Class of 77

Class of 77
Boroondara Theatre Company in association with Camberwell Youth Theatre. Kew Renaissance Theatre (VIC). July 23 - 31.

David Hines’ Class of 77 is a new Australian musical that introduces us to a class of high school students graduating in the late 1970s, and then transports us to their fifteen-year reunion in 1992. “The world of 1992 Australia is very different to what existed in 1977 and through the script and music we see just how different.”
The show is a classic boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl plot supported by a pastiche of musical styles. At times the band played a diegetic role, acting as the live band within the reunion the characters were attending that allowed the band and characters to interact. MD Malcolm Fawcett had a solid understanding of the genres required for the show, however the number of strong singers was limited.
The sound team were experiencing difficulties most of the night with chorus members unable to be heard, mic cues being missed, clipping, and a persistent loud buzzing that I can only assume was caused by lighting and sound cables being run too close together.
The show’s characters were an eclectic bunch that spanned most minorities and classes. The inclusion of stereotypical Sven from Sweden was groan-worthy in the first act but made more sense once he returned in act two as the Swedish ambassador.
Apart from Sven, Class of 77 was written in such a way that there was no need to stay for the second half. The moment each character was introduced you knew exactly how ‘different’ they were going to be in act two where ‘different’ meant exactly how you had expected. The differences between the decades were mainly highlighted through the personal lives of the characters and not through the broader global changes as I was expecting.
The question I couldn’t stop asking myself during the show was ‘Why?’ Why were these characters singing? Why was this story important? Why did the two nerds just have a soft-shoe dance off? Songs like “We’ve Come Along Way” and “Me and My Torana” were not book numbers and would possibly have functioned more successfully if their content were explored through dialogue rather than through song.
Issues aside, it was very pleasing to see the cast having so much fun during the bows and I expect they are in for a very enjoyable season.
Ian Nisbet

Image: "Adam" Shane Hunt with "Me & My Torana" from Class of 77

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