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80s Movie Flashback
Published on Friday, 20 August 2010

3.5 stars

Just The Tonic at the Caves (venue website)
Until 28 Aug, 12:20am (1:20am)
Reviewed by Trystan Davies

The 1980s: rising unemployment, a Conservative Prime Minister, big synths and even bigger hair in pop music.  How things have changed!  But what has happened to our favourite characters from those classic 80s movies, twenty years on?

If you're old enough to remember the 1980s, you’re a lot older than the young trio of Rachel Anderson, Rik Moore and Fraser, of Radio 1's My Flatmate the Comedian.  This brave and talented group start off with geek Alex Frik, clad in shell-suit and bum-bag, re-introducing childhood favourites throughout the hour.  Time has not been kind; the Karate Kid, for example, is now running a dojo-slash-B&B alongside an aged and racist Mr Miagi.

The films of that era were full-of-larger than life characters well loved by a generation, but mainly with rose-tinted glasses.  On reflection, they often have a tinge of cringe that the Flashback team amusingly exploit.  They also make good sport of the recent surge in 80s nostalgia, and notably poor Hollywood re-makes.  They offer an interesting take on these real and imagined revivals, with comical props and costumes alongside an unusual array of accents: imagine Egon Spengler, the nerdiest one from Ghostbusters, as a bluff Yorkshire man.

The task of taking these hyped-up icons and cutting them down to size is done well, but I felt the comedy lacked a little subtlety, and wanted for sharper one-liners to deliver bigger laughs.  This weakness was cruelly exposed in a poor parody of Dirty Dancing, a film surely ripe for plucking cheap laughs.  I also felt that an evening performance, rather than this after-midnight slot, might have suited them better. 

Nevertheless, The 80s Movie Flashback is an entertaining show, with some good audience interaction complementing a strong performance by a talented group.  Hollywood might be stuck in the past, but  these three suggest that  Edinburgh is still back to the future.

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These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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