This year’s Adelaide Gang Show, “The Gang’s All Here” marks the 60th anniversary of AGS productions. Whilst prevailing public health restrictions put a halt to last year’s show, the Scouting community has demonstrated its renowned resilience with a mighty bounce back effort currently playing at the Scott Theatre. And once again Maddie Gray heads an enormous production team which has harnessed a huge cast of Scouts and Guides. Together they have created a vibrant and energetic showpiece. Maddie is ably supported by Head Choreographer Amy Paech, MD Dave Knott with his excellent band and Stage Manager Matthew Ingham with the task of keeping everything together backstage. I do hasten to add that all of the above lead teams committed to each individual discipline. I also acknowledge there are many others dealing with production issues such as wardrobe, business/FOH, property, makeup, lighting and stuff backstage. They each and every one add value to this huge undertaking. A veritable cast of hundreds!
In the first half I liked the “Statues” segment very much. It had imaginative and creative movement, some powerful duet work particularly ” It’s a work of art- Masterpiece!” The concept of art coming to life has great comic potential. Crisper timing and pace will improve the presentation, but for a first performance it works well. The “Break Up” segment, whilst a little ragged, also entertains. The chanting, driving beat of “The Boiz” chorus is most effective. Indeed the musical strength throughout the show is driven by the enthusiastic chorus work. In the “Atlantis” finale the catchy melodic “Praise You” is counterbalanced by the insistent and raucous “Let’s get Loud”.
The second half raises the standard considerably. The initial hesitancy and nervousness is tempered by a concerted and concentrated effort delivered by everybody. The “Monarch Song” stands out as a well paced and considered piece. It is delivered with good timing and with panache! I did like the presentation and vocal work of “Feeling Good” in the opening segment. “Revolution” is an interesting piece but needs a more on pace attack to give it a lift. The creative segment “Choose your own Adventure Book” led by a youthful Famous Four is great fun. In the second half the energetic business with the life-size dancing doll is a well choreographed attention grabber! It needs just a little more coordination to get the best out of a clever routine at which stage it could become a showstopper! Having said that, the two puppeteers did a great job.
In the finale “From Now On” is stirring stuff indeed. There is far too much to like and admire for me to cover all in this review. I am left in no doubt that all aspects of the production will improve dramatically as the short season proceeds. There’s nothing like testing your skills and talents in front of a live audience. Nothing like it in the world! Now finally I must pay homage to the movers and shakers within AGS for their encouragement of originality. I do note with pleasure the number of original pieces of music and the quantity of original scripts presented throughout. To this end I am full of praise for songwriters Briana McTier, Nick Klau and Kat Medlow et al. You are all contributors to that important process of creativity. It is a fine showing by all concerned with the production of “The Gang’s All Here!”. And you are!