If all that is old is new again, then one of Australia’s most iconic program has found a new generation to delight this year, when St Augustine’s Primary School Wodonga discovered why Hey, Hey it’s Saturday was one of the nation’s most popular programs for almost three decades.
The long running Australian variety program inspired the schools 2021 musical production which was aptly named, ‘Hey, Hey it’s St A’s!’ With appearances from many of the shows well-loved characters, live music from the fabulous 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, and the antics of not one, but two plucka ducks … well you couldn’t help but remember why the show held such appeal for so long.
A twist on the names of the shows main characters provided another reason to love everything about the production. Who could forget the host of the show, Daryl Summertime, resident music expert, Molly Melodrama and mascot, Ossie Emu. For those who grew up loving this show, the play on the names will make perfect sense.
The show provided ample opportunity for the Grade 5 and 6 students to showcase their talents with the variety of characters on offer. There were exceptional solo performances of anthem tunes like the Guns and Roses classic ‘Sweet Child of Mine’, Kenny Rogers ‘Footloose’ and the Whitney Houston power ballad, ‘I will always love you’ to name a few. Live music from the Murray Conservatorium set the mood for the show accompanied by the St A’s rock ‘air’ band who played their air instruments well! Dance and gymnastic solos by Tahlia Ferguson and Eliza Mason were a highlight, along with the Gangnam style dance troupe, dressed from top to toe in high vis construction gear.
Students went through an audition process to land their roles, including Rory Hams who played the judge the everyone loved to hate, ‘Blue’ Symons. For Rory it included researching the character and studying his mannerisms. “I loved that Red Symons was bossy and mean, he was a fun character to play,’ said Rory.
Director Tracy Ross said the show highlighted the great talent at St Augustine’s and provided parents and grandparents with a chance to reminisce about the iconic Australian show which would be very familiar to people of a certain age.
“Students were able to audition for key roles and to really showcase their interests. We had fantastic singers, dancers and some great comedic talent. Part of the fun was also the great outfits that were unearthed for the show, I’m not sure where they found some of them, but they are amazing,” said Tracy.
Solo vocalists, Heidi Ramage and Eva Maddison said they enjoyed sending time with their friends. “It was also a great opportunity to take part in the singing and dancing to show what we can all do,’ added Heidi.
The ‘Red Faces’ segment featured strongly in the production, with Blue Symons declaring, as he often did, that some acts were too good to win, awarding the prize to Indigo Hopper, AKA, ‘Watermelon girl’ who thanked her parents and in true Hey, Hey it’s Saturday style, she also thanked her watermelon.
Students laughed out loud at all the antics and gags of the original show, especially the mayhem created by the ‘Plugga ducks’ who were double trouble, chasing each other, fighting over toys, harassing audience members, and destroying props. A raffle which took place during the show placed the live audience at the mercy of the Plugga twins! Those who were lucky enough to win a prize were also guaranteed to receive extra attention from the naughty ducks.
Hey, Hey it’s St A’s began with a matinee performance for the entire school, followed by an evening show the following night for family and friends. The raffle prizes were organised by the Parent Representatives and generously donated by families.
It seems fitting to end this article by telling you to “do yourself a favour” and see the show … however, as the show has ended and the live audience has left the building, it’s time to open the vault and place Hey Hey it’s St A’s back into the archives along with the fluoro clothing, mullet hair do’s, leg warmers and fingerless gloves.
That’s all folks, except to thank the Grade 5 & 6 students from St Augustine’s and Director Tracy Ross for allowing us to take a trip down memory lane and to reignite the debate about which generation had the best music! But that is a discussion for another day!