Reviewed by Paul Davies
It would be easy to get sentimental about a production starring sixty-six scouts and guides, but that would be to do all the hard work a serious dis-service.
Andrew Linscott has produced what is effectively two shows in one. A small army of on and off stage talent has been persuaded, cajoled, bribed and for all I know even blackmailed into donating time, effort and money, and the result belies the resources available.
Act One’s tale of Mystery under the Big Top provided an opportunity to showcase many varied skills, -even real flaming torches! The highlight for me was the adaptation of Abbott & Costello to “Who’s putting the tent up” and the wordplay sketch, Also the quick fire dialogue between Julio and Romeyette and Veronica. -Obviously well rehearsed and well-executed all.
There was a lot happening, so much in fact that sometimes quick-fire jokes were missed by the audience, that’s OK though – never dumb down!
The quick-fire continued into Act Two, I loved the premise, and the execution, enjoyed the headlines, and was even pleased when the almost-obligatory Benny Hill Chase turned up!
Inevitably there’s a cross-section of talent in such a production, but one can actually see the performers learning from one-another as they go. I was lucky enough to review this show last year too, and I am aware of some who have grown in ability and confidence. Most actors improve by watching what others do.
It’s not easy to remember to smile when you’re trying to remember lines and business, we all know that, but if I could speak to directors of any production like this I would urge that smiling starts at the first rehearsal. There’s a reason why actors normally have such beautiful white teeth! Smiling gets you noticed, and on-stage it forgives ANYTHING!