REVIEW – Edinburgh Gang Show, 50th Anniversary


The Edinburgh Gang Show is in its 50th year.  Our previous article promoting this year’s production can be found here.  It is as much a tradition in Edinburgh now as Christmas itself.

The director of the performance, Andy Johnston, was a cast member back in 1980 and was lucky enough to meet Ralph Reader, the founder of Gang Shows.  Johnston had the unenviable task of auditioning the cast members for the 2009 Gang Show in May of this year.  With shows such as the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent hugely popular with the children, they can get their taste of fame by being part of ‘the gang’. 

Edinburgh Gang Show

Edinburgh Gang Show

Edinburgh Spotlight attended this evening, along with an 8 year old honorary reviewer.

The atmosphere before the show started was one of excitement with audience members clapping along to the opening number of the live band.  The show opened with an introduction from a very confident young man, leading into an ensemble number.  It was fabulous to see everyone from Brownies and Cubs through to older Guides and Scouts sharing the same stage.

Other numbers followed by smaller groups of the cast with a very funny song about how great it is to be Scottish including a poke at Alex Salmond and the Prime Minister.

A couple of particular highlights for me were the vocal ability of the girl who sang a version of a Kylie Minogue song whilst ‘levitating’ in the air; and the funny football changing room scene.

There really was a good selection of musical numbers interspersed with several comedy moments, with a few jokes slipped in just for the adults. The dancing ranged from ballet and tap through to jive and modern styles.

I loved the younger boys doing a version of Kids in America  (Kids of the Future) with the opening solo vocals filling up the theatre.  My fellow reviewer had to inform me that the song that followed by the younger girls was by Hannah Montana – well she is 8 years old after all and would know these things!

There were no campfire songs or mentions of woggles: everything was upbeat, current and enjoyed by their peers in the audience.  The finale saw the return of the members of Gang Shows from years gone by – it is the 50th spectacular show after all.

I found the Gang Show vibrant, colourful and exciting and well worth an evening of my time.  Although no fault of theirs, I did find that the theatre was extremely hot to the point of it being unbearable.  I would advise to wear layers and have a drink at hand.

The Gang Show is an excellent production, with some fantastic solo performances.  The children look like they are enjoying every single minute of their time on stage and the large ensemble is extremely well choreographed.  They have smiles on their faces throughout, and you are guaranteed to leave the theatre beaming too after sharing in an extravaganza that has delighted audiences for years.


Runs nightly at 7pm until Saturday 21st, (extra matinee performance on the 21st).  You can buy tickets through the King’s box office.

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