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Preview: Ipswich Gang Show 2015, Great Hall Theatre, Ipswich School, Ivry Street, to April 11

PUBLISHED: 09:21 08 April 2015 | UPDATED: 09:25 08 April 2015

Ipswich Gang Show 2015. Photos: Zoe Burgess

Ipswich Gang Show 2015. Photos: Zoe Burgess

I don't recall my Boys Brigade troupe organising shows like this, more's the pity.

Ipswich Gang Show 2015. Photos: Zoe BurgessIpswich Gang Show 2015. Photos: Zoe Burgess

Comprising Guides, Scouts, Rainbows, ESUs, Brownies, Beavers, Explorers and more from Ipswich and surrounding areas, planning for this year’s show started last June with auditions in October and November and regular rehearsals soon after.

A lot of work has gone into it, with the production team expanding and a new team taking over the Mini-Gang segment made up of the younger cast members.

“We’ve about 13 in the gang this year, which is a good number; and about 63 in the cast,” said director Keith Smith at last night’s final dress rehearsal.

“They’ve worked really hard and are looking forward to putting on another great show.”

Ipswich Gang Show 2015. Photos: Zoe BurgessIpswich Gang Show 2015. Photos: Zoe Burgess

With 23 segments including music, dance and comedy spread over two acts you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy.

“We’ve got themed routines, like Hooray for Henson and the Mini-Gang’s own version of a superhero story.

“We’ve got some modern stuff in there, like Happy; and we’ve gone back to Boney M because they’ve got some fantastic songs. Then we’ve got the comedy sketches and things.”

The opening was energetic, funky and guaranteed to get audiences in the right mood.

Take Four, inspired by Australian comedy group Axis of Awesome’s YouTube smash suggesting every hit song is based on the same four chords, was an eye-opening favourite.

I enjoyed the wonderfully choreographed Dem Bones number, which youngsters will enjoy, along with aforementioned Mini-Gang segment with its nods to comic book movie culture and heart-warming message about friendship.

The London Town and Boney M themed numbers will please grandparents and parents, while Tell My Father, a poignant and nostalgic nod to those who died during the First World War will resonate with many.

Devil Went Down to Georgia was sassy but the “ladies” of Let’s Go Girls out-sassed them, never has the song Man, I Feel Like a Woman been so apt.

I’m sorry to say it, but as good as the women of The Devil Went Down to Georgia were; they were out-sassed by the “ladies” of Let’s Go Girls. Never has the song Man, I Feel Like a Woman been so apt.

Hooray for Henson, a tribute to the creator of The Muppets and similar shows, took me back and the first half ended really strongly - with Lewis Jones’ vocals during Pharrell’s Happy a high note.

The Burt Bacharach tribute in the second half was good too, I forgot how many classic songs he was behind; all done justice by the cast.

It wasn’t all about just music. The sketches were particularly strong this year. My favourites were Crossed Words, set on a train; the desert set Oasis with its great pay-off and Blackberry and Apple which poked fun at our obsession with the latest phones.

Ending strongly, and very explosively to the surprise of those in the audience and those on stage, it was a great team effort - which is what Scouting, Guiding, etc is all all about.

The fun everybody was having was infectious and, although there were a few teething problems, notably with sound and some slow scene transitition, they’ll be riding on the crest of a wave come opening night.

Tickets are available from 01473 657082, Craftability in St Lawrence Street, Ipswich or www.ipswichgangshow.org.uk

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