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Shang-a-Lang review at Kings Head Theatre London

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Ever wondered what really goes on when a group of fortysomething women hit a Butlin’s holiday camp to revel in nostalgic tunes, drink the place dry and cop off with any available men?

Then Shang-a-Lang, a bittersweet comedy that’s crude, rude, laugh out loud funny and highly entertaining will answer most questions about the in-chalet shenanigans at such adult gatherings.

Penned by Mamma Mia! author Catherine Johnson, this pulls no punches from the very start, ripping open a whole can of volatile female emotions, quandaries and heartaches.

Thankfully, the female cast is utterly convincing, not least Lisa Kay as Pauline, celebrating her 40th birthday. She arrives at Butlin’s Minehead on a high and ready to party, only to end up on the crazy-golf course late at night sobbing, drunk and pleading to be with her teenage crush “Woody” from 1970s tartan-clad boy band the Bay City Rollers – the One Direction of their era. Kay’s Pauline cuts a truly desperate figure, and it’s a crushing moment she never really recovers from.

Just as impressive is Samantha Edmonds as Lauren, who claims to be “lush”, but is really more of a lush in the boozing sense. With her loose grip on the concept of parenthood and even looser morals, no man is safe when she’s around – certainly not tribute band member Carl (Ben McGregor), breezing through his professional theatre debut with ease.

The fabulous female cast is completed by Kellie Batchelor as mumsie, married Jackie, who finds herself in the sack with Vince, the tough-talking, continually swearing, reflective Vince, played with real zest by Thomas Craig.

This is not a night out for those of a delicate disposition. I for one had no inkling that mature women behaved in such a debauched manner at themed holiday park events. Had I known, I’d have booked up a long time ago.

Production Information

King’s Head Theatre, London, January 24-February 15

Author
Catherine Johnson
Director
Robert Wolstenholme
Producer
Signal Theatre Company
Cast
Lisa Kay, Kellie Batchelor, Samantha Edmonds, Thomas Craig, Ben McGregor, Tom Woodward
Running time
1hr 45mins

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