Join the Gang on the yellow brick road at this year’s Todmorden Gang Show and you won’t be disappointed.
It’s show of two halves in that the first act has a reflective and natural feel while the main numbers in the second half of the show are pure showbiz exhuberance, writes John Greenwood.
The standard of singing is high from the off, an uptempo scene setter, before the Gang Show Juniors take to the stage.
The juniors seem to grow in confidence every year and audiences will love to enter their Land of Make Believe toy shop, which also includes “My Favourite Things” and “Puff The Magic Dragon” as well as the segment’s title song.
Both showpiece numbers from the first half are reflective while containing their share of upbeat numbers.
Yanomamo, right down to the soldier ants and preceded by a fine dance routine, sings of the struggle to maintain nature’s balance. Rhythm of Life draws on the spiritual and carries a dash gospel fervour with it too.
The second half opens full of spirit with a performance of numbers based around “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie and, with the stage bathed in emerald light, perhaps the showstopper of this year’s production takes pride of place.
Emerald City is beautifully and a little eerily lit as numbers from both film and stage versions of the Wizard of Oz are confidently delivered, not least “Follow The Yellow Brick Road.”
In the usual Gang style, there are some comic touches to punctuate the musical items, with Girls Night Out, The Legal System and especially Cinderlla In One Act (and featured in act two!) the highlights.
A word of praise for the wardrobe team - they have designed costumes that are just perfect for every number this year, from the earthy tones of Yanomamo to the bright costumes in which the Gang take the audience to Oz. By the close of the finale this talented young cast are on the Crest of a Wave, and you will be too.
- There is still time to get your tickets for this year’s Todmorden Gang Show.
It runs Wednesay, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (7.30pm). Tickets can be bought in person from Todmorden Information Centre, by ringing 01706 810821 or by logging on to www.ticketsource.co.uk - with any unsold seats available on the door on the night.