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Pittsburgh Fringe 2024

Don’t Stop Believing: A Theatric Remix of the 1980’s

Torrey Shine

Genre: A Cappella, Dramedy

Venue: Bantha Tea Bar


Low Down

“Dramatic comedy about “coming of age” in the 1980s using hundreds of 80s songs and movies!”


When Torrey Shine takes the stage, she is wearing glittery fishnets, a pink skirt, pink headband, and a headset microphone. She is warm and inviting as she talks briefly about the concept of the show and invites others to sing along, acknowledge references to their partners and relax and enjoy the show. The opening to this performance makes the audience believe that they are in for an hour long karaoke, light hearted romp through the 1980’s. However, like most times one looks back at the past, although there may be light hearted references and romps, the true meaning behind the piece is much deeper. 


The poem, story hybrid that Torrey performs takes us through the journey of adolescence to self acceptance, set in a slightly fictionalized, slightly based on reality world. Torrey’s character, Eileen, walks through growing up as a school girl, meeting her first love, and finding herself. Torrey has a magnetism with the audience. She uses sweeping hand motions to draw the audience in and her smile is electric. Her singing voice, which is splattered throughout the poem is rich and I, as an audience member, was hoping for more. 


When I first heard about the show, my perception was that the production would have the audience sing along with her in a more participatory manner. Although Torrey engages with the audience throughout the show, the show is not truly participatory in nature, as expected. The audience feels welcome to go along the journey with Torrey and can hum the last few notes of certain phrases, but there are only two times in the show where the audience would feel truly called to sing along with her. The show also features a few darker topics that Torrey handles well, but I could tell from the audience reaction, they were not expecting. 


I would recommend Don’t Stop Believing if you are a lover of the 1980’s, appreciative of one person shows, or a clever poetry performance. I had fun and enjoyed the time watching Torrey perform. I was surprised by this show and felt it was clever, abundant, and  joyful, just like the music, tv, and movies it references.