Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Quiffs, drainpipe trousers and some swishing polka-dot dresses in this engaging revival of the original 1977 musical. Plenty of catchy rock ‘n roll numbers to get your feet tapping as we catch up on the antics of Mick McMolicate and his gang in the GlasVegas of the 1950’s.
GlasVegas, a musical comedy set on the streets of Glasgow, first saw the light of day thirty-five years ago in 1977. It was the show largely responsible for launching the careers of Morag Fullarton and the Oscar-nominated film composer Patrick Doyle. It’s success lies in its rapid fire comedy, Glasgow patois and its Shakespeare inspired rhyming couplets. Throw in some enchanting 1950’s musical numbers and it all adds up to a slightly madcap yet amusing hour of warm, happy theatre.
The plot follows Mick McMolicate and his gang of doting (if slightly dopey) followers as they struggle to leave a life of petty crime and hit the big-time as a “young and gallous rock band” in the less than salubrious backdrop of ‘Glasvegas’. General chaos descends as the boys, having failed as bank robbers and petty criminals, find life in the entertainment industry similarly challenging, populated as it appears to be by the hoodlums and small time swindlers from whom they were hoping to distance themselves. .
This revival features an updated text and three new musical numbers (by the original composer’s son) to add to the others in what is an energetic and catchy doo-wop-de-bop rock ’n’ roll score. The cast of nine are all currently studying at Birmingham University which ensured there was plenty of youthful vigour in delivery of words and music. Jamie Hughes was excellent in the lead role of Mick McMolicate and was more than ably supported by Tom Mackley as Gerald Bunatti and Joe Hinds as the lovable Southside Sam. These three were in turn superbly backed by three charmers decked out in brightly coloured polka-dot dresses in that quintessentially 1950’s style. And Ana Richardson, Elizabeth Reynolds and Natty Veitch each had their moment in the sun in addition to singing a variety of “doo-wops” and “bee doobas” as backing to the male soloists. The whole cast used the fourth wall to great effect and with this being a production in the round, there was plenty of opportunity for them to interact with the audience, which they did with gusto.
Of course, in a musical like this, everything sorts itself out and everyone ends up living happily ever after but there are enough bumps, scrapes and japes along the way to keep the audience engaged throughout. With the main characters played very much in the commedia dell’arte style, there was also much to find amusement with and the music was definitely in the foot tapping category. All in all, a show worth seeking out.