You know when you spot a few stray bright pink feathers on the steps of a theatre that you’re in for an entertaining night and that’s exactly what Friday’s Maltings crowd got.
Taking a look at the song list for ‘Here Come The Girls’ it screamed ‘ladies night’ louder than a bottle of fizz or tube of lipgloss.
From big ballads like Heart’s ‘Alone’ and Cilla Black’s ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ to unashamedly cheesy pop like Girls Aloud’s ‘The Promise’ and Spice Girls ‘Spice Up Your Life’ the repertoire was brimming with sing and dance along potential.
Opening number ‘Cell Block Tango’ from Chicago encapsulated what the evening was all about- strong, fiesty women determined to have a ball.
Jailbirds Alison Fergie, Katie Hindmarsh, Kirsty Jamieson, Diane Renner, Nicola Salnonsky and Lisa Summers got the show off to a hurtling start and Angela McKeown kept up the pace with ‘When You’re Good To Mama’.
The next segment of the show would have left the cool and collected Daniel Craig hot under the collar.
Looking every inch Bond girls, Katie, Tamsin Davidson, Anna Emmins and Marie Tucker sizzled with sultry renditions of ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Licence To Kill’ and ‘Skyfall’.
From the sublime to the fantastically ridiculous, ‘Under The Sea’ from ‘The Little Mermaid’ saw the introduction of the boys - Mark Vevers, Ross Graham, Oliver Payn, David Simpson and Paddy-Jo Flannigan and what an interesting bunch of mermaids they made!
Men getting in touch with their feminine sides was something of a recurring theme for the night.
I couldn’t quite decide if he was more Sarah or Nadine in ‘The Promise’ but with bright red hair and that famous union jack dress there was no mistaking Gary Robson’s alter-ego for ‘Spice Up Your Life’, which also included a nifty flip from Kirsty in full Sporty Spice mode.
The two routines were ideal for the Friday night party atmosphere brewing in the theatre and the same could be said for the boy’s ode to Village People.
‘Sister Act’ numbers ‘Fabulous Baby’ and ‘Raise Your Voice’, led with sass and panache by Kirsty and Katie left the audience wanting more as they headed for their half time refreshments and their thirst for a second half of showstoppers was well and truly quenched.
‘Evita’ standard ‘Another Suitcase In Another Hall’ saw Diane and Alison shine in solo spots before the swinging Sixties were brought back by Nicola, Angela and Anna via a trip to cheese-ville courtesy of the boys’ colourful ‘Mambo No.5’.
The most impressive thing about ‘Here Come The Girls’ - other than some great costumes - was the cast’s ability to switch between genres quicker than Geri Halliwell could ask for her frock back.
The theatrics required for musical theatre numbers, such as Tamsin’s highly enjoyable ‘Trolley Song’, were matched pound for pound by the cheekiness demanded by the chart hits.
Tina Turner would have been strutting in the aisles to Kirsty’s ‘River Deep Mountain High’; Marie proved she was the queen of the power ballad with a powerful take on ‘Alone’ and Nicola (wearing her mum’s leather trousers!) had the place jumping with ‘I Love Rock & Roll’.
I’m struggling to remember a show at The Maltings that created a buzz quite like ‘Here Come The Girls’ and the audience’s calls for more should most definitely be answered.
A huge bravo to all involved.