Concept Players present Shout!

Created By Phillip George & David Lowenstein

"Mod Musings" & "Groovy Gab" by Peter Charles Morris & Phillip George

 

This was a first for us: a "juke-box" musical. More of a review than a musical in fact; some great mucis from the songbirds of the 1960s, hung around a loose coming-of-age story for 5 girls known only by their colour. Each colour has something to highlight them through out the show, comic and poignant, with some fabulous singing this show was a huge hit with our audiences.

Our director, Paul, wanted pace through out the show and in order to do this he kept the girls on stage through out. He added in four extra girls to ensure he got the polyphonic strength in sound he wanted. He also added in a side kick for Gwendolyn Holmes, the agony aunt character at the heart of the show who answers the queries she is sent by the girls, her advice becoming more and more obsolete as the decade progresses. Paul produced as well as directed this show and he chose the artwork of Piet Mondrian as inspiration for his design, ably using the dresses he had made himself for How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. His sourcing of other costume also ensured a touch of the Mary Whitehouse about the agony aunt Gwendolyn which immediate helped set the character straight into the audiences mind.

The musical showcases the songs of Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark and Cilla Black amongst others. There were plenty of laughs in it too. Not many will forget the awkwardness of Red Girl's Most Embarrassing Moment or the enthusiasm of Green Girl for a bit of "Rumpy Pumpy"!

The girls were a complete ensemble each bringing something to the production. Richard Jackson had the whole sound of the chorus and band under strict control making the most out of the lush orchestrations. This was to be Richard's last show with us as he headed off to new pastures away from South Wales. He was a popular MD and he has left a distinct impression on Concept and will be much missed for his commitment, good humour and professionalism.

This show was beautifully choreographed by Adam Pitt who has worked on several of our shows now and once again worked his magic bringing all those shimmies, shakes and frugs to the fore. Ever professional and always entertaining, he ensured the 1960s were perfectly captured in each of the numbers he set. Audience feedback centred around how did the girls manage to remember such a variety of moves? The answer, of course, is through hard work.

Sound was managed by Jess Screen who has been helping her mother Laura on and off for the last past few years and has worked on a number of school productions but this was to be her first full scale show where she was solely responsible. She did a fantastic job. Ruairidh did the lighting design, always a challenge in the Paget Rooms, but managed to get what he wanted in the Borough to great effect.

A word about the girls. Firstly the "Mondrian Girls" as Paul christened them. Jess, Ellie, Rachel and Lisa were very much more than just backing singers. On stage throughout they added colour and warmth to all the scenes. The pivotal role of the increasingly out-of-touch agony aunt, Gwendolyn Holmes, was played by Denise Sunderland who made the most of her few lines and interacted brilliantly with her side kick, Kate Smith, who increased her worldliness and fashion sense as the show went on. There was a huge round of applause for Kate as she eventually lost patience with Gwendolyn and an equally big appreciation from the stalls each night as Gwendolyn let her hair down in the encore of Shout! after her bows. Finally, the only one left to mention was the Voice Over, the magazine itself, heard but not seen, which was a Liverpudlian triumph by Judy.

As for the colours: Red was played with perfect comic timing by Cat Bailie, who has proved again her ability to make the most out of the words on a page, bringing the house down with her story of her most embarrassing moment, trying to prove herself to her boyfriend Edward in a talent contest. Sheer perfection. Hayley Toms was on top form with her gutsy rendition of several songs, giving the right amount of pathos as we heard of her marriage breakdown and her victorious change to purple by the end of the decade. Her duet with Blue, played by Jenny Brock, was one of the spectacular highlights of each night. Both powerhouse voices giving real justice to the songs of Cilla and Dusty. Thankfully Jenny as Blue found love with Penelope each night, which the audience loved. Green Girl was buoyantly played by Rhiannon Rose-Goodsir who had the audience on side from the off. Her cheeky cockney was perfectly in tune with her persona as shown by her bouncy rendition of "I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love" and her comical rendition of "Goldfinger". Finally, our newcomer, Fern blew us away with her vocals. With great moves and a charming innocence, she portrayed the character of the American girl whose dreams are challenged by the harsh reality of being a woman in the 1960s. Fern got to belt out the signature song Shout! every night which brought the audiences' to their feet.

The show was everything Paul had wished for. Fun in rehearsal, stretching for the Company, and ultimately a hit with our audiences. The enthusiasm could be felt every night in the auditorium for these plucky girls and for this storming production. 

 

 

 Red played by Cat Bailie

Red played by Cat Bailie brought the house down each night with her "Most Embarrassing Moment"

Yellow played by Fern O'Brien-Grant

It was Yellow, played by Fern O'Brien-Grant, who got to belt out "Shout!" every night

Jenny Brock as Blue

Jenny Brock in her Blue Asbestos dress

Shout! Posters

We created large posters of editions of the fictional magazine