The Garage Theatre was a riot of colour and choreography last week as the Beech Hill College Transition Year Production of ‘Back to the 80s’ brought audiences to their feet. The toe-tapping theme tunes of that decade provided the backdrop to the reminiscing of one Corey Feldman Senior (Ethan McCarron), with a soundtrack of hits such as ‘Footloose’, ‘Girls just wanna have fun’, ‘500 miles’ and ‘The Glory of Love’ underscoring the trials and tribulations of teenage life in the 80s.
Choreographed by the students themselves, many of whom had leading roles in the production (Ellie Connolly, Bernice John, Seanna Sherry, Amy Brennan, Shannon McKenna-Fox, Gemma Loughlin) the group have worked diligently since an initial date in October through a few postponements, to produce two veritable show-stopping nights of entertainment for their parents, peers and wider Beech Hill College and Monaghan community.
In a new departure this year, the Beech Hill College ‘house band’ anchored by musical director, Ms Emily McMeel alongside Ms Lynn Sullivan, and superbly assisted by Ms Marion Connolly, David Brady, Jake Cregan, Tuan O Murchu & Aoife Murphy Thom provided the music for the entire production.
The Construction department, led by Mr Dominic McStravog rose to the challenge of creating the ubiquitous Rubik’s Cubes of the 80s and Michael Feldman’s (Gareth Rhatigan) car for the production, subsequently artistically enhanced by Ms Arlene Connolly and her creative team. The high school football team (John Treanor, Bobby Boylan, Cailean Cawley, Frank Quinn, Fionn Boonstra, Andrew Gallagher) regaled us with ‘Get Outta my dreams’ and their moves during Cyndi’s (Bernice John) ‘Material Girl’, providing striking contrast with Fergal McFerrin (Ciaran Hannon) as he mourned how ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’. Corey Feldman Junior (Conall Sheerin) and his friends Alf and Kirk (Dara Treanor & Philip Neeson) navigated maths classes with Mr Cocker (Dermot McGlone) as Corey cycled his way to winning the heart of the girl next door, Tiffany. As hearts were broken and feelings misplaced, Eileen (Halle-Kate Cunningham) and Tiffany (Shannon McKenna Fox) moved the audience to arm waving and torchlight interludes during ‘Lost in your eyes’, while Ms Brannigan’s (Ellie Connolly) ‘Total eclipse of the heart’ captured a moment of silence and baited breath as the audience experienced the rollercoaster of talent and confidence of a 2022 cast dealing with themes from the 1980s.
Directed by Ms Mary McArdle, this is the fifth production in The Garage Theatre and Beech Hill College is very appreciative of the support and access provided by Eileen and Cathy. With sound provided by Panic Hire and lighting assistance from Transition Year students Jack Corrigan and Jonas Alexis, the production has been a resounding success. There are plans for next year already!