5. ‘The gang’s all here’
The Manawatu Gang Show opens this week at the Regent on Broadway. The family-friendly biennial production put on by local Scouts and Guides provides an introduction to production and performance.
It’s ShowTime! Every two years Scouts and Girl Guides get together for the Manawatu Gang Show. The stage revue is an eagerly anticipated tradition – a fast-paced, entertaining family-friendly show.
Show Time director Carol Kelly says the family friendly aspect extends to the cast and crew with a number of families involved in the production.
‘‘It’s exciting that we have family members within the cast; sisters and brothers, parents and children, but also within the production teams we have dads and mums helping out with set construction and costume preparation. It’s a wonderful inclusive atmosphere that infuses the Gang Show team.
‘‘For some, Gang Show is an introduction to performing, and the enthusiasm for the stage stays with them into their later lives.
‘‘The philosophy of Manawatu Gang Show is that it’s as much about the journey as the destination, with many of the cast new to performing,’’ Carol says.
‘‘During the four months of intensive rehearsals, the cast are taught stagecraft and selfconfidence. You can see the personal growth in many of the kids.’’
New cast members are invested into the Gang during a special ceremony, where they receive the ‘‘scarlet scarf’’.
This year’s ShowTime cast of 62 are performing a wide range of diverse acts – 16 items of singing, dancing, acting entertainment.
There’s a moving tribute to World War I soldiers, an upbeat Roaring 20’s dance number and a Candyland segment particularly aimed at younger audience members. Part of the Gang Show tradition is that it includes a more serious message towards the end of the show. This year the message is in the form of an original song written especially for the Manawatu Show Time cast called Speak Up. The song encourages young people to speak up if they need help.
‘‘The cast is truly an amazing family, and this is apparent when they are on stage doing their best for each other.
‘‘We fly people across the stage and have the occasional pyrotechnic explosion. Never a dull moment!’’
Twenty-nine members of the cast are aged between 5 and 10 years old, and perform an item in the first part of the show that gives them a taste of what theatre is all about.
Happy Show Time cast members in their ‘‘HAPPY’’ t-shirts, all ready for the opening number (from left) Jeanette Phillips, Angela Duthie, Molly Walker, Mikayla Dooney, and Zane Illingworth.