Over the winter-solstice theatre dark nights I had intended to post my notes on everything I saw in December, but it didn’t seem to work that way. I’ll work through the backlog as I can, even though the busier schedules of January and February mean that programs are piling up again.
SHOUT! is a 1960s musical revue produced by Round Barns Productions, which played at C103 in early January. Kristen Finlay directed it, and Sally Hunt was the musical director. During the show, five young women in England (Leslie Caffaro, Nicole English, Kristen Finlay, Erin Foster-O’Riordan, Monica Roberts) move through the years from 1962 to 1970, with songs, dancing, and glimpses of their lives in that era. They’re called “The Red Girl”, “The Orange Girl”, “The Yellow Girl” and so on, after one of those magazine-article personality quizzes (voiceover by John Dolphin), and the quick lists of traits are turned into five distinct and attractive characters by the performers.
A magazine called Shout provided a framework moving through the show, with the characters reading articles about 1960s phenomena like Twiggy, the Beatles, and the sexual revolution. John Dolphin’s voiceovers provided assorted magazine content, and the characters also wrote letters to “Gwendolyn Holmes” a women’s-magazine advice columnist of the era (voice by Elizabeth Marsh) who responded to most problems with suggestions like cheering oneself up by getting a new hairstyle. Much of the advice and other magazine content was terrible from a 2015 point of view (the cigarettes diet, the asbestos dress).
The music was great, mostly songs I was familiar with. I loved the “Coldfinger” parody of the James Bond theme, “I Only Want to Be With You”, and “Shout!”, and the “You’re My World/All I See is You” medley made me cry. And there was enough character development arc under the mostly-lighthearted show to provide satisfying outcomes for the characters “I got pregnant!”, “I got sober”, and “I got Penelope!” Especially the one who takes over for the advice columnist.
Pingback: History + storytelling = autobiography | Ephemeral Pleasures