Thursday, April 25, 2013


Chelmsford Gang Show at the Civic Theatre

Young, and constantly rejuvenated, as new blood is recruited to the ranks.
No-one at the opening night could criticise this ambitious extravaganza for being too slick, or over-rehearsed. But bags of enthusiasm, and some talent to be spotted amongst the Guides, Scouts, Beavers and Brownies, directed by Jo Dennis, Amy Ely, Emma Hills and the producer, Terry Simister. MDs are Gwilym Morris and Stephan Nicholls, with choreography by Caz Wilcox.
The Mini-Gang certainly has its share of stars, in their murder mystery costume drama, with musical nods to The Band Wagon and Bugsy Malone.
G&S, too, for the nautical sequence at the top of Act Two, nice choreography for the title number, some good choral singing ["When I Grow Up"], generous helpings of Blood Brothers and an excellent trio of Fionas in Fairytales. Promising work too from the Sunflower Sword rebel and Edward Lyons. Cheerleaders in the auditorium opener, and again in the traditional travesti sequence. And leading into the uniformed Finale, an amusing take on Leader of the Pack …

Jim Hutchon saw the show for the Chelmsford Weekly News – here is his review:

Produced by Terry Simister, Chelmsford Scout and Guide’s 56th Gang Show got off to a bright, confident start of song and colour, with lots of action and energy. Unfortunately, from that point it rather deteriorated into an under-rehearsed and not very well directed production. The boys and girls threw themselves into the numbers with boundless drive and unending enthusiasm but were never allowed to gel into the superb rhythm and great moments that have characterised earlier Gang Shows.

The schoolboy sketches and gags were there, as always, but seemed in this production to be a bit corny and hesitant. Many of the songs were obscure, and the orchestra seemed only to have one beat – a loud, overbearing rock treatment. I heard and saw some superb voices and natural dance movers among the chorus, who I felt could have improved the show if they had been spotted and brought out more.

It gives me no pleasure to write this as I am a great fan of the Gang Show, but I hope they will take this in the spirit it is intended. Next year’s has already been pencilled in for April 27th – May 3rd, and I look forward to it.

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