You are here: Home Drama Beat Latest Drama News New West Theatre take a nostalgic trip through the “Decades”
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

L.A. Beat

New West Theatre take a nostalgic trip through the “Decades”

E-mail Print

 It’s good to have new West Theatre back at home at the Yates Theatre with a brand new variety show which runs the gamut from hammy hilarity to heartfelt.


Katie Fellger and Alinafe Lupwayi Perform in New West Theatre’s Decades at the Yates Theatre. Photo by RichardAmery

 The long standing theatre company traipse through “Decades” of music and jokes, which has got to be a challenge finding songs they haven’t performed before.

The show, helmed by director Kathy Zaborsky provides pleasurable nostalgia trip through the 1950s to today, no matter when you were born.


 Long time member Erica Hunt and Scott  Carpenter introduced the show, joking what about the decades before the 1950s, so quickly sang a medley of hits from thee 1900s ªComing ’Round the Mountain,” a  little bit of jazz for the 1910s,  Carpenter scatted through the 1920s, they sang some more  jazz for the 1930s and recalled “Boogie Boogie Bugle Boy” for the 1940s.

 Then they opened with the talented cast of  Eric Hunt, Scott Carpenter, Kyle Gruninger, Ashley Thomson, Katie Fellger and new talent Madison Cowan, blast through a stylized cast version of Chuck Berry‘s “Rock and Roll music (If You Want to Dance With Me).


 But the ’50s is where the fun really begins as they chronologically touch on each decade.

 Drummer Keenan Pezderic got to play DJ from behind his kit, introducing each decade by imitating the DJs, slang and styles of the time.


 Erica Hunt and Scott Carpenter introduced new cast member Madison Cowan  by saying she grew up in New West Theatre as her mother Vanessa Cowan  was choreographing the early shows including this show.

“She was dancing in the wings and knew the dance steps better than we did,” Hunt  joked as  Madison Cowan lead the cast through Wanda Jackson’s “Let’s have A Party.”


 The ’60s were represented by a medley of Beatles hits including “ Can’t By Me Love” ,” Paperback Writer” and “  I Want To Hold Your hand. 


Keenan Pezderic represented the hippie side of the late ’60s by belting out “House of the Rising Sun,” which segued into a psychedelic groove as each of the cast members took turns cracking jokes to each other.

Madison Cowan performs in New West Theatre’s Decades at the Yates Theatre. Photo by RichardAmery

 Alinafe Lupwayi opened the ’70s part of the set with a stunningly soulful version of Smoky Robinson’s “ Tears of A Clown.” 


As a contrast to that, Erica Hunt dressed up as Ziggy Stardust Era David Bowie for a rousing version of “Starman,” as Kyle Gruninger added  extra acoustic guitar and harmonies.

A really beautiful moment as they eased their in the way into the ’80s as Katie Fellger introduced Ashley Thomson singing Kate Bush’s ’80s hit “ Running Up a Hill,” which got a second life today as part of the TV show “Stranger Things.”


While Thomson was breaking hearts with her voice,  Madison Cowan,  touched the soul by performing some really beautiful ballet moves. Erica Hunt and Scott Carpenter  reminisced about ’80s advertising jingles then quizzed the crown (which was amazing for a Thursday) about where they worked , promising the cast would write and perform an ’80s style jingle for their business.


 There were no takers. As Hunt asked “does anybody work anywhere,” one girl spoke up saying she worked for the Superstore liquor store, and hunt promised they would be back in the next set with the jingle.


 Kyle Gruninger and Hunt sang a  hot set of Four Non Blondes’ “What’s up” to represent the  ’90s.

And the cast took  the audience into the 2000s and intermission with a cast version of  Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t  Stop This Feeling.”

 There would be a lot more 2000s music in the second set, which covered all the decades , but definitely not in order.

Set two opens on a weird note, with Erica Hunt dressed in a black and white Sia wig for a hilarious version of

Ashley Thomson performs in New West Theatre’s Decades at the Yates Theatre. Photo by RichardAmery

 “Chandelier.” Scott Carpenter emerged from the side in white tights, mugging with the spotlight. The rest of the cast followed on stage sporting similar Sia wigs and adding background vocals.

 Madison Cowan emerged to show some more  sweet dance moves which Carpenter tried to ape, before tossing her off the stage.Jokingly of course. That was probably the funniest part of the Night. Other than their version of the Bee Gees “Stayin alive,” with Ashey Thomson looking overshadowed by the antics of her partners including Scott Carpenter. Erica Hunt took a seat behind the drum kit for that song.


 Kyle Gruninger , dressed in ’80s style  stone washed jeans, followed up “Chandelier” with the most moving performance of the night . Band bassist  Paskuski took centre stage tenderly picking the chords of Tracy Chapman’s. “Fast Car,” while Gruninger crooned the lyrics.


Carpenter showed his more  straight ahead rock side by leading everybody through the Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight.” With Scott mezeie playing some sweet slide on his Gibson SG.

The a cappella cast number is always a show highlight.


 This time,  Alinafe Lupiway lead the cast including drummer Keenan Pezderic taking centre stage, though the  soulful’50s pop of “ In the Still of the night.”


 There were more jokes and one liners, but the best comedy bit of the night was a completely mimed bit about Kyle Gruninger and Madison Cowan’s  attempt to go to  the movies. As  the band softly played “ My Heart will Go On,” hilarity ensured as Keenan Pezderic, Scott Carpenter and Erica Hunt’s old lady wouldn’t let them sit together, but tried to help them communicate with each other telephone game style.


They show ends on a couple stunning notes. 

 The cast shows their instrumental powers on Gotye’s hit “Somebody that I Used to Know”  featuring Katie Fellger and the cast.

They end with an apt  cast version of “Walk the Moon’s “Shut up and Dance with me.”

 The world is exhausting and depressing these days, so escape from it for a couple hours by catching “Decades,” which opened Aug. 10 and runs until Aug. 27 at the Yates Theatre.

— By RichardAmery, L.A. Beat Editor

The ONLY Gig Guide that matters


Music Beat

Lights. Camera. Action.
Inside L.A. Inside

CD Reviews


Music Beat News

Art Beat News

Drama Beat News

Museum Beat News