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It's curtains up for Ipswich Gang Show

PUBLISHED: 15:51 05 April 2017 | UPDATED: 15:51 05 April 2017

The 2017 Ipswich Gang Show runs at the Great School Theatre, Ipswich, until Saturday. Photo: Zoe Burgess

The 2017 Ipswich Gang Show runs at the Great School Theatre, Ipswich, until Saturday. Photo: Zoe Burgess

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The gang's all here and they're ready to entertain you.

It features a score of musical, dance and comedy numbers including a special Harry Potter inspired segment by the mini-gang. Photo: Zoe BurgessIt features a score of musical, dance and comedy numbers including a special Harry Potter inspired segment by the mini-gang. Photo: Zoe Burgess

The gang’s all here and they’re ready to entertain you.

Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Beavers, Explorers and Rangers from in and around Ipswich perform their traditional gang show at the Great School Theatre, Ivry Street, from tonight until Saturday.

The 80-strong cast, ranging from 10-years-old upwards, and 40-plus backstage crew have been hard at work preparing a score of musical, dance and comedy numbers.

Wednesday’s dress rehearsal provided a glimpse of the feelgood fun people are in for. Look forward to great Elvis and Stevie Wonder medleys and songs by David Bowie, Michael Jackson and George Ezra. The mini-gang’s Harry Potter inspired It’s a Kind of Magic segment will have audiences awwing.

Splash Splash was a particular feat of choreography. Photo: Zoe BurgessSplash Splash was a particular feat of choreography. Photo: Zoe Burgess

“The mini-gang do their own thing completely; they have their own rehearsals, their own production team,” says producer Keith Smith, taking a break from the pre-show madness happening around him.

“We all seem to be having a good time and enjoying it. There are lots of new faces... People leave for whatever reason, they go off to university, decide Scouts and Guides aren’t for them so we’re always recuriting each year. This year we’ve recruited more than normal.”

The energetic opening includes music by the gang show founder Ralph Reader, albeit with a modern twist.

“Ralph Reader and the original gang shows finished in the 1970s so a lot of that matieral is old. While we use some of it you have to try to bring it up to date and appeal to the audience you’ve got.”

Tickets for the show, featuring an 80-strong cast aged 10 upwards, are available now. Photo: Zoe BurgessTickets for the show, featuring an 80-strong cast aged 10 upwards, are available now. Photo: Zoe Burgess

New faces on the production team help bring new ideas.

“You’ve got to appeal to youngsters because if they come here and see it they may think ‘I want to be up there’. The biggest advert for people to join the Scouts and guides is the show,” adds Keith.

I enjoyed the medleys, particularly the Elvis segment which closed the first half. The harmonies during The Choir and Note Perfect Harmony numbers were great. The choreography during Dance till you’re Dead was tight.

The Water Water sketch was funny, I hope they leave in some of the ad-libs that arose out of the dress rehearsal’s doorbell difficulties.

The phobias comedy routine was funny although the Dessert Island Discs sketch may cause any journalists or broadcasters in the audience to break out in a cold sweat.

• The show runs 7.15pm nightly, with a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday. Click here for tickets and more details.

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