazing.”

The Wykham Theatre will host the performances on Friday, July 28th, at 7.30 pm, and on Saturday, July 29th, at both 2.30 pm and 7.30 pm. Tickets can be purchased here.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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