Bananarama roll back the years at Blicking

Richard BatsonIt's really saying something when you can look as good in your 40s as you did in your 20s.But two of the original three-strong bunch of girl band Bananarama still do.Richard Batson

It's really saying something when you can look as good in your 40s as you did in your 20s.

But two of the original three-strong bunch of girl band Bananarama still do.

As they strutted their stuff and sang their hits at Blickling Hall's 1980s party night, blonde Sara Dallin and her lifelong friend Keren Woodward had matured from funky punkies to scrummy mummies - just like a lot of the 6,000 crowd.

Twenty years ago they were big- haired pin-ups who launched a string of catchy pop songs into a decade of dodgy fashion, when headbands, leg warmers, shoulder pads and shellsuits ruled.


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On Saturday night, dark-haired Keren, who has a 23-year-old son, wore a smart red blouse and skinny jeans; Sara, mum to a teenage daughter, a plunging blue one and tight white trousers.

Their act still sounds like a couple of best mates singing karaoke while doing choreography worked out in front of a bedroom mirror - but it was a hit then, and still is now, as the crowd chorused Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye.

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The leg warmers and headbands were not on the stage but were out in force in the crowd - with hundreds of people, men and women, sporting the iconic fashion accessories in fluorescent pink and yellow.

As their brightness was turned down by the gathering dusk, it was replaced by a swarm of glowworm-like flashing bunny ears, tambourines and light sabres, as the event's Greatest Eighties Party lived up to its name as nine acts entertained a crowd dominated by women and including one 30-strong hen night.

It began hours earlier with the soaring guitar introduction to Cutting Crew's I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight.

Highlights were the showmanship of Kid Creole and his far-from-shy Coconuts, dressed in leopardskin bikinis, and the shiny-suited and polished ABC fronted by Martin Fry.

The Three Degrees, dressed in kingfisher-bright sequined green, blue and purple, bent the rules a little to bring a flashback to 70s soul which had the crowd singing the ooohs and aahs at the start of their chart-topper When Will I See You Again.

It was left to Marc Almond to light the fuse for a firework finale, leading a rousing Tainted Love, helped by the sea of bouncing, flashing, waving backing singers in front of him.

Event promoter David Heartfield said the current '80s music revival was that it was hatched in a decade of financial troubles when people just wanted to dress up and go out to party to forget their troubles - much like now, combined with some classic songs that were enjoyed by people from their 50s to their 20s.

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