What could be a better antidote to the Beast from the East and Brexit than a jolly old musical about summer sun, falling in love, and free travel throughout Europe?
Everything about Galashiels Amateur Operatic Society’s production of Cliff Richard’s early 1960s vehicle makes you smile.
The stunningly talented cast, faultless production and eye-catching choreography comes together to give you nothing more than two-and-a-half hours of sheer, unadulterated fun.
After last year’s production of Evita, we know the group can pull off technically-demanding productions. But here, they show they have also mastered the art of the light musical.
The principal cast – some of whom are taking their first main role – were quite simply perfect in their roles.
The four fellas who somehow manage to talk London Transport into lending them a double-decker bus for a holiday in France were confidently played by Clark Eaton Turner (who takes on Cliff’s character Don from the film), William Pearson, Craig Monks and Jack McAulay.
This was a foursome that was absloutely central to the whole musical ... they had to get it right, be believable and perform brilliantly.
They did, and some.
The girls weren’t short in that department, either, and they showed their undeniable talents for comic timing, as well as impeccable singing and superb dancing.
Kayley Turner, Jennifer Cook and Rebecca Frankland – joined later on the journey by Jan Baird – provided the perfect pairings for the lads.
To every shining light, there has to be a dark side, of course ... and that comes in the form of Lorraine Kemp. Her delicious portrayal of Stella, overbearing mother of Jan Baird’s starlet Barbara, is pure panto villain ... and it works brilliantly.
Her partner in crime, however, stole the show.
It is almost impossible to believe that Simon Thomson, who plays Jerry, is still in fifth year at Earlston High School.
His portrayal of the simpering agent could easily have gone down the well-travelled route to cliche-ville, but his diction, paired with his impeccable timing and hilarious body language, got all the laughs. Think Frank Spencer meets Sheldon Cooper, and you’ll get the idea.
When you go to these musicals, the one thing you most want to be is entertained ... and he is above all an entertainer.
He is definitely one to watch.
There is not a weak link in the entire company ... with Jeff Thomson’s slick productions, you know what you are going to get.
With songs you won’t beable to stop tapping your toes to, or indeed joining in, Summer Holiday has everything you are looking for after the week we’ve just had.
It manages to squeeze in all Cliff’s early favourites, such as Bachelor Boy, The Young Ones, Living Doll, and, of course, the titular Summer Holiday.
Jump into your dookers (under your clothes – it’s still cold out), dig out your car, and while away an evening. You won’t regret it.
It’s on at the Volunteer Hall, Galashiels, nightly at 7.30pm, until Saturday. Tickets £15 (£12 conc until Thursday) available from the hall.
Don: Clark Eaton Turner; Edwin: William Pearson; Cyril: Craig Monks; Steve: Jack McAulay.
Barbara: Jan Baird; Angie: Kayley Turner; Alma: Jennifer Cook; Mimsie: Rebecca Frankland.
Stella: Lorraine Kemp; Jerry: Simon Thomson.
Wilf: Mitchell Green. Sandra: Catharine Fletcher.
Maria, the wedding singer: Kirsty Cleland. Wrightmore: Alaistar Waddell. Gendarme: David Moffat. WPC: Holly Nichol. Customs officer: Cory Paterson. Bride: Amy Thomson. Flowergirl: Lucymarie McEvoy. Marjorie: Lynsey Cullen. Malcolm/priest: Richard Jamieson. Commander: Richard Moffat. Female guard: Lauren Mackay.
Emily Balderston, Annabelle Lugton, Eilidh Nichol, Amy Thomson, Jess Thomson and Eliana Capstick.
Carole Cameron, Mhairi Chirnside, Lynsey Cullen, Colette Edie, Rachel Falconer, Zahra Ferahi, Shelley Foster, Caroline Hardie, Irene Hume, Richard Jamieson, Ken Lamb, Val Little, Dawn Lowes, Lauren MacKay, Cairen McAulay, David Moffatt, Richard Moffat, Holly Nichol, Cory Paterson, Rebecca Penny, Eve Sinclair, Robyn Smith, Lucy Thomson, Ev Watson, Alaistar Waddell and Ben Williams.