Review: The Gangshow

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As an organisation, the Scouts offer us the chance to get out into the world and have a taste of things we’d never thought of doing ourselves.

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King’s Theatre

We trust them to be the last bastion of good, healthy family fun, free of adult prejudices like politics, race, religion or sexual identity.

The Gang Show is a vitally important part of that remit, not only does it give kids their first taste of treading the boards and creating a big show, it is an outsider’s window on the Scouts, a glimpse of their attitude, beliefs and bonfire side banter.

This year’s Gang Show is the usual blend of variety, sketches and music with a young and enthusiastic cast who do an excellent job of pulling together, particularly in the large ensemble numbers. The usual amateur teething problems of timing, tempo and cues are all there but, for the most part, the show sails on regardless.

The company embraces fully the ‘Variety’ model, raising eyebrows last year by featuring overtly political sketches and targeting Alex Salmond in particular.

This year, the politics is still there but fairly evenly spread, taking shots at an array of public figures.

The Gang are, after all, merely following the example of a million pantos and variety acts that have gone before them, taking cheap political shots because it’s handy for a quick laugh.

While everyone’s been focused on a handful of political gags, however, they’ve been completely blind to a script groaning under a ton weight of fat shaming, sexism and racism. It’s a small mercy that only one Ginger gag made the cut this year.

Most of it is the sort of stuff so ingrained in our culture that you wouldn’t give it a second thought but the sheer relentlessness of two and a half hours of quips about fat Scots is not just lazy writing but depressingly unfunny.

Maybe the discussion for the Scouts shouldn’t be what politics they hold but how to live up to the ideals they already have and how to deliver innovative, fresh comedy that doesn’t just ridicule the nearest easy target or send girls off the stage because they legitimately point out how few lines they have.

• Run ends tomorrow