Cherry Hill West transports audiences to the 80’s with “The Breakfast Club”


Cherry Hill West features The Breakfast Club.

Anthony Cornatzer, Eastside Staff

Who are we? How do we see ourselves? Who can really understand us? The Cherry Hill West Theater Workshop examined these questions in vivid detail last weekend on Nov. 13, 14 and 15 with its production of “The Breakfast Club,” a theatrical adaptation of the classic John Hughes film of the same name.

The story itself takes place at Saturday detention at Shermer High School, Illinois, on March 24 1984. The students depicted in the show include: Brian Johnson (The brain), Andrew Clark (The athlete), Allison Reynolds (The basket case), Claire Standish (The princess), and John Bender (The criminal). All of the students knew nothing about one another and they all assumed that they could not have anything in common. For eight hours, these students, stereotyped according to high school sentiments, are stuck in the library. Instructed by an unsympathetic vice principal, Richard Vernon, the teens must write an essay on “who they think they are.”

Within the span of eight hours, the kids raise some hell ranging from crude, suggestive statements, physical confrontations, drugs-and, ultimately, a genuine connection. The teens soon found that they actually held much in common with one another: the stress of home-life, school, peer-pressure and even the struggle of trying to be true to themselves in living life the way they want to live it, without anyone else’s permission or pressure.

West’s retelling of this classic story was true to its original intentions while simultaneously bringing a new, innovative spin to its retelling.

Technically speaking, the play had a set of the library and the office of the character Vernon, which consumed nearly the entire stage in its auditorium with a very authentic and heavily detailed layout and design.

The acting was also exceptionally good. The actors, especially those portraying teens, were brutally honest and believable while, at the same time, abstaining from being direct copies trying to recreate the same cast of actors that made the film such a classic.

Instead, the teenage actors utilized their own interpretations in order to embody unique analyses of their characters. All throughout the performance, the audience laughed at the humor, wordplay and funny incidents that occurred. Predominantly, people in the audience hung on to every word the characters said, feeling their pain, anger and anxiety while relating it to their own.

Due to this intense connection, it is fair to say that the actors told the story well enough to not only captivate, but to leave a lasting impact on their audience.

As the thematic Simple Minds song from the movie “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” played at curtain call, the audience cheered with a hearty applause. It is probably fair to say also that for anyone who saw this show, this on its own will probably prove hard to “forget” too.