Say what you will but the 90s were one of the best decades for music. After all, it was an era that included Britney Spears, Tina Arena, Backstreet Boys, S Club 7 and the Spice Girls. Presented as part of Midsumma Festival, Spice Up Your Life takes the audience back to a time where music was pure and fun and where neon windbreakers, bandannas and overalls with straps down were considered fashionable.
The six performers, Jacqueline Irvine, Rachel Bronca, Alexia Brinsley, Nik Murillo, James Terry and Finn Alexander, blast their way through a number of some well known 90s pop tracks with half the fun being guessing which one will be next. There was a wave of approval that seemed to flow through the audience with each new song, indicating that the cast had done their research well.
Throughout the show, moments of nostalgia were recalled as they discussed life in the 90s, from tamagotchis to Saturday mornings spent watching Video Hits and having to record music on the radio on to tapes. Alexander reveals he was only born in 1994 so many of these references, such as dial-up internet are lost on him. Oh to be young again. The rapport the six share on stage is quite infectious with cheesy smiles and big dance moves throughout. Their brilliant rendition of the Friends theme song could easily have been written about them.
Other highlights of the evening included Irvine giving everything she had and absolutely crushing Tina Arena's "Chains" and her later cover of B*Witched's "Cest La Vie" with Bronca and Brinsley was also fun to watch. Murillo, Terry and Alexander's cover of NSync's "Bye Bye Bye" and George Michael's "Freedom" are a chance for the male singers of the group to shine. The six have quite distinct voices that complement each other and the vocals that each person sings adds a bit of originality and flair to these well known tracks.
While the cast have some 90s appropriate choreography to match their songs, losing the hand held microphones would give them an opportunity to be a bit more free with their movement and give them one less thing to be thinking about on stage. Some authentic 90s clothing would also have helped set the scene and create a stronger ambience.
It's a shame that Spice Up Your Life was only on for one night as it was a joyous pop trip down memory lane. Unlike the fashion of the 90s, here's hoping this show finds a second season in the near future.
Spice Up Your Life was performed at Chapel Off Chapel on 20 January 2018.
*Image taken from the Midsumma Festival Carnival*