The Younger Generation Theatre Group

Ashcroft Theatre

Reviewed by Theo Spring

The theme of this year’s YG annual show - their 26th - was well devised as there was
certainly talent in abundance amongst the 67 performers, covering a wide age range. In YG, the solos remain unattributed under their ethos that ‘everyone is a star’.

With ample opportunity to showcase song, dance and sketches within the setting of a different TV talent shows, it was the 1970’s Opportunity Knocks, with an enthusiastic ‘Hughie Green’ compere, which brought the pianist/singer to the stage with The Man with the Child in his Eyes. The three Mini-Zavaronies (a tribute to Lena Zavaroni) smiled through Swinging on a Star and the YG boys, as keep fit army recruits, did a very funny take-off of the 1181 runners - albeit the 1181 guys were not yet invented!

In Got to Dance, an unusual tap routine, set to classical music was delivered with precision, where Line Dancing which followed was exuberant. Two songs followed from The Choir in very good voice and the Stars in Their Eyes theme brought in Madonna, Olivia Newton John and Elvis lookalikes. How do you replicate Dancing on Ice here? Use roller skates of course and this number, set to Torvill and Dean’s famous Bolero and costumed, as they had been, in floaty mauve, was skilfully choreographed and, for me, the show’s triumph. A nod to the ‘find a star’ shows brought musical numbers from a variety of famous musical - Do-Re-Mi danced and sung and a commanding Jesus Christ Superstar amongst them.

Complete with swivel chairs, The Voice showcased some commanding numbers, particularly two of the boys centre stage, and Musicality brought more well known songs into the show with slick choreography in One from A Chorus Line.

Rock and Opera were also included and a lively Charleston represented Strictly. Good repartee featured in an audience participation of The Generation Game and the finale commenced with a beautifully sung I Dreamed A Dream prior to the traditional Thank You Very Much from the whole cast on stage.

A dedicated number of adults are responsible for this annual tour de force with Trudy Paine directing once more, together with a team of seven assistants. There is a long list of adults on the all important Management Team from chairman and fundraiser John Blundell, Diane Rextrew-Berry as costume supervisor and much more, through to Lyn Lillico the cast registrar.

Neil Shrimpton was the vital MD for the show and Keith Barrett the stage director, whose unenviable task of creating a well-paced show with such a huge cast was admirably accomplished.