Celebration: Revue 2018

Jan 20 2018 | By More

★★★☆☆     Magic in Musselburgh

Brunton Theatre: Thurs 18 – Sat 20 Jan 2018
Review by Martin Gray

The Honest Toun’s am dram clan banishes the winter blues with a production filled with fun and talent in the 2018 version of their annual revue: Celebration.

‘WE LOVE YOU GRANDAD!’ yelled the woman in the seat behind me after a rousing Do Wah Diddy by four likely lads. And that sums up the spirit of the annual revue from Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association – unfettered fun for all ages, by all ages.

The full cast of MAMA’s revue 2018. Pic: Musselburgh Camara Club

The show opens with the entire ensemble singing Oh What a Night! before the first of a Jukebox sequence, giving friends, families and the curious a taste of favourites from down the generations.

Do Wah Diddy was among the group numbers, along with a suitably romantic Can’t Help Falling in Love, a rousing Rockin’ Robin and a ‘shooper’ Shoop Shoop Song. The highlight of the section, though, was Carla Allan’s Stupid Cupid, as she nailed that delightfully high last syllable of the title.

Then it’s world tour time, beginning with Fiona Tate’s Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, delivered with a vulnerability that suits the song. Lynsey MacKenzie’s confident Walking in Memphis was a treat, while Dougal Affleck’s Galway Girl – complete with fiddle breaks – proved a real crowdpleaser.

Seven of the talented ladies took us to Budapest (a song by George Ezra, who’s popular with the younger set, apparently…) before Bob Crawford brushed off his Italian for On An Evening in Roma, which was a little bit bonkers and a whole lot brilliant.


Loud waistcoats and high kicks are compulsory for New York, New York, which Greg Holstead and the entire company delivered with aplomb. Everyone remained on stage for a slightly too dour rendition of Africa, but things soon cheered up…

Fiona Tate. Pic: Musselburgh Camara Club

When you’re in Musselburgh and four lovely lassies are singing The Proclaimers’ Letter From America, how could you not be happy? Things got even better when the gents joined them, and a few more women, to give Let’s Get Married a bit of laldy.

With the lads apparently a little worse for wear, and the women also having partaken of a few wee nips, they nailed the emotion of the song, the whole thing proving rather touching. Shout by the ladies was suitably singalong, oh to be down there joining in with that opening We-e-e-elllllllllll!

The kids did a fine job of putting the heart into Touch the Sky before the full company, – men on one side, ladies on the other – gave us a battle of the sexes Real Gone Kid, closing the first act.

Things kicked off again with an ad, but a rather wonderful one, as a real-live Injun Chief (leave your political correctness at the door!) told us to get booking for MAMA’s April production of Calamity Jane – and if this Chiefy’s in it, I’m there. To further persuade us, a couple of songs from that selfsame show turned up in the this Musicals section.

frankly magnificent

But first, a true highlight of the show – Anna MacKinnon, Cathy McAlpine and Evelyn Purves’ frankly magnificent presentation of You Gotta Have a Gimmick from Gypsy. Dressed as three, shall we say, seasoned strippers, the hilarious trio sold the song with great gusto, flashing lights, refined dancing and best of all, that trumpet.

The female members of the MAMA ensemble. Pic Musselburgh Camara Club

A couple of Les Miserables numbers – the rowdy Master of the House and heartrending Stars – benefited from splendid staging and harmonies before Claire Bayne justified her solo moment on There’s a Fine, Fine Line from Avenue Q with a sweetly precise, emotionally true performance.

And then, that Calamity Jane moment, as a full-voiced Jenna Lee awed the residents of Deadwood with tales of the Windy City, before Dougal Affleck brought the romance with a melodic Higher Than a Hawk.

The decidedly feminine Monty Roy made a surprisingly effective Gene Kelly before being joined by colleagues for a taptastic Singin’ in the Rain. The sequence closed with Hairspray’s floor-filling You Can’t Stop the Beat, delivered by the younger women.

best disco togs

The final section, Party, began with ladies and gents in best disco togs for September – thank wardrobe supremo Penny Riddoch – before Jimmy Redmond and Sylvia McConnell teamed up for the equally classic I’ve Had the Time of My Life, delivering a heartfelt rendition. Sweet-voiced Linda McLeish led the company in I Wanna Dance With Somebody, before the fabulous finale that was Love Shack.

Michael, Tony, Greg and Gordon. Pic Musselburgh Camara Club

Duncan Whatmore shimmied like a sex god and Lynsey MacKenzie was movin’ and groovin’, infecting the cast with a Bacchanalian beat. Director/choreographer Lisa McLeod really had saved the best till last, and if the whole audience had been invited to join the onstage antics, no one would’ve resisted.

Throughout, the company benefited from a tight band under musical director Laura Paterson, every orchestration pitch perfect.

Celebration is fun from start to finish. It’s just a shame the Deadwood Stage wasn’t outside, I’m ready for Calamity Jane right now…

Running time: 2 hours (including one interval)
The Brunton, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA.
Thursday 18 – Saturday 20 January 2018
Evenings: 7.30pm; matinee, Sat, 2pm.
Tickets and details: www.thebrunton.co.uk.

MAMA website: www.mamaonline.co.uk.
Facebook: @mamamusselburgh
Twitter: @MAMAmusselburgh.

MAMA’s Calamity Jane
The Brunton, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh EH21 6AA. Phone booking: 0131 665 2240
Thursday 12 – Saturday 14 April 2018
Evenings: 7.30pm; Matinee, Sat, 2pm.
Tickets and details: www.thebrunton.co.uk.

The full cast of MAMA’s
Revue 2018: Celebration.
Pic: Musselburgh Camara Club


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