"Shout! The Mod Musical" has an exclamation mark in the title, which inevitably garners a certain level of expectation: you want explosive energy and a load of volume. It doesn't disappoint.
This colourful, loud and cheerful show is performed with gusto and passion.
Returning for their second year, Max Emerson's production is made up almost entirely of graduates from The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. With a small cast of just six and a three-piece band, this show promised to be a "non stop journey through the infectious pop anthems and ballads of the 60's" following the coming of age tale of five young girls as they discover their own voices and forge their own paths. As a musical review we get to see a range of 60's scenarios played out as each colour coded girl steps into the spotlight to talk directly, in some cases quite literally, to the audience. From celebrity crushes, to the contraceptive pill, experimenting with drugs to experiencing heartache, each story has its own song or two to back it up.
This show does so much right. The five voices of the cast carry effortlessly the heady responsibility of classics such as "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Gold Finger" and do it maturely. Rarely in up-and-coming musical theatre do you see young voices that already have such understanding of how to let their voices blend in unison, when to pull back and let others shine and when to belt it out. These girls sound like they've been singing together for years. Not only this but they managed to keep the stage feeling full. At just 22 years old Emily Chesterton soared throughout as Orange Girl, and her duet of "You're My World" with Hayley Hampson in the latter part of the show was nothing short of stunning.
At times some of the scenes feel a little silly and perhaps with the show having been edited down for the Fringe, the overall storyline feels disjointed at parts. Some of the cast have a fantastic understanding of how to sound contemporary and still be authentic, but I felt like others didn't. This slightly diluted the strong character of this show as it seemed a couple of the songs weren't sure what decade to attach themselves to.
This colourful, loud and cheerful show is performed with gusto and passion. It's belted out with skill over and above what you'd expect from a young cast. They give it everything they've got and it shows. Team that with songs you know and love, a couple you love that you might have forgotten about, and a cast of six genuinely likeable characters and you could do an awful lot worse than spending an hour being charmed by this delightful show.