Last week, some of my Group’s Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Leaders went to watch the Burdi Boys Gang Show from Potteries North District (which was kind of our old District before things were changed in 2005).
For those who don’t know, a bit of history of the Gang Show from Wikipedia –
In 1931, Ralph Reader, then a Rover Scout who was trying to make his mark in theatre in the USA and London, was asked to write a Scout based amateur variety show to help raise money for a swimming pool at Downe Scout Camp (now a Scout Association National Activity Centre). Rehearsals commenced under Reader’s direction on 25 May 1932 (his 29th birthday).
Initially the show did not have a title, but during a rehearsal break, Reader recalled later, he asked a cast member if everyone was ready to which the response was “Aye, aye Skip, the gang’s all here”. The first production, under the title The Gang’s All Here ran between 30 October and 1 November 1932 at the Scala Theatre in central London.
Despite the fact that the show was not a sell out, enough money was raised to fund the swimming pool and the show was well received. Baden-Powell, the founder of scouting, approached Reader and persuaded him to produce another show in 1933. This show was produced with the title The Gang Comes Back and ran for a week.
A tradition had been born and Reader continued to write and produce the London Gang Show. In 1934 the show became known as The Gang Show and the song Crest of a Wave was performed for the first time, becoming over the years the Show’s international anthem.
Burdi Boys itself has been around since 1958 and has survived 2 District amalgamations.
The show was co-produced by Rachael, my Group’s Beaver Leader and had Paul, our Scout Leader, and one of our Beavers in the cast. The show started with 1st Kidsgrove’s Scout Band playing a couple of tunes (The Burdi Boys theme and Crest of a Wave if I remember correctly) which was an innovative way to start the show. After that, came the usual mixture of songs, dancing and sketches. It wasn’t long before the Beavers came out to sing ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’ and, as usual, they stole the show! Both the Beavers and the (also excellent) Cubs featured heavily in the first half of the show as they are not permitted to be onstage past a certain time. They, along with the rest of the cast, did really well in the song and dance numbers.
The second half of the show featured the Scouts, Explorers and Leaders and included a rendition by the cast of Bohemian Rhapsody and this actually worked very well! Towards the end, after having some ‘advice’ from Executive Producer Paul (who said again he wasn’t doing another show – now a running joke!), the co-producers Sarah and Rachael sang a duet. After this came the finale which featured songs from the TV series ‘Glee’ followed by, of course, the Burdi Boys Theme tune and A Crest of a Wave.
It was a shame that the Beavers and Cubs weren’t able to take part in the finale (they did on Saturday), but it was an excellent end to an excellent show. Well done to everyone who took part.
Oh, we all liked the comedy District Commissioner – or was it the real one??