The 80’s Show
People come to Vegas for many reasons, but "to see the equivalent of a high school musical" probably isn't one of them. With that in mind, it's hard to imagine how "The 80's Show" got the green light behind the scenes. Sure, the production cost is low with inflatable props and giveaway jelly bracelets, but "The 80's Show" would have only a limited run even in a community lacking near countless entertainment opportunities. In fact, I hesitate to write this review for fear that by the time you read it, the show will no longer exist.
Starting with a bit of audience trivia and moving into a classic "John Hughes style" 80's storyline intermingled with popular songs from that decade sung live on stage, three of the five cast members perform admirably, but the storyline is weak and made even weaker by lame jokes which fall flat by poor casting choices. In one particularly cringeworthy scene, the good looking jock incorrectly assumes a love note is from the everyman instead of the lead girl. The problem, of course, is that the everyman who pines for the lead girl seems far more like he'd be pining for the good looking jock instead. You're suspension of disbelief will allow the "he's into her" act to fly when it simply exists as part of the story, but when confronted face-to-face with what would far more likely be the reality, it's hard to let the bullshit slide.
Similarly, the "hot girl" would more accurately be described as the "ok looking lady." She and the lead gal seem more like they would be attending a ten or twenty year reunion than actually still being in high school. Yet, as the lead gal, Kim Wood does the best she can with what she's got. She works the audience and plays the quirky misfit with great skill. She's indubitably the most likable character in "The 80's Show."
Alex Lum similarly gives the "good looking jock" character his best efforts and demonstrates nice dance and singing skills. In particular, when he brings audience members on stage and shows them how to step along to the song, you can tell that he knows what he's doing. He connects with the audience, and in a show like this, that's all the show's got. — That said, Kiersten Huang turns in a believable performance as the "sidekick / punk girl" as well, although her audience interaction is more limited and the character itself doesn't lend itself to being overly endearing.
In another production, those three actors all have potential, but in "The 80's Show," there's little they can do to salvage it. The bare bones production values could be overlooked if the show had some sort of compelling story to tell, but the storyline has depth and nuance fit for a ten year old girl : there's not much reason for it existing in a decade where the youngest one who lived in it is now 23 years old.
To recap: "The 80's Show" is a drawn out ten year old girl's view of dating as told without insight or anything new, interspersed with renditions of classic 80's songs sung in varying quality and with asking the audience 80's related trivia, on a near bare stage. — I wonder why they didn't put that on the poster?
In researching the names of the cast members for this review, I found some curious things which don't bode well for the show's longevity either. "The 80's Show" Facebook page currently has 20,937 likes... yet "The 80's Show" joined Facebook less than three months ago. That's an average of nearly 7,000 new "Likes" per month, which would mean somewhere around 300 new fans generated from every show. Yet, I'm not even sure the theatre seats 300 : it certainly had less than half that in attendance the night I went, perhaps less than a third.
Of course, the same production company had a show called "The Awesome 80's Prom" going for less than two months last year which was followed by "Legwarmers : An 80's Musical" which lasted for almost five months after that. So perhaps "The 80's Show" will make it to Christmas. If not, they can just launch "The 1980's High School." I bet it'll have thousands of fans in no time.
Was In The Miracle Mile Shops (Planet Hollywood)
On The Las Vegas Strip