Some shows are so infectiously joyful that you can forgive whatever small flaws they contain. Shout! The Mod Musical is just that kind of show. It’s a genuine crowd-pleaser, which offers its audience the chance to bathe in the nostalgia of sixties mod culture; yet it avoids being just another vapid sing-a-long by carrying a social message too – that being a woman back then was bloody hard, and those who fought against the grain were courageous.
Shout! The Mod Musical covers the entire decade of the sixties, allowing it to incorporate plenty of recognisable tunes. It follows the story of five women, who are each represented by a different colour: Miss Orange, the prim and proper homemaker; Miss Red, a sweet but scatterbrained girl; Miss Blue, who has been blessed with perfect genes and knows it; Miss Yellow, a loud American girl obsessed with Paul McCartney; and Miss Green, who you might call sexually liberated.
Each of these women has a different tale to tell and all are characterised well by their actors, but one of the downfalls of this production is that the stories seem a little rushed and incomplete. I suspect some of the plot was sacrificed to accommodate a few more songs. Nevertheless, the portrayal of the different (sometimes absurd) hardships women had to face in the sixties was touching. The insipid advice from fictional columnist Gwendolyn Holmes (Katie Tyler) was hilarious, and brought what little plot there was to another level.
Not that the plot seemed to matter all that much. People come for the costumes, the dancing and the music, and it must be said that the vocals are this musical's crowning glory. Standouts include To Sir with Love and Son of a Preacher Man, but every song was performed impeccably. It was a nice touch having a live band hidden behind the set as well.
The penultimate number, the eponymous Shout! was full of energy, and had almost everyone in the audience joining in. Given which, I was a little disappointed that they chose to perform the much slower Downtown for the final song, as it left behind a lot of the energy Shout! generated. Nevertheless, this talented cast from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts undoubtedly delivered on some tricky classics.
If you’re having a bad day, or simply feel like seeing something that will leave you tapping your feet and feeling great, Shout! The Mod Musical is the ideal choice. For many, it provides a walk down memory lane – the musical definitely does justice to its era, despite being cut down for the Fringe. And for everyone else, it offers an hour of infectious energy and outstanding talent.