With its first instalment giving Berwick one of its most talked about shows of 2013, the pressure was on for Here Come The Girls 2 to deliver the goods last week.
And just like a trusty postman, the show was a tasty treat to start the Easter weekend before even a slither of a chocolate egg had been consumed.
The thoroughly entertaining revue pitted some local lads and lasses against each other but with each sex in fine form, the real winner was the audience.
Over the past year The Maltings has hosted the likes of musical revue ‘Masters of the House’ and tribute acts like Re-Take That but neither had the wealth and diversity of material that was packed into Wendy Payn’s latest creation.
The pop charts were well represented from the 1950s to the present day while the cast more than dipped their toes into the musical pool, pulling out real corkers from the likes of ‘Wicked’ and ‘Spring Awakening’.
It was Liza Minelli calling card ‘Cabaret’ that got the disco ball rolling on an evening of entertainment that went by all too quickly.
With his name in lights (or at least on the promotional poster) it was only right that Gary Robson sang the first line of the night and with some rather nifty high kicking from his fellow boys, the tone was most definitely set for the night.
The camp-o-meter was pretty much set to high for the whole night with David Simpson’s ‘Keep It Gay’, accessorised with a fetching frock nearly sending it into overdrive.
The boys didn’t have it all their on way though, the girls arrived on stage with more sass than a Broadway run of ‘Chicago’ with Nicola Salonsky picking up where she left off last year with a feisty rendition of ‘Mambo Italiano’ while Angie McKeown ensured arms were swaying with ‘Que Sera Sera’.
The real charm of both ‘Here Come The Girls’ shows is the fact that while they were both undeniably laden with fantastic talent, not for a second did they take themselves too seriously.
For every heart wrenching, superbly sung ballad such as Sarah Graham’s ‘The Rose’ and Marie Tucker’s ‘Tell Me It’s Not True’ there was a ridiculous romp like the brilliant ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ led by Paddy Flannigan or Berwick’s very own Bucks Fizz (Katie Hindmarsh, Alison Fergie, Ross Graham and Mark Vevers’ doing ‘Making Your Mind Up’ complete with the famous skirt rip.
The song sheet for ‘Here Come The Girls;’, as well as comprising many genres also had an ever changing tempo, meaning the cast couldn’t afford to take their eye of the ball.
Katie Hindmarsh rose above some initial mic problems to deliver a stomping version of ‘Bad Romance’ in an outfit which would turn the lady herself green with envy but was then transformed into a sultry siren for ‘Summertime’.
Diane Renner channelled some of Annie Lennox’s diva-esque persona in a fierce take on ‘Sweet Dreams’ but then was a golden girl of old time movies in the country section.
Like her fellow females, Kirsty Jamieson too showed her versatility, giving Beyonce a run for her money with a vampish version of ‘At Last’ and then once again getting into the Tina Turner spirit of things with ‘Proud Mary’ which had all the audience on their feet.
The latter came at the end of a rousing rock section which saw Nicola put her leather trousers back on and take the audience on a journey to ‘Devilgate Drive’ and Zoe Graham raise the roof off The Maltings with Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’.
‘Wicked’ is the musical of the modern generation so doing it justice was a hard ask for both Wendy and her cast, but the Payn golden touch went a winning shade of emerald with an effortless and West End worthy duet of ‘Popular’ courtesy of Katie and Marie and the group number ‘One Short Day’, which saw the cast decked out like a St Patrick’s Day parade.
If ‘Here Come The Girls 2’ was a wedding DJ it would have all the guests up from kids full of E-numbers to drunken aunties and uncles.
Where else would you go from Shania Twain’s ‘Man I Feel Like A Woman’, delivered in thigh slapping fashion by Marie to my personal stand out moment of the whole show- the boys’ take on ‘Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble’, complete with a very polished homage to Ant and Dec’s windmill move and some impressive rapping from David Simpson and Oliver Payn?
Other highlights included Zoe ‘s ‘Jolene’ and Alison’s ‘Cry Me A River’ but those were just another two of many entertaining pieces to the ‘Here Come The Girls 2’ jigsaw.
Quite often sequels fail to hit the spot as much as their predecessors but this talented cast ensured that certainly wasn’t the case. I said last year there needed to be a part two well now I’m calling for a third helping.