The latest production from Carnoustie Musical Society is a touching and hilarious look at how life tends to follow its own rules.
Their Scottish premiere of the new British musical ‘The Reunion’ by Ian Cook and Ian Newton brings to life a fictional Yorkshire secondary school where the senior class are just about to leave for life in the real world, highlighting their hopes and dreams.
Tom Green (Mike Burns) and Debbie James (Kerry Mitchell) have a ‘will they, won’t they’ love story which is cruelly dashed by fate. Their duet ‘I’ll Never Know Your Love’ is particularly touching.
Tom’s sidekicks, football-mad Harry Machin (Kevin Smith) and dozy Dick Littleworth (Grant Roach) and Debbie’s pals animal-loving Laura Grant (Pam Roach) and trashy Susan Pye (Jane McNamara) all have a great chemistry together and make for a great quartet singing ‘Take A Look At Us Now’ and ‘Our Time’.
After the gang is fractured by a terrible event it takes the death of their beloved teacher the kindly Miss Davies (Claire Ralston) to bring them all back together, forcing them to take stock of their lives.
‘The Reunion’ is peppered with memorable cameos - Brian Boyd’s snobby careers advisor with a hidden passion and an outrageously revealing moment on stage is a highlight.
Pervy PE teacher Mr Powell is a wonderful caricature and Chris Jukes plays it with every ounce of seediness he can and Rodger Brunton is hilarious as irate jannie, Mr Drain.
Joanna Fitzgerald as Miss Jolly would not be out of place in a classic 1970s ‘Carry On’ film, butter would not melt, despite the stream of filthy innuendos in her song ‘The Joys Of Baking’.
Every show has a baddy, and Jamie Robertson is in towering bullying form as Simmons, and Tom’s brother John (Ali Laing) cuts a tragic figure in ‘Letters Home’.
Supporting roles are carried out with aplomb by Gemma Cox as budding hairdresser Steph, who is also searching for love in the hilarious ‘Mr Right’; Liz Pardoe as headmistress Mrs Ogilvy; Debbie’s parents Mr and James (Dave Soutar and Pam Wallace); silent muncher Bob Watson (Connor Berg); police officer David Ross; cockney waitress Sassy Laing; the chilling ‘Other Woman’ (Claire Ralston) and an energetic performance from Kathy MacCallum as the gym instructor.
Special mention must go to musical director Richard Waghorn who has a surprise turn as tacky Tony the DJ.
The dance routines were fresh and funny, a lot of thought and practice has clearly gone into them and once again the excellent ensemble singing of the company really drives the show forward. We must also congratulate the excellent Yorkshire accents, even a local might be fooled!
We understand the writers of ‘The Reunion’ will be in attendance on Friday night and we think they will be thoroughly pleased with the efforts of the cast and producers Claire Laing and Ali Laing.
‘The Reunion’ runs at Carnoustie High School until Friday, March 13, tickets are available at The Fobel Shop and online at www.carnoustiemusical.co.uk or call 0333 666 3366, charges may apply.