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Another shining example of how discipline, extensive rehearsal and brilliant ideas serve to give the audience a super show.

I always love attending the St Albans Gang Show, it lifts my spirits, and I love to see so many young people of diverse talents giving their all, to make this the exciting and interesting production it always is.

The ideas were brilliant, and the insight to get them to the stage in the first place is tremendous.

I felt the cast were a little let down in Act 1 by the sound balance and quality, there were late mic cues, and sometimes the music was so loud we couldn’t hear the singers – this seemed to be rectified in Act 2.

The whole show was musically very good – harmonies and contrasts were well sung, Eleanor Petch must work long and hard with the cast to get such a good level of concentration and musicality, I loved the fade at the end of the opening number – which showed that singing quietly is just as effective as full-on projection.  Well done everyone.  

The opening was visually good – with swaying movements to accompany the song – very effective and well-drilled. Claire Keates and her choreography team keep it simple throughout so that everyone can participate, but it always looks good, and more complicated than perhaps it is, an art in itself!

Hermione Drew continues to direct with insight and vigour, which has always been the thread that has run through the Gang Show even before Hermione took over, and since I first started to review.

Costumes were very good – nice bright colours, and all looked fresh and bright – with neat hairstyles and matching shoes etc – all of which help the general look and feel of a production.  

We never underestimate the number of people it must take to get the show on the road technically speaking, as well as production-wise, so a huge well done to all the technical and backstage helpers.

The first sketch was great – the dialogue was so funny, delivered with precision and good comic timing - I loved the concept and the words.

The Mister Men set was nicely done.  Luke Nixon performed well in his solo,

The FOC dance had some lovely shapes and good lighting – very enjoyable.

Briony Bennett projected very well as the Air Hostess, and again the script was well-thought out and very amusing.

The first song in the Airport set was a very good front for the scene change and I liked the way it was accomplished.  The flats and other props for this scene were very good – the security arch that lit up – the flight boards with the flight details flashing up and the working luggage turntable all gave great interest and reality to the set.  Some really good performances in this scene.

The finale of Act 1 was rousing – good intonations from the cast, using full volume and softer moments, creating interest and dimensions as well as showing musicality.

The Laundrette set was fun – again the attention to detail was great – the steam from the presses, the whirly lines created by the cast, the cast as washing, such imagination again – and well-carried out.

The Clever Singing number was absolutely beautiful – good lighting effects, especially at the beginning, created the atmosphere, and the singing of the number carried that through – truly lovely – Evelyn Collard, Lottie Ward, Anna Solomon and Charlotte Coup made this the stand out number for artistic merit.  I also liked their costuming of plain black with the red rose used differently by each of them – a good effect.

The Superheroes set didn’t have quite the same impact for me as the other sets, not entirely sure why.  However the soloists performed well.

Then we came to the Lego sketch – not only well done to the participants for bringing their Lego men to life so well, even to getting the walk exactly right, but the costumes including the lovely hairstyle and scenery all gave this a really lifelike look and feel – super.

The Galactic set was fun – the boys were very effective in the first number, nice to see them so well-matched, the girls in the second number were almost as good!  Waiting for a Star was nicely sung with some lovely effects, and a lovely solo voice in the Sky Full of Stars number.

There were good effects in the Bangarang dance – nicely accomplished.

We all enjoyed the Audience Participation – a simple but clever and effective concept, well enacted.

Then we came all too soon to the finale – this is always a great experience, the stillness of the first three singers, all singing their parts with feeling, then the explosion of sound as the tabs open onto the full cast, and those great familiar numbers that we could all join in with – the evening certainly ended on a high.

Once again, I can only heap praise on the whole Gang Show experience – brilliant ideas, excellent performances, what more could an audience want.


St. Albans & District Scouts & Guides


review date: 12tH Feb 2015 at Alban Arena, St Albans

Director: Hermione Clulow   MD: Eleanor Petch Choreographer: Claire Keates

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