By WAYNE SAVAGE, entertainments writer
Friday, April 6, 2012
It was once said that “every night of every year, somewhere in the world a Gang Show is playing”. Next week, it’s Ipswich’s turn.
Rehearsals began in mid-November for this year’s production, which marks the 80th anniversary of the worldwide show’s origins in 1932 with Ralph Reader.
Stars who treaded the boards of a Gang Show when they were young include Sir Harry Secombe, Sir Richard Attenborough, Peter Sellers, Darryl Stewart, Max Bygraves, Spike Milligan, Jim Davidson, Norrie Paramour, Dick Emery, Tony Hancock and many more.
This year’s event, at the Great School Theatre, Ivry Street, April 11-14, also marks the 40th anniversary of the Ipswich Gang Show being awarded the coveted Red Scarf which is only awarded to Gang Shows that meet the high standards of the tradition.
Nearly 100 Scouts, Guides and Cubs as well as their leaders from 20 plus groups from the town and the surrounding area will perform sketches and many well know songs from today and yesteryear, as well as the traditional Gang Show songs which sets it apart from other variety shows.
Backing them up will be a behind the scenes crew making scenery, sewing costumes and making coffees.
Numbers will include a selection of Barry Manilow songs, a traditional Māori Haka, a trip down to Dixie land and songs by The Monkees; a fitting tribute to band member Davy Jones who recently died, although the segment was planned long before
It won’t be the only tribute.
Sadly this year will be the first without the Gang’s much loved Roy Goody, who passed away late last year.
“We’ve got an item in there honouring his dedication to the show and Scouting called Uncle Roy, that‘s what he was always known as to everybody,” says the show’s Keith Smith.
Another special moment will be the Mini Gang, a selection of 18 Cub Scouts aged eight and up who will treat audiences to their own mini show of slapstick comedy and songs.
“We usually offer the chance for the cast to do an item. They’re doing one this year called Musical Madness which is songs from musicals. That’s been put together by Westgate Rangers. They’ve done the lot, when you see it, it’s very good.
“They’ve all had input into it. That’s the whole point of letting the cast have a go you know? Get as many of them doing something and realising how difficult it actually is,” laughs Keith.
Tower Ramparts shoppers may’ve thought they were witnessing an early April Fools trick around 1.15pm last Saturday when youngsters descended on the main floor and started striking a pose.
What they were getting was a sneak peek at the show.
Dancing to Rose Royce’s popular 70s hit Carwash, the girls pushed their way through crowds to build up the 15-strong dance group.
Also know as a flash mob, made popular from the T-Mobile adverts, it was designed to shock those around them; with seemingly normal shoppers window shopping or just chatting to friends before breaking off and joining the dance.
Tickets for this show are available by calling the box office on 01473 657082, visiting Craftability, St Lawrence Street, in Ipswich town centre or online at www.ipswichgangshow.org.uk
Tickets cost £8.50 for adults, £6 children and concessions. There’s also a matinee on April 14 at 2.15pm; all tickets for this performance will be £6.
Riding on the crest of a wave - read the online review of the show.