Back To The 80’s tells the story of the senior class of William Ocean High School as remembered through the eyes of now 30-something Corey Palmer. 17-year-old Corey is madly in love with his next-door neighbor, Tiffany Houston, one of the coolest girls in the school. However, she is too busy mooning over Michael Feldman, the hottest guy around. Michael and his friends are athletic and good-looking – the kind of guys that Corey and his two best friends dream of being. However, while they may not be the coolest guys in school, they are still one up on Feargal McFerrin III, whose best friend is his computer, and who believes the crazy notion that one day CD’s will replace cassette tapes.

Throw in a Star Wars dream sequence, high-energy dance routines, the obligatory 80’s party scene, copious amounts of blue eye-shadow, twenty cans of hairspray, as well as some of the most popular songs ever written, and the result is a musical that not only will delight and amuse audiences of any age, but will also inspire any young cast. Back To The 80’s is a high-energy musical with contemporary flair that will certainly fill the seats.




Some pictures from this production-



BTT80’s Noda report





The Newton society are so lucky to have such a vibrant and very active youth section that ensures plenty of talent passes on into the adult group and over the years I have seen some great shows by NEWTS. However this one ranks as one of the best. It is a standard juke box musical with a slim storyline, reminiscent of Grease and Fame, but backed by many standard 80s pop classics which ensures an action packed evening full of music that is instantly recognisable to the audience, especially those of a “certain age” like me ! Teenage angst and love form the backbone to the story but , as always, everything turns out right in the end (even if it often didn’t in real life).

The older members of NEWTS played the main roles. There are a number of young men coming up through the ranks who are real talents for the future and I was very impressed with the contributions of Harry Wheeler (Corey Snr) Jordan Kennard (Corey Jnr) Sam Horstead (Michael) Bradley Swinbank (Feargal) and Will Cunningham (Billy). Each brought great stage presence, good voices and excellent timing to their roles. Sam portrayed the young stud of the piece very well indeed, although Jordan’s character turns out to be the “stud in waiting” and eminently more appealing to the female characters. Bradley portrayed the main comic character and took full advantage of this and was very entertaining. Harry fulfilled the link role of narrator as the older Corey looking back on this period in his life. His more serious nature suited this role perfectly and was the perfect foil to the more exuberant young characters. Will had great energy , and an ever deeper voice, as Billy and the audience really felt for him when he was rebuffed by the object of his desires.  It was very nice to see Owen Milton and Shaun Gurney aspiring to the cameo roles of Alf and Kirk and making their mark very well. Six of these lads were in my production of Oliver here at Newton 3 years ago and it was really good to see them progressing so well, not to mention now all taller than me !!

Not to be outdone by the male principals I was equally impressed with Katie Williams (Tiffany) Amelie Brinton (Eileen) and Emily Carter (Cyndi) who led the female onslaught against the males !! In this type of production the girls tend to be presented almost as the enemy. They are creatures to be admired from afar by the males and dream of having a handsome boyfriend , with a nice car and lots of money, and savagely rebuff any young man that doesn’t reach their standards. These girls did well in portraying that, and the often awkward moments of loves young dream were humorously portrayed. The support roles were all well played and there were no weak links at all in this strong production.

The large ensemble were superbly drilled with some excellent routines and each and every company member was focussed and clearly having a ball. Musical support from a 7 piece bit band never swamped the performers who took each number by the scruff of the neck with tremendous attack.

Newts is now run by ex-newts by and large and many of the performers are children of ex-newts and the energy and enthusiasm of the production team instils the cast with the vibrancy that this kind of show demands. The audience enjoyed this show enormously and the kids were rewarded with a well earned standing ovation. I could have sat and watched it all again immediately, and that is always a good sign that, for me, all the buttons were pressed.

Iain Douglas