1966 East Grinstead Gang Show
Transcript of E G Courier 21 Apr 1966
Mammoth show runs smoothly
Carrying one of Lord Baden Powell's rules, to serve the community, to an extreme, 85 East Grinstead and district Scouts, Cubs and Scouters staged a three-hour, 22-item Gang Show on Thursday.
This mammoth undertaking worked out surprisingly well considering the difficulty of directing such a large cast with ages ranging from eight to 50. There were few first-night jitters. If ever there was an occasion when both players and audience enjoyed a night to the full, this was it.
An outstanding feature of the evening's entertainment was the boundless imagination used in scenery arrangement. Stage manager, Edgar Cooper's task was made easier by the production using, for the first time, Sackville Secondary School's new stage and hall.
Effective lighting, skilful, silent scene-shifting and simple but realistic sets contributed much towards the show's success.
One sequence worthy of the West End was a song -sketch called "Oranges." Two groups of Scouts sang from each corner of a darkened stage, while through partly opened curtains Victorian orange sellers could be glimpsed. A deep blue light helped by a thin wire mesh screen created the effect of an historical vision.
In a "tribute" to William Shakespeare, some of the younger boys played a few of the more famous Shakespearean characters. Romeo's flower squirted water into his eye while he was making verbal love to Juliet. Hamlet used Yorick's skull as a yo-yo and, as a surprise entrant on the scene, one of the audience shouted that Bacon should get the credit normally showered on Shakespeare, before he was led off.
A clever miming sketch went back a few hundred years in the form of a Chinese legend. Even an unfortunate mistake whereby the prologue was out of range of the. spot light did not spoil the effect. With the aid of a pianist Kathleen Anderson (who played most competently throughout the show) the ancient Eastern kingdom came to life and we saw the affection of a crippled boy prince for a young beggar.