Review: Falkirk Bohemians spread fun and laughter with Summer Holiday show

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The cold weather may have started to set in but that isn’t stopping Falkirk Bohemians from warming the hearts and souls of theatregoers.

Rain fell on the opening night of the company’s Summer Holiday performance, however, no amount of precipitation would’ve been enough to dampen the spirits of those in the audience at Falkirk Town Hall as they were treated to a dazzling display.

A 1960s musical based on the feel-good film of the same name, the production has been adapted by Michael Gyngell and Mark Haddigan and sees Don — experienced Bohemian Michael Coyne — and three of his fellow London Transport bus mechanics journey across Europe on a once-in-a-lifetime trip aboard a double decker.

The gang, which includes Steve (Colin Fawkes), Cyril (Iain Davidson) and Edwin (David Young), pick up and encounter some rather interesting and quirky characters along the way, notably a trio of stranded London girls they amusingly mistake as French mademoiselles in the form of the all-singing and all-dancing Mimsie (Olivia Donnett), Angie (Lisa Goldie) and Alma (Lois McNinch).

There’s also a space for stowaway American pop star Barbara, adeptly played by talented vocalist Laura Stewart, who’s on the run from her domineering yet entertaining mother, Stella (Kirsty Meikle).

No highly strung mum of any teenage celebrity is ever the real deal without a flamboyant and extremely patient assistant and Jerry — step forward the comical Kenny Walker — definitely fits that description.

Making a drama out of everything is his speciality and he did so to the delight of the audience throughout.

The back and forth antics between Stella and Jerry, coupled with the holiday romances which blossom between the boys and girls, go hand-in-hand with some rousing full cast numbers such as Dancing Shoes, Do You Wanna Dance? and, of course, Summer Holiday.

As well as the ensemble hits, this show also features several special solo performances, especially that of lead lady Laura Stewart and Lindsay Karwowski whose vocal range provides a memorable individual moment late on.

While the entire cast are worthy of praise for their uplifting song and dance routines, so too are artistic director Malcolm Burnett, musical director Harry Thomson and choreographer Hannah Foley for creating a vibrant production.

An honourable nod must also be given to Scenic Projects Ltd for the ever-evolving set and to wardrobe team That Looks Good and Bohemian Ladies for the diverse array of costumes, featuring touches of French, Swiss and Greek inspiration.

All those in the crowd who were in the slightest bit familiar with the original film were undoubtedly expecting there to be a giant red bus — and there naturally was.

However, it was the frequent appearance of a miniature double decker which stole the spotlight due to its clever and comical use in between scenes and the credit for that must again go to those named above.

As the show and the life-sized bus neared the action-packed end of its journey, audience members were visibly grateful they had been there for the ride.

Falkirk Bohemians’ Summer Holiday production runs each night at 7.30pm at FTH until Saturday.

There is also a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.