Sweet Songs Through The Years With Sugar, Sugar!

  • Written by  Leisa Woodman
  • Friday, 17 February 2017 09:05
Published in Arts  
|   Tagged under   
'Sugar, Sugar!' is an all singing, all dancing, retro cabaret show which showcases the talents of Candy Shop Show Australia, and is playing its fourth run at Adelaide Fringe.

It is the sequel to the group's hit show 'The Jazz Age Dance Cabaret', which featured the music of the '20s, '30s and '40s. 'Sugar, Sugar!' continues the timeline, and brings to life pop culture from the '50s, '60s '70s and '80s, including everyone's favourite childhood treat: candy.

Director/choreographer Jenny Usher says that emphasising candy was a way of playing with their identity as a Candy Shop group, as well as consolidating memories from various eras so as to attract a multi-generational crowd. "There's Peppermint Twist from the '50s, Starburst from the '60s, Everlasting Gobstopper from the '70s and Skittles from the '80s... It's very fun, definitely nothing serious. Everybody (in the audience) walks out with a giant smile on their face... Even kids. There 's nothing dirty or rude about it. It's so colourful."

Sugar Sugar CandyShop1

While singing, the cast play with the costumes of the various eras, but eventually take on the identities of the candy that many in the audience have known and loved.

"In Adelaide we are doing it as a cast of three, so we are still doing four eras but we all come on and be Skittles (for the '80s) at the end."

Sugar Sugar CandyShop3

While there isn't a lot of direct audience participation in the show, singing along is definitely encouraged: "the Baby Boomer era, they know all of the songs from the '50s and '60s. But even gen Y can remember the '80s, so everybody knows all the songs, it's fun." Jenny says.

Numbers from a selection of artists were chosen by the group to show how Australian pop culture has been a mixture of home grown and imported elements

Sugar Sugar CandyShop4

"We've got some Elvis stuff, we cover some Marilyn Monroe; from the '60s we've got a lot of girl bands, a bit of Nancy Sinatra, we chuck a lot of musical theatre in there... '70s we cover some Peter Allen to make it a little bit closer to home... (for the) '80s there's some Olivia Newton John and 'Flashdance', a bit of 'Thriller'."

One of the challenges of the family-oriented show, Jenny says, was making historical periods like the '50s interesting for youngsters: "It's a totally different world and I think we've somehow managed to make it more appealing again. People come out and go 'oh wow, I do remember that song, my dad plays it on 4KQFM' or whatever... And we've just turned it into something that is reminiscent of the era but with our own spin on it. We make it funny."

Candy Shop Show Group Sweet

While 'Sugar, Sugar!' premiered just last year at the Anywhere Festival in Queensland to much success, Jenny says she still has aspirations for the show and would like to take it on tour.

"We come to Adelaide having never been there before. This audience is brand new for us, so we just hope that we can open some doors and gauge a bit of interest from people who have no idea who we are."

'Sugar, Sugar!' plays Tandanya Theatre on 17-18 February.


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