Bohemians show is so funny I’m All Shook Up

Roustabout Chad (Maurice Pryke) and lovelorn Dennis (Kenny Walker). Picture: Alan Murray
Roustabout Chad (Maurice Pryke) and lovelorn Dennis (Kenny Walker). Picture: Alan Murray

I’ve been to many enjoyable evenings at the town hall, but this week was the best one yet as Kenny Walker steals the show with a hilarious performance in Falkirk Bohemians’ All Shook Up.

You need to have the audience with you to pull off a scene in your boxer shorts and Kenny, who played camp, lovelorn Dennis perfectly, had the sell-out crowd in stitches on Tuesday.

His facial expressions, self-deprecation and one-liners were comedy gold. He has a fantastic singing voice to boot, which really drew the audience into his character and had us begging for more.

All Shook Up is a musical comedy and love story set in middle America in 1955 to Elvis songs when rock ’n’ roll was banned for being “indecent”. But that’s before leather-clad biker and self confessed ‘roustabout’ Chad (Maurice Pryke) rolls into town and changes everything through his hip-swaying “jiggly wiggly” sound.

There’s a lot of love in the air, but no one can find their perfect match easily. Dennis loves ‘grease monkey’ Natalie Haller (Lisa Goldie) who is in love with Chad, but he’s in love with Miss Sandra (Rebecca Anderson).

Her dad Jim (Kevin Chalmers) also loves Miss Sandra, but bar owner Sylvia (Katie Gardiner) loves Jim. Long-suffering Sheriff Earl (Michael Coyne), who is the sidekick of Mayor Matilda Hyde (Joyce Gallacher), loves her, but she won’t even let him speak.

The only ones who know they’re in love are Lorraine (Lois McNinch) and the Mayor’s son Dean Hyde (Iain Davidson), but the battleaxe mayor forbids it and they plan to run away.

The narrative is easy to follow until the intertwining love stories reach their conclusion with hilarious scenes and some amazing singing and choreography along the way.

Maurice Pryke has real presence as the main protagonist and has some great lines and ‘sexy’ moves which add comedy value to his effortless singing and acting.

Katie Gardiner gives real bite to Sylvia and has an amazing voice which really grabs hold of you when she hits the high notes, absolutely brilliant.

Kevin Chalmers was solid and swaggered through his performance as Jim as a mixture of James Cagney and Jamesey Cotter, confident in both emotional and humorous scenes.

Lisa Goldie is on stage more than most and plays Natalie superbly. She really made the scene when Miss Sandra floosily girates against her after she turns into Ed the boy with her eye rolling and mock shock.

Love’s young dream Lois McNinch and Iain Davidson are great together, both fantastic dancers and singers who made Lorraine and Dean a believable couple.

Rebecca Anderson’s performance as Miss Sandra was one of the best. She was a real sultry siren who has a booming voice which, like Katie’s, is immensely impressive. It’s amazing that this is only Rebecca’s second show with the group. Hopefully there will be many, many more.

The relationship between Joyce Gallacher as the Mayor and Michael Coyne as the Sheriff is really funny. Joyce plays the tough, no-nonsense disciplinarian, and even rocks out in one scene, to a tee and is another cast member blessed with a great voice.

And while we wait a while to hear Michael as the Sheriff, it’s worth it as he commands the stage in his speaking scenes and melts some of the ice on the cold-hearted mayor.

I’m a big fan of the young Alexandra Kerr who plays Henrietta. I saw her in this one when she performed it with the Big Bad Wolf Children’s Theatre Company last year at the same venue when she was fantastic as Miss Sandra.

She really made an entrance in this, her first show with the Bohos, with her rendition of Heartbreak Hotel. She is a real talent.

Another familiar face was Lewis Dawson, also a former member of Big Bad Wolf from last year’s show, who along with other fringe cast members Jamie Shanks (Warden) and Chris Brooks (bus driver) propped up the scenes with effortless ease.

All the great dancers also brought the scenes to life with their colourful costumes, energy and crisp moves that were very entertaining.

Tuesday’s show was one of the best am dram productions I’ve ever been to. There’s a barrowload of laughs and the singing is just spectacular. You have to see it – It’s Now or Never.

All Shook Up is running at Falkirk Town Hall until Saturday. To book call (01324) 506850.

PRINCIPAL CAST

Natalie Haller - Lisa Goldie; Chad - Maurice Pryke; Jim Haller - Kevin Chalmers; Sylvia - Katie Gardiner; Lorraine - Lois McNinch; Dennis - Kenny Walker; Miss Sandra - Rebecca Anderson; Mayor Matilda Hyde - Joyce Gallacher; Dean Hyde - Iain Davidson; Sheriff Earl - Michael Coyne; Warden - Jamie Shanks; Henrietta - Alexandra Kerr; “Fella” - Lewis Dawson; Bus Driver - Chris Brooks.

TOWNSFOLK

Emma Bell, Kimberley Black, Chris Brooks, Niamh Brooks, Stephanie Bruce, Karen Chambers, Emma Davidson, Sam Davidson, Lewis Dawson, Yvonne Dickson, Rebecca English, Colin Fawkes, Roslyn Fricker, Victoria Fulton, Emma Gilmour, Claire Glen, Lucinda Hamilton, Rebecca Hardie, Louise Harland, Kirstin Jalland, Chloe Kennedy, Alexandra Kerr, Gemma MacDonald, Shelley McLaren, Keri Mitchell, Kevin O’Raw, Karen Ross, Jamie Shanks, Rachel Smith, Laura Stewart, Leigh-anne Struthers, Claire Tait, Iona Turnbull, David Young.