|Shout! The New Swinging
60's Musical - Review
The Musical: Churchill Theatre, Bromley
by James Green
This is an affectionate,
high-energy, musical reminder of the Swinging
Sixties. Along with the 32 songs from that decade
are memory-jogs of hippies, sit-ins, the Beatles,
man on the moon, Top of the Pops, Carnaby Street,
World Cup, the twist, fashions, and laughable TV
Judging by the response of
the first night audience, Those Were the Days
It is obligatory for all
themed musical shows to finish with a reprise of
the nights big numbers and here, with the
whole cast singing and dancing, the rest of us
are invited to join in.
No invitation necessary -
everyone stands, sings, claps on the beat and
applauds. It must be a delight for the artists.
Since those 32 songs are
the sole purpose of the production, the
story-line is necessarily on the thin side but
works reasonable well - three girls seeking fame,
love, and sixties London lifestyle head for a
Peckham hair-dressing salon run by Su Pollard.
She is nothing like her TV
chambermaid Peggy, and along with her footwork,
is surprisingly good at selling a song. One
belter earns an ovation.
Howard Jones will never
have it better. Hes the sole man in the
company of five eye-catching girls and apart from
putting up a good show for us males he charms,
amuses and most definitely does his career
prospects no harm. Ideal casting.
Claire Sweeney heads the
girls and while all get their solos, she has more
singing-and-shaking spots throughout and handles
them with punchy confidence.
Shona White may play the
inevitable geek but triumphs with her singing,
the strength of her voice overcoming the weakness
of the character.
And Donne Steele, as the
would-be Twiggy, Louisa Maxwell, and Julie Stark
complete the gorgeous five. When not strutting
their stuff, they are out there vocalising.
Yet amid the short skirts,
beehive hair-dos and fun, the songs such as
Shout, Downtown, Lets Twist Again and Big
Spender are the stars. And Yesterday When I was
Young will register with some.