And They Played Shang-A-Lang

Aug 14 2017 | By More

★★★☆☆  Bags of fun

The Stand (Venue 319): Fri 4 – Sun 27 Aug 2017
Review by Lucy Evans

Back for a sixth year at the Stand, Shooglypeg’s production of And They Played Shang-A-Lang is as buoyant as ever.

The strong cast succeed in transporting all ages in The Stand Venue 6 back to the Seventies for the show which is written, directed and narrated by Derek Douglas. The result is a joy to watch.

The Cast of And They Played Shang-A-Lang. Pic Shoogly Peg

James Douglas has been killed in a car crash, and his niece decides to stage the last show he was working on in commemoration. What follows is a series of colourful sketch-like flashbacks depicting growing up in Edinburgh in the 1970s, packed with some of the era’s greatest hits.

Adolescent awkwardness is relived via the 11-strong ensemble, who make great use of the small stage. Comic nostalgia is achieved from the start – the opening school sequence bustles with the energy of the first scene to Grease, but here hair gel is swapped for 70s mullet wigs and bomber jackets for school uniforms.

The comic romantic shyness of pre-teens is particularly well captured. The boys – Taylor Clark, Callum Ford, James Scott and Matt Hall – all huddle round to discuss their first romantic experiences, with the girls – Becca Wicksted, Linzi Devers, Zôe McRae and Roza Stevenson – quickly following suit.

Overall the ensemble is strong, with a particular highlight coming at the school disco (of course), when they are joined by Mairi Shanks, Cameron Downing and Kirsty Nicholson-Bennett. While many references are directed at those who grew up in the Seventies, these moments span generations.


Each flashback is introduced by narrator Derek Douglas, who also wrote and directed the show.  The large number of different scenes allows the ensemble to take on a wide range of roles, and they do so with ease. Sometimes the sketches can feel sandwiched in though, such as a showing of a P1 nativity.

This clumsy inclusion is forgiven as the play within the play is hilarious – with baby Jesus even getting kicked offstage at one point (whether intentionally or not, it doesn’t matter). The disjointed scenes also mean the ending feels abrupt when it comes, but the actors do so well feeding off the enjoyment of the audience that it hardly matters.

The show is packed with Seventies classics, from Abba’s Waterloo to Blockbuster by The Sweet, and of course the title track by the Bay City Rollers, Shang-A-Lang. Although tunefulness is not always the top priority, with the help of supportive backing tracks these energetic songs are rousing and fully enjoyable.

Darker moments are also strengthened with music, with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody used as a moving eulogy to a lost friend. It starts powerful and emotive, but the song is the only one played in its entirety and is more than the plot requires. Nevertheless the songs are all audience favourites and strong points in the show.

With a great cast, And They Played Shang-A-Lang is a nostalgic treat.

Running time: 1 hour
Stand Comedy Club 6, The Place, 34-38 York Place, EH1 3HU (Venue 319)
Friday 4 – Sunday 27 Aug 2017
Daily (not 14): 1.35pm
Tickets and details:

Shooglypeg Website:
Facebook: @shooglypegpro
Twitter: @shooglypegpro


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Comments (6)

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  1. Olga Clegg says:

    Brilliant, hilarious and poignant at the same time.

    • King Elaine says:

      I agree with the previous reviewer that it was an excellent performance

  2. Elaine says:

    Excellent show – brilliant performances by all

  3. King Elaine says:

    Brilliant, well acted and very funny

  4. Tony Lyon says:

    Hilarious, brought back so many memories been a teenager in the 70s.
    Great performances by all, thanks for the memories guys and gals

  5. Sheila Purdie says:

    This is a wonderful show combining songs dances and laughter. Teenage angst and loss also present in this fast moving show. Great fun and enjoyment for anyone. Thought provoking and brilliant. Go see!