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Gang Show 2005 Press Review

Now that's what I call entertainment!

DOES anybody else fill Eden Court's stage with so many performers and so many colourful costumes? Does any show generate as much excitement and as much pleasure? Does any company display such enthusiasm and such unaffected charm?

I don't think so - and standards previously set are exceeded by the present Inverness Area Gang Show which finishes a four-night run tomorrow (Saturday). This fast-moving spectacle brought the first night audience to its feet and had them cheering - and how producer Derek Gardiner, the 133 members of his Gang and the unseen army of backstage helpers deserved it!

From the opening selection of show tunes which introduced the entire Gang, dressed in red or white T-shirts and black slacks, to the traditional finale when serried ranks of uniformed Cubs, Scouts and Guides reprised a couple of tunes from the show, a couple of Ralph Reader songs and a spine-tingling version of Freddie And The Dreamers' hit, "I Understand Just How You Feel", with the Cubs parading into the auditorium to link hands for its "Auld Lang Syne" counter-melody and nine year-old Cameron Smith of Crown Cubs stepped forward to sing the verse to "These Are the Times", this was a show with a feel-good factor that shot right off the scale.

There were comic sketches performed with equal aplomb by leaders and kids. Gang Show veterans Russell Lees and Iain MacDonald even got laughs when they didn't get laughs - but the quartet of girls were just as assured when they lamented "What's The Matter With Boys?". The projection and timing of the young trio who performed this year's "Three Of A Kind" routine was just as impressive - and the Cubs' Robin Hood skit was full of witty lines and winning performances.

Other highlights were the production numbers "Eastern Promise" - a sequinned, spangled spectacle that involved the entire Gang and lived up to its title, a musical tour of the United States, a funky selection of pop hits from "Dirty Dancing", a drainpipe-trousered tribute to Showaddywaddy and three novelties - the ghostly '"Variations" dance routine, the percussive "We Got Rhythm" and the knockabout "Hoedown".

The producer has a fondness for show-tunes but he also has a knack for picking pop songs like "Hey Baby!" that the Gang immediately relate to and he capitalised on the presence of Stephanie Smith, a trained dancer who not only led the poised dance routines but soloed with balletic grace in "Eastern Promise" and "Hoedown".

Her lissome team looked and acted the part of the famous Tiller Girls in "Curtain Up" and were equally impressive as the sinuous Siamese troupe in "Eastern Promise".

Indeed, choreographer Fiona Riddell brought the dance element to its highest level in this edition of the Gang Show and trained the entire company in some basic moves which were performed with precision and added immeasurably to "We've Got Rhythm'" and "Showaddywaddy Time".

Now, how do you follow that?

Article reproduced courtesy of the Inverness Courier, 08/04/05.
Amendments have been made to this article, such as name-corrections.


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