Are you ready to embark on a scout-tacular adventure filled with laughter and music? Look no further than “Scouts!” – a delightful comedy musical created in partnership with The Scout Association. This actor-musician-led comedy musical, delivered by the Stage Award-winning Gigglemug Theatre, brings together the perfect blend of humour, talent, and scout-themed puns. With its interactive elements and stellar cast, this show offers a memorable experience for the entire family (as a 30-something, I enjoyed it as much as the kids in the audience).
The story revolves around the annual Scout Games, where scouts from around the world have gathered to compete. However, when someone threatens to sabotage the competition, it’s up to a pair of young scouts Joe (Joel Nash) and Ayesha (Sydney Spencer) to put aside their rivalries and use their newfound skills to save the day.
Campfire Comedy and Engaging Storyline
“Scouts!” brilliantly combines a rib-tickling sense of humour that appeals to both young and old. The cleverly crafted songs, such as the Charlotte/Villain’s (played by Emily Kitchingham) “The Ropes,” playfully embraces the silly yet high-stake nature of the show. It’s all fun and games, but when Kitchingham switches her vocal mode on, and it gets serious – vocally. Her powerful voice commands attention and adds an extra layer of intensity to the production. As the villain, Kitchingham’s voice oozes with slyness and mischief, capturing the essence of the character’s devious intentions.
And as much as the first act feels a bit more silly and oriented towards the younger audience, the second act of “Scouts!” takes the comedic journey to new heights, resembling a thrilling roller-coaster ride. It gradually builds momentum, eventually letting loose and unleashing a wave of diverse and absurd musical numbers. The lyrics cleverly incorporate adult jokes, subtly winking at the grown-ups in the audience.
The introduction of the charismatic nature-loving character, Linus (Rob Gathercole), adds a delightful camp factor, particularly in the rocking song dedicated to Mother Nature (I would listen to this one on repeat on Spotify!). Gathercole nailed the Bear Grylls/David Attenborough vibes so well that he deserves his spin-off show. Scouts, assemble and demand it!
Talented Cast and Musical Mastery:
One of the highlights of “Scouts!” is the immensely talented cast of singers and musicians. The multi-talented performers effortlessly switch between instruments (even playing two at a time), creating a lively and dynamic musical atmosphere. Special mention goes to Kemi Clarke (whom I also admired as “Merboy” a while ago), who surprised everyone with an unexpected saxophone performance. Who would have thought that scouts and sax would make such a harmonious pairing? The musical prowess of the cast added depth and energy to the already entertaining production.
Audience Participation and Comedic Brilliance:
The show’s interactive elements are well-executed, with selected volunteers adding a touch of hilarity to the performance. It looked to me like the volunteers from the audience were chosen and informed earlier, resulting in a delightful trio that exuded energy and enthusiasm rather than complete confusion. And that’s the way to go! I’m all in for some audience participation but giving it a little heads-up usually creates a much more enjoyable experience both for cast and volunteers.
Humour-wise at “Scouts!” you get anything, from Monthy Python-esque vibes to jokes potentially inspired by Shrek (“wipe your… knees”, I loved it). The second act of the show kicked off with a hilarious song that listed all the terrible things a person could do. And guess what? Giving a bad review to a new musical took centre stage…That line alone had me in stitches and instantly won me over. It’s like Sam Cochrane (book/lyrics writer) knew how to tickle my funny bone and poke fun at the critics all at once.
Intimate Setting, Creative Potential
In the snug little nook of The Other Palace studio, the intimate setting forms a tight bond between the audience and the super-talented performers. Sure, the limited space poses some tricky challenges, but the cast handles it like true scoutmasters, breezing through the stage, tucking away their musical gear, and busting out mind-blowing dance moves. The stage itself keeps things simple and stripped down, like a sneak peek or an exclusive concert vibe. But, hey, picture this: what if the Gigglemug Theatre team had a grander stage available? They could create a wild, cartoonish forest scene with the cutest critter puppets ever! Talk about boosting the visual pizzazz and fully embracing the show’s incredible potential. It’s like scouting out a whole new level of awesomeness – so, maybe one day!
“Scouts!” is a comedic triumph that embraces the spirit of scouting while delivering non-stop laughter. With its clever humour, talented cast, and engaging songs, this family-friendly musical offers an enjoyable experience for all ages. Whether you’re a scout at heart or simply seeking an evening of lighthearted entertainment, “Scouts!” is a must-see theatrical gem. So grab your camping gear, tighten your laces, and venture into the world of “Scouts!” for an unforgettable evening of laughter and camaraderie.
About The Show:
Scouts! The Musical
Cast: Sydney Spencer (Ayesha), Joel Nash (Joe), Kemi Clarke (Scout Leader Dylan), Katie
Pritchard (Rosie), Emily Kitchingham (Charlotte) & Rob Gathercole (Luke/Linus Lionheart)
Directed by Sam Cochrane
Musical Direction by Rob Gathercole
Book & Lyrics by Sam Cochrane
Music & Lyrics by David Fallon
Lighting Design by Damian Robertson
Set Iza Fordham, Emily Cave, Lauren Jones, Aleyna Feran, Abbie Hardcastle, Ema Cunha
Photography by Benkin Photography
Running time 1 hour 30 minutes (including a 15 min interval)
Age recommendation 6+