In pictures: Falkirk Bohemians' 75th anniversary production of La Vie Boheme

It was always going to be a special production to mark the 75th anniversary of the much-loved company Falkirk Bohemians but La Vie Boheme served up something a little different.

From their first performance of Gypsy Love in 1948 to the unforgettable Sunshine on Leith in 2022 the talented members have continually put on some great shows, including the Scottish amateur premiers of the King and I in 1959, My Fair Lady in 1968, Fiddler on the Roof in 1972, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in 1981, Happy as a Sandbag in 1982 and Hairspray in 2014.

But 2023 was to be something different. Following the closure of Falkirk Town Hall earlier this year, the company were left with finding a new home and that they have at the Dobbie Hall in Larbert.

Then they had to find a show to mark 75 years – and instead of going for the usual full-scale musical they decided to bring together a special performance of music, song and dance.

Bohemians’ president Shelley McLaren explained: “La Vie Boheme tells the story of what it means to be a Bohemian and shares the story of our love, friendship and passion for the arts.

"We are excited to bring to the stage this extravaganza of musical numbers from across the years and genres of many loved shows, as well as a few you may not be as familiar with.”

From the moment the curtain lifted you could feel the cast’s love for what they were doing: from the high energy numbers to the soulful ballads. There wasn’t a poor performance all night.

The opening number of La Vie Boheme from Rent allowed several strong singers to have their moment in the spotlight alongside the entire company.

One of the first highlights was the comic performance of Friendship from Anything Goes with Janice Gray and Joyce Gallacher. And Joyce was again getting applause for Gotta Get a Gimmick from Gypsy where this time she performed with Lisa Goldie and Kirsty Meikle.

Stephanie Duncan performed a spine-tingling version of Home from The Wiz, while Andrew McAteer’s This is the Moment from Chess was equally deserving of the audience’s appreciation.

Raise Your Voice from Sister Act saw great singing from Katie Gardiner, Shelley McLaren, Victoria Fulton, Emma Davidson and Janice Gray.

The dancers were to the fore in Nowadays/HotHoney Rag from Chicago – take a bow Emma Christie, Roz Cox, Janna Hamilton, Stephanie Duncan, Amy Campbell and Lisa Goldie.

Victoria Fulton showcased her beautiful voice in Electricity from Billy Elliott, while a personal favourite moment was the performance from Kirstin Campbell and Aidan Harland of Fine from Ordinary Days. This wasn’t a show I’d seen but having listened to this pair it is now on my must see list.

One of the takeaways for me was how this production allowed the many strong male vocals in the company to have their moment in the spotlight, including Paul Allison-Thompson with For the Dreamers from Back to the Future.

However, no-one put a foot – or a note – wrong all night and the energetic performers rightly deserved their standing ovation.

The 75th production was directed by Lisa Goldie, choreographed by Amy Campbell and was under the musical directorship of Crawford Moyes.

La Vie Boheme is on at the Dobbie Hall until Saturday, November 4.

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