Writer and director Andrew Norris looks back to the ’90s Aussie soap opera scene and brings it to life with original musical comedy, Summer Street – The Hilarious Aussie Soap Opera Musical!

This new musical is heading to The Blockhouse to delight Brighton Fringe-goers before transferring to Waterloo East Theatre to bring some sun and fun to London. As four Aussie soap stars try to resurrect their careers, there are hilarious and unexpected consequences – and, of course, plenty of songs to tap your foot to.

With the 30th anniversaries of Neighbours and Home and Away last year, Summer Street provides the perfect opportunity to recapture the glory days of Kylie and Jason and relive the joy of tuning in every week to watch the captivating tales from Down Under.

Summer Street is at The Blockhouse, Brighton – 3rd – 7th May and Waterloo East Theatre, London – 13th May – 2nd June 2019.

What can you tell us about your new musical Summer Street?

It’s a fun, nostalgic trip down memory lane to the heyday of the Aussie soap! Four Aussie soap stars of yesteryear try to re-kindle their failing careers with unexpected consequences. The show explores soap operas, celebrity and the price some people are prepared to pay for fame.

What inspired you to write it?

I grew up in the 1980s/’90s and have always been interested in the huge, cultural impact soaps and especially the Aussie soaps had on UK culture at the time. It was truly remarkable. The sun shone on our TV sets every afternoon, which perhaps goes some way to explaining their popularity, against our rather cold, political climate at the time, with our poll tax riots and cardboard cities. Many an Aussie actors’ career was launched or boosted in the UK by an appearance in a soap. I wanted to write a show which captured the nostalgia of this period but also made a more modern comment on the nature of fame, fortune and celebrity.

Will we recognise any of our favourite Aussie soap stars, or have you written brand-new characters?

In every soap you will have your archetypal characters, and Summer Street is no exception. However, in Summer Street you get to see behind the facade and get an insight into the actors playing these characters and how art can sometimes indeed imitate life.

How would you describe the music in this production?

It was a joy writing the score for Summer Street. My music taste has never really moved on from the ‘80s and ‘90s so there are a lot of pastiche songs from that era including our very own homage to Kylie Minogue’s ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ called ‘ Lucky Plucky Me!’ which is a lot of fun. The more serious side of the story is accompanied by a more sombre score, which reflects the real human stories behind the facade.

Why do you think these soaps have lasted so long, and are perfect for a new musical?

I think there is something about relating to the people we see on our TV sets. If you think about it, most soaps are about ordinary people with sometimes extraordinary lives, but nevertheless normal people. The exceptions would be the American mega soaps like Dallas and Dynasty where perhaps it was about seeing how the other half live. Soap is perfect for the musical treatment because, back in the ‘80s/’90s if you put a song in a soap opera or any TV programme  it was a guaranteed hit! Remember ‘Anyone Can Fall In Love’, the EastEnders theme tune sung by Anita Dobson? I’ve just put the songs and the soaps together!

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Summer Street?

You’ll love it! There’s something for everyone. You’ll have a lot of fun but also come away with something to think about!

Image Credit AJN Productions

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly

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