Saturday, June 23, 2012


Springers at The Civic Theatre

"Quote Shakespeare and peel me like a banana!"

The Bard has had a hand in many a musical comedy – West Side Story, Two Gents, Kiss Me Kate, Your Own Thing, and my favourite, Return to the Forbidden Planet – but this is his joyous juke-box show [with said juke-box prominent on the porch stage right] which takes plot elements from the plays, and songs from The King's back catalogue, and puts them all through a bobby-sox blender.

Nothing much original, then, with nods to Grease, Footloose and the rest, but very impressively done by Springers – their chorus work excellent, their choreography [Mel Smart] neat and nimble, even if we might have wished for more raunchy rock'n'roll, their costumes spot on. It opens in the jailhouse: a visually stunning sequence against the stylised set. Equally strong was the Act One finale, with all the love-struck leads singing Can't Help Falling In Love With You.

A very accomplished cast, too, though some of them had only cyphers to work with. Ian Pavelin stood out as roustabout and mischief-maker Chad; his tongue-in-cheek teddy-bear Lothario was warmly characterized and very watchable. Honours too to Alison Gosling as the cross-dressing grease monkey, Jon Newman as the geeky side-kick Dennis [his There's Always Me tellingly delivered, with great instrumental support from the pit] and Colin Shoard as Jim, trying to release his inner teenager.

All Shook Up was directed by Drew Shepherd, with Ian Myers as Musical Director.

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