Every era has their iconic pop bands. For the children of the 1970’s, the Bay City Rollers Rollers were perhaps the One Direction of their time, well, at least in terms of the dizzying and powerful emotions experienced by teenage girls with celebrity crushes, fan adoration and their posters splashed all over their walls. Tartan scarves, oxford bags and questionable taste in hairstyles where all the rage and from the script writer of Mamma Mia! Catherine Johnson presents us with Shang-A-Lang.
Shang-A-Lang tells the tale of three forty-something women who have been friends since childhood, their bond having formed closely when they realise that they shared a mutual love of the Bay City Rollers. The ever thoughtful and dependable married Jackie gets the three ladies together with the aim of celebrating Pauline’s fortieth birthday with a weekend in Butlins, where the Bay City Rollers have got together for a reunion show.
The show promises to be a feel good feel play and from the off it makes the audience laugh and also cringe in shame at the truth. As someone who has recently had friends attend Butlins for a 90’s themed night, we can’t help but wonder if this is a fast-forward to a future scenario and it could be us in another ten years or so? (Can the 90’s really be classed as nostalgia? They don’t seem that long ago? Yet, as one finds oneself working with people fresh from university who were indeed born in the 90’s, then yes, we guess that it is true, yikes! B*witched in all their denim glory and S Club 7 are currently headlining Butlins, for those of you who are wondering and debating a visit there, yourselves). Perhaps time really does creep on us only too fast and the forty-somethings trio of women in the play are more than happy to point this out to us.
Alcohol does funny things to people and watching the ladies waking up next to someone they don’t know, wondering how that happened and then the sheer horror of their actions the previous night is hilarious to watch and might just make the people doing dry January think that perhaps less is more and that too much alcohol is probably best avoided. The acting in the show is fantastic and with a cast of this nature, it is hardly surprising. Lisa Kay as Pauline, who plays the lady who is turning forty, single and feeling hopeless brings her character to life and she is hilarious and natural in the role. Thomas Craig as the hopeless romantic and love-obsessed Vince is brilliant and paired with Ben McGregor as Carl, they provide a warm and funny double act as a pair of backing singers who have a run-in with the ladies at Butlins. Free-spirited and freeloading Lauren (Samantha Edmonds) livens up awkward situations with her child-like nature and complete lack of adult responsibility.
The best thing about the show is that it is full of one-liners and perfectly shows human relationships in all their ugly, fabulous, angry, happy and complex natures. We had a hoot watching this show and would definitely recommend it for a night of witnessing some great acting, coupled with a great script.