Posts Tagged ‘Jon Hawkins’

Another impulsive evening which paid off; I’d hesitated about schlepping across London for something I thought might have dated – but how can a 21-year-old show set 25 years before that be dated? If anything, the mid-60’s are even cooler today than they were in the late 80’s when this show was first seen; maybe even cooler than the 60’s themselves!

The Heather Brothers musical has 29 short songs and a fairly flimsy story, but it’s what it says on the can – a slice of…. I wouldn’t want to defend them in a plagiarism action, as there are many very recognisable melodies, riffs and even whole songs, though I think this is intentional.

We’re in the Club-a-Go-Go, with a band at one end and a bar at the other. A revolve enables us to move to both the ladies and the gents where some of the funniest scenes are played out. Four boys (Rossano Canzio, Jon Hawkins, Adam Welsh and Robin Rayner) and four girls (Stephanie Ticknell-Smith, Nicola McQuillan, Lea Bourne and Natasha Barnes – another one from Spring Awakening popping up) on a Saturday night out are doing what boys and girls did on a Saturday night then as now – drinking, dancing, flirting and chatting up. Bar owner Eric (Jason Griffiths) presides over affairs.

Though I wasn’t entirely convinced that traverse staging was best, John Plews¬†production is very good and Racky Plews choreography absolutely superb. The performances from a (mostly) young cast are uniformly excellent (four of them also taking turns to play in the band) and I find myself crediting a casting director for the second time this month – Amy O’Neill hasn’t put a foot wrong.

This is a delightful, nostalgic and charming show which lifted my day and sent me home smiling. Upstairs at the Gatehouse is a well run unsubsidised family theatre. Quite how they can stage work of this quality when a week of full houses probably brings in the same as 25% of one full house of a West End musical is beyond me, but long may they continue.

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