20 'Celebrating 20 years of BATS Next Gen'

Date 23rd April 2022
Society BATS Next Gen
Venue Haymarket Theatre
Type of Production Concert
Lead Director Richard Cox
Directors Adam Bayjou, Owen White, Hattie Branham
Choreographers Jade Hollingshead and Tori Eglin
Producers Sandie Thomson and Marie White
Co-directors Fiona Morgans and Elain Burchill


Author: Chris Horton

‘20’ Celebrating 20 years of BATS Next Gen consisted of 31 children and young adults performing songs, dance routines and comedy from their 20 years' back catalogue. These included well known musicals and some not so well known, but all performed with panache and joy. The segments were presented by Georgie McGuigan. The concert style gave individuals, in the large cast, a golden opportunity to shine. The talent on display was exceptional.    

With the exception of Joseph’s Technicolour Dreamcoat, the cast were in BATS Next Gen celebratory t-shirts. The music and vocals were strong enough not to need anything more than this and the uniform appearance enhanced the teamwork and comradeship evident throughout the evening. 

The lighting was well controlled and effective. The cast sounded terrific from start to finish with fabulous support from the live band.  A highlight for me was the co-ordination of rainbow colours used to accompany Joseph’s coat.

This was a complex production necessitating multiple directors, producers, musical directors and choreographers for the different segments of the show. An enormous amount of co-operation and collaboration was needed to get this show off the ground.  The production team are to be congratulated and their inspiring leadership enabled the cast to put on their best performances. They were engaged and enthusiastic throughout ‘Joseph’, vibrant ‘Our House’, a rousing ‘Les Mis’, joyful ‘Hairspray’ and slowing things down with some beautifully controlled, powerful solos Holly Rust and Lauren Hinchey excelled. The show began with the familiar intro from Joseph with the narrator in the balcony and between the music, Next Genners had filmed messages of support; these included Joe Humberstone with his memories of The Sound of Music from 2001 and Max Harwood who now has a major feature film under his belt (‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie). With such solid production support and talented performers, the future of musical theatre in Basingstoke is in excellent hands.