Book: Phillip George and David Lowenstein
Director: Francesca Goodridge
Reviewer: John Roberts
The book and plot of Shout: The Mod Musical isn’t going to win any awards for the most creative or original storyline, in fact it’s so thin it’s almost invisible.
Five girls (Red, Blue, Orange, Green and Yellow) are all struggling to find out who they are during the ever changing and sexually awakening 60s, so resort to asking for advice from Gwendolyn Holmes – Shout magazine’s rather prim and proper agony aunt. Now throw in some 60s songs and you have the plot of Shout: The Mod Musical (see I told you.)
What you can’t deny though is the strength of this debut fringe production from Boheme Productions – created from recent graduates from LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.) The direction from Francesca Goodridge is tight and assured and allows her cast enough freedom to roam slightly off the book and add in their own little moments – especially Katie Tyler as agony aunt Gwendolyn Holmes (considering the size of the rôle, I would be making the most of it too).
Alongside Goodridge’s direction choreographer Kieran Parrott evokes the era with energetic routines that not only serve the show well, but also bring much needed layers to the characters. The bright rainbow girls all shine, Hayley Hampson as Blue surprises all with her revelation and knocks out some stunning vocals. Emily Chesterton as Orange gives a grounded and understated performance. Miriam O’Brien is a hoot as the sexually aggressive Green while Evie Pickerill’s Paul McCartney obsessed American Yellow is a delight. However it is the performance of Sarah Folwell as Red that really radiates above all. As a group, the vocal harmonies are pitch perfect and one can’t help but clap and tap along to hit after hit.
The colourful theme is continued with a strong lighting design from Adam Murdoch and the three piece band sounds great under the musical direction of Henry Burnett (however the choice of walk in music, could be thought out a little better and more themed to the era of the show.)
Shout: The Mod Musical is a stunning fringe debut from Boheme Productions and stands out as one of the strongest of the musical revivals currently being presented at this years Fringe.
Runs until 24th August