Review: MAMA Revue, Brunton Theatre

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SOMETIMES 5 stars are more about a state of mind than they are about the technical details of a show.

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And so it is with the Musselburgh Amateur Musical Association, who have captured the essence of what amateur theatre is all about in their musical revue – fun.

Yes, there are many aspects of the show that need to be tinkered with to even begin competing with professional productions, but MAMA seem to have accepted that it’s not about the competition, it’s about taking part in the first place.

It’s created a relaxed, cheerful atmosphere on stage, with an almost Morecambe and Wise sense of mischief to the show, and informed their music choice.

Choosing a line-up of musical theatre favourites that hit their demographic of friends, family and over-fifties square between the eyes, the ensemble really engage with their material and the audience.

Not all the performers have the skill or range to comfortably handle their pieces, but it’s obvious that they’ve really invested in their performances and are enjoying being stretched.

Opening the first act with a medley of Calypso Beats, infused with Caribbean colours and cheeky Carmen Miranda moves from a group of ladies who may well have known the original star, the show is full of upbeat, anarchic surprises from the cast. Between musical sets, performers entertained the audience with a series of sketches and comedy skits, which made for a pleasant diversion during set changes, even if the first duo floundered uncomfortably through a number of dreadful fish puns.

Where MAMA have excelled is in their engagement with the wider community, their cast is taken from all walks of life and everyone on stage gets fair representation. A quick squint at the thanks on the back page of the programme also reveals that people and companies all over the Lothians have made small but significant contributions to putting on the show.

Although MAMA may not meet the remit of a professional show, the company absolutely meet all the requirements of an amateur company looking to entertain while they do something they enjoy themselves – as their enthusiastic, glitzy final number, Beauty and the Beast’s Be Our Guest, demonstrates beautifully.

• Runs ends tomorrow.