Edinburgh Gang Show 2019 The 60th Show !

Date 19th November 2019
Society Edinburgh Gang Show
Venue Kings Theatre Edinburgh
Type of Production Revue
Director Andy Johnston, Jemma Crawford
Musical Director Andrew Thomson, Caitlin Morgan
Choreographer Louise Williamson, Jemma Crawford

Report

Author: Dorothy Johnstone

As a regular attender at Gang Show I am always blown away by the freshnes and spectacle which is ‘Gang Show.’ Celebrating their 60th show, the team of 250 youngsters and the numerous adults who have worked tirelessly with them presented a real extravaganza of song, dance and comedy sketches. The opening ‘Celebration’ which brought together the main and junior gang bursting on to the stage, sparkled and certainly conveyed an idea of what was to be an evening full of energy, enthusiasm and fun.

This was a most imaginative programme with with such variety in musical numbers, different dance styles and cleverly scripted sketches which these youngsters presented with real vitality singing confidently and constantly moving aound creating various tableaux and well staged pictures. There appeared to be more dancing this year than in previous years and I applaud all of the cast but particularly the principal dancers who relentlessly performed tap, ballet, jazz, contemporay and ballroom with real style and conviction.

‘Wide Open Spaces’ with a group of cowgirls continually interrupted by Ellie Roeling on ‘horseback’ singing ‘Shotgun’ was most amusing and led into a lively all singing all dancing ‘Kansasland’ complete with hoedown and strong soloist Angus Taylor. ‘Singin’ & Dancin’ offered another dazzling section with it’s show girls and lively ‘Dancin Fool’ led by Ruben Binney. Huge praise to the Junior Gang who were in great form, powerful and enthusiastic in their medley of West End musical numbers. They certainly belted out ‘Revolting Children’ and coped admirably with the intriciate moves and routines in their section never phased by any minor mishaps. A more subdued mood followed in ‘Seasons’ with ‘Falling Slowly’ beautifully sung by Ava McCaffer and Cameron Armstrong backed by a more sentimental group of singers and dancers in a moving ‘Seasons of Love.’ The final musical section of Act 1 was a selection of numbers by Queen where more youngsters shared their vocal talents. Lewis Boyd sang with real meaning ‘Is This The World We Created?’ followed by the trio Alice Bailey, Allie Cochrane and Emma Clarkson in an animated ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love.’ Esme Prosser’s ‘Love of My Life’ was sung with purity and sincerity with Katie Kistruck rounding off this section leading the cast in a dynamic, upbeat ‘I Was Born To Love You.’

The full on song and dance numbers were punctuated with well delivered, humerous sketches. ‘House Of Wax’ had a group of less than enthusiastic school children visiting the Edinburgh Waxworks where they met some ancient Scots - Robert the Bruce, William and Mary and more modern icons - Lorrane Kelly, Nicola Sturgeon and Lewis Capaldi. This was an inspired sketch with each character giving the personality they deserved to create the scene. Another hugely amusing scene was ‘A Musical Interlude’ with Ailsa McLean singing ‘Memory’ from ‘Cats’ while stage hands used props to depict every word of the song. This was so slick and clever. Well done Ailsa for continuing to sing so well throughout the mayhem!

Vigour and vitality continued into the second act with a most impressive tap routine in ‘Born To Boogie.’ The splendour continued in ‘Wanna Dance’ where Tatiana Honeywell gave a stunning, mature vocal performance providing a pin drop audience moment. More fun and nonsense in ‘Medieval Mayhem’ and more first rate singing by Kelsey Main in the beautiful ‘Speechless’ and Jessica Lyall in the upbeat ‘Shine Like The Sun’.The party atmosphere continued with the spirited ‘Come So Far’ fronted by Megan MacLean and Maria MacDonald where I thought the words ‘Every year we get stronger’ was a fitting tribute to the Gang Show. Emily Johnstone and Amy Camfield with the other cast members finished off the party with panache. ‘The Choir’ with their exuberant Haggis Song inevitably involved audience participation and rounded off the programme in real panto style before the Finale.

Matthew Knowles gave a stirring rendition of ‘I’ll Always Remeber This Way’ with Millie Ironside and Will Rennie having the honour of leading Ralph Reader’s ‘Thankful.’It is always very touching to see all of these young people in their respective uniforms proudly standing and singing about the true meaning behind being a scout or a guide.The solemness and sincerity in ’Caledonia’ is most emotive.

This was a visually spectacular production with wonderfully lavish sets and lighting and fabulous costumes which were so colourful and pertinent to the style and setting of the action. So many costume and scene changes must present a real challenge for all on stage and behind the scenes yet the smoothness in transition is remarkable. Presenting a show of the very high standard that this was requires utter dedication by the cast who have so much to learn and remember, the production team and the many others behind the scenes. Gang Show is an outstanding example of team work as individuals are supported by those around them on and off stage having fun, making memories and developing skills and friendships for life. Congratulations on a superb Gang Show ‘The 60th Show’ You certainly did have an outstanding production and celebrated in style. I enjoyed every minute of it and very much look forward to future productions.