Shouting about nostlagia

Shout! The Musical: Theatre Royal Norwich until SaturdayThere's a clear difference between a musical and a music revue. The essence of the musical is that the music and the lyrics, be it the Gershwins or Lloyd Webber, are specially written for it.

Ivan Howlett

Shout! The Musical: Theatre Royal Norwich

There's a clear difference between a musical and a music revue. The essence of the musical is that the music and the lyrics, be it the Gershwins or Lloyd Webber, are specially written for it. A musical revue has somebody else's songs strung together round a theme. 'Shout' is the latter and the theme is the swinging sixties.

The images are all there - Mary Quant, Carnaby Street, Twiggy, the mini (car and skirt) and the Beatles. It was my era and I confess I now look at old my photographs with some embarrassment. Perhaps in a few decades time so will today's spiky haired young folk, desperate to remove their horrendous tattoos,


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With a music revue, the meagreness of the plotline depends on how many songs you want to squeeze in. Thirty-two Sixties numbers, resurrecting Lulu, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Mary Hopkin, Chubby Checker and the rest are shoe-horned into this show. It means there isn't much space for linking material, which is perhaps just as well because there's barely a shred of wit in it.

There was more to the Sixties than music, fashion, iconic TV adverts and swinging. The other backcloths included the Pill, the Kennedy assassination, student protest, civil rights riots and Vietnam. Yet this show, rather blindly, just soaks itself in sixties freedom and fun as a brand new with-it women's magazine, 'Shout!' proclaims the values of the decade.

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It's a show that's been devised rather than written. The premise is that three girls come down from the North to find fame, stardom, Mr Right or just enjoyment in London. . But rather than West End bright lights they hit downtown Peckham staying above Best Cuts, a hairdressing salon run by Aunt Yvonne (Su Pollard)

Claire Sweeney leads Donna Steele and Shona White as the young singing and dancing threesome. They perform with energy and unrelenting brightness. Well enough done, but not special. Not much more than a song parade..

The bright spot in the show is Su Pollard who is a skilled musical performer to her very roots. She sings, dances and delights us with non-stop show-stealing comic business.

Let me warn you I may be out of step here. The audience seemed to love having memories jogged by songs, which following one after another, took them back to their salad days. I just remember them with more passion.

Ivan Howlett

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