All Shook Up

Date 5th September 2019
Society Anstruther & District Amateur Musical Society
Venue The Byre Theatre, St Andrews
Type of Production Musical
Director Fiona Stewart
Musical Director Robert Nee
Choreographer Fiona Stewart


Author: Mike Pendlowski

A fairly dismal Scottish Summer, weather-wise, has obviously pent up the energy and enthusiasm of this ADAMS cast, allowing both to be released tonight, during this rocking and heart-warming performance, featuring most of Elvis Presley’s hit songs.

The leading man, Chad, was brought to the stage by Fife productions stalwart Andrew Doig. Andrew’s obvious understanding of the role together with his comic timing and knowledge of how and when to engender himself to the audience, gave us a feeling of confidence in the show very early on. Natalie, the motor mechanic who has fallen in love with Chad was delightfully portrayed by Steph Baillie, in her gender-changing role.  Steph’s crystal-clear dialogue combined with beautiful vocals, ensured that her on-stage chemistry with Chad was obvious, albeit unrequited! Move in second lady to make her stage presence known (especially to Chad)! – Miss Sandra (Rachel Nee). Rachel’s year in Oz (that’s in the southern hemisphere, not in ”The Wizard of…”) ,  has obviously done no harm to her acting or singing techniques! Again it was lovely to see a performer who can command a stage, even against the talents of Andrew and Steph – not to mention all the other fine principals in this show. Sylvia (Fiona McCruden) the bar owner, is happy to be single, but in the course of the musical, falls for Jim Haller (Craig Spence), the father of Natalie, subconsciously looking for love after the passing of his wife three years earlier. The pair worked extremely well together and the rendition of “There’s Always Me” was heartfelt.  Dennis (Callum Stott), the geeky poetry-loving boy-in-town, brought much hilarity to the show, albeit, failing to attract Natalie, nevertheless, finding love in Miss Sandra by the end. Young lovers Lorraine (Brianne Harley) and Dean (Ben Smart) both showed very good stage presence. The last of the principals, but certainly not the least, were the domineering Mayor of the town (Shona Gardner) and her Sherriff Earl (Mitch Scott-Bell). Shona, as the pantomime villain of the show, played this part so well, that it nearly drew “Boos!” from the full audience! Mitch – a man of few words – until he proposes to the Mayor at the end of the show, completed an excellent corps of principals.

ADAMS chorus were never underplayed in this happy, jukebox of a show!  Their direction together with their choreography did credit to Fiona Stewart in charge of the movement, while singing was no less praiseworthy in the capable hands of Robert Nee.

Technically, sets, although fairly minimal were appropriate, and allowed for easy movement by Gregor Nee and his team.  Sound, after a slightly tentative start, soon got in to the swing of things. Lighting – maybe some more thought could have gone in to this, especially knowing the upper level and downstage corners were frequently populated.

However, overall a grand show, well done, and thank you ADAMS, for the hospitality shown to us at the interval!