Preview: Ipswich Gang Show, Great School Theatre, Ipswich, March 30-April 2

Ipswich Gang Show 2016. Photos: Zoe Burgess

Ipswich Gang Show 2016. Photos: Zoe Burgess - Credit: Archant

Critiquing dress rehearsals is hard. A chance for the cast to iron out any last kinks and help shed remaining nerves, it’s only a hint of what to expect when you’re performing to a hopefully packed theatre.

Ipswich Gang Show 2016. Photos: Zoe Burgess

Ipswich Gang Show 2016. Photos: Zoe Burgess - Credit: Archant

A live audience changes the whole dynamic. Songs and, more importantly, comedy sketches play completely differently when there are people to play off. There’s a different energy too as nerves turn to excitement.

If last night was any indication, the cast - made up of Scouts, Explorers, Beavers, Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers - have little to worry about.

No, it wasn’t perfect. There were a few sound issues and some of the scene transitions were a tad slow but that’s what dress rehearsals are for. Bear in mind none of them are seasoned performers. What they are is determined to have fun and make sure you do too.

It’s the show’s seventh year at Ipswich School and the 78th annual performance. It also marked the 20th year of the Mini-Gang section, where younger members take control. This year’s sketch was a Doctor Who inspired trip back in time and it was nice to see Tom Baker’s Doctor get a look in over modern counterparts. It really summed up the ethos of Scouting and Guiding too.

Ipswich Gang Show 2016. Photos: Zoe Burgess

Ipswich Gang Show 2016. Photos: Zoe Burgess - Credit: Archant

You don’t have to have been in either movement to enjoy the show, although bits like the 12 Days of Scout Camp will strike more of a chord if you were.

There were lots of nice harmonies and standout solo performances during the evening, which zipped along. I really enjoyed the many medleys and mash-ups, particularly during the Queen and Battle of the Sexes segments; I’m a sucker for Kelly Clarkson.

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Some of the comedy numbers worked better than others, something that could change in front of an actual audience; my favourites were the royal baby themed Charlotte and George and particularly Once in Every Show. Nor do I think it’s the first time some of the male cast have bust some moves to Beyonce’s Single Ladies either.

I thought the Love is on the Radio, Senses and The Clappers segments were clever and something different. Standout moments for me though were the cast’s almost gospel take on Snow Patrol’s Run and an acoustic version of Vance Joy’s Riptide.

Ipswich Gang Show 2016. Photos: Zoe Burgess

Ipswich Gang Show 2016. Photos: Zoe Burgess - Credit: Archant

A great advert for the Scouts and Guides.

Wayne Savage

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