Gang Show in Taunton, Somerset
Here in Taunton we have had a solid history of Gang Show for 25 years. Indeed it is a tribute to the leaders and adults who support the younger members of Taunton’s Scout and Guide community that every year without fail for the last 25 years they have put on a stunning performance that celebrates everything that is good about the genre.
This year’s Gang Show will be no exception, and it is with great pride that Taunton Theatre Association can see the Taunton Gang Show restored back to its rightful home at the Brewhouse Theatre between April 8th and 12th 2014.
Tickets are available through the Taunton Tourist Information Centre, next to the Library in Paul Street Taunton.
A little about the history of the genre ‘Gang Show’
The format of a Gang Show is essentially a revue or variety show; song, dance and short comedy sketches are the most common items. The number of items varies (commonly ranging between 12 and 25): some are stand-alone, others are a series of songs conforming to a chosen theme, or a running gag.
A typical show will include a big opening number, some comedy sketches, several musical items with a mix of group and solo work, dance numbers and a grand finale sequence. Some of the material is well-known, other material is original to Gang Shows, sometimes even penned by the young people themselves.
The show’s format was created by Ralph Reader CBE, the original Gang Show producer, who went on to write much material for Gang Shows, sketches musical numbers and Pageants including the signature tune On the Crest of a Wave. Other “standards” Reader wrote include Strolling, Great Great Game, Gee, It’s A Wonderful life, A Touch of Silver, Three Cheers, Show Time,Together, and The Scout Hymn. (Many of Reader’s songs were written for the time and were very creatively presented). Many songs can be a vehicle for modern reinvention however, and in order to be relevant for a modern presentation some sketches and songs and orchestrations require some adaptation to be suitable in today’s more politically correct times. Most shows retain one or two as their ‘signature tune’.