Scouts! The Musical Review

The Other Palace – until 9 July 2023

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Be Prepared for a show full of silly musical fun and games – Scouts! The Musical is a treat for all the family.

In partnership with The Scout Association, Gigglemug Theatre have created a wonderfully witty show that laughs along with, but never at, the characters in the show and their mission for badges.

At the annual scout games, the competition is heating up to win the fabled golden badge, and Ayesha (Sydney Spencer) is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals. She just doesn’t understand fellow scout Joe’s (Joel Nash) approach to scouting – and life – enjoying new experiences and making friends as he learns new skills for life. When a sore loser with a grudge turns up and subverts the games in a bonkers bid to destroy scouting, Ayesha and Joe must work together to save the day.

With themes of friendship, co-operation, making a difference and being true to yourself, this could have been a sickly saccharine show, but writers Sam Cochrane and David Fallon have captured the gleeful anarchy of childhood and give Ayesha a heroic redemptive arc that rings true without overplaying the moral issues. The talented cast of multi-instrumentalist actors work together with a slickness and humour that is riotously infectious. Musical director Rob Gathercole is a hoot as cheerful but useless Luke and heroic ex-champion Linus Lionheart – riffing on the excesses of a multitude of wildlife and survival TV personalities, Emily Kitchingham is hilariously OTT as the evil Charlotte and Kemi Clarke is a joy as scout leader Dylan, falling to pieces as his big moment becomes a disaster. Katie Pritchard has enough energy to run the national grid as Rosie, with effortless comic timing. Joel Nash and Sydney Spencer are a fantastic duo, with Nash’s sweet, honest and slightly baffled Joe the perfect foil for Spencer’s target-obsessed Ayesha.

The whole cast have stunning vocals and make each of David Fallon’s songs memorable. It is amazing how the cast make the choreography look easy on such a tiny stage with their instruments. The comedy is fast and ranges from corny dad-jokes to scout in-jokes, hitting the mark with every age group at the press performance. Who would have thought that tying knots could be so entertaining? There is some audience participation in the competition, but it is all good fun and games and they seemed to be having a ball onstage.

Scouts! is a gem of a show, a high-spirited romp full of laughs and with a heartfelt message that is as inspiring as it is insane. This will go down a storm with audiences all around the UK – a new musical with a very bright future.

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