Review: 'Shout! The Mod Musical' a colorful, high-energy show

nancy.wellard@cancer.orgJuly 5, 2012 

  • The production goes through July 29. Tickets are $37 for adults; $25 for children. Details: 843-842-2787, www.artshhi.com

The cast of "Shout! The Mod Musical," the fast-paced production now on stage at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, features five very talented women who are, simply put, uber fab.

They sing. They dance. They amuse. And they tug at your heartstrings. Bottom line: You must see this mod rainbow of girl power up close and in person.

The inimitable Casey Colgan choreographs and directs an eye-popping energetic performance that never seems to let up as the colorful five -- supported by the momentum of the music, the dances, the costumes and the culture of London in the 1960s -- transport us through an evening of pure delight.

There is a little drama here. Nothing we can't handle, though -- just issues of happy marriage, finding contentment, cheating husbands, tartish behavior, even mutable sexuality. But all turns out well in the end.

So let me set it up for you. Think London: Carnaby Street fashions, British musicians, vinyl clothing, gogo boots and miniskirts.

Then think, too, of our side of the pond, with a touch of Rowan and Martin and "Laugh In": hippies, hearts, psychedelic art and fashion, peace signs and hemp jewelry.

"Shout" magazine is a kind of mod bible for the 1960s, and our girls are especially taken by the words of Gwendolyn Holmes, whose advice column affects each one in the most dramatic way. Her topics are not just about music and clothes. Issues of pill popping, fat blasting, pot smoking, oh, and cigarettes and caffeine seemed to be more her speed. Aside from this, Gwendolyn preaches that finding the perfect husband is the only path to contentment.

So, throughout the night, her booming words, from somewhere off-stage, seemed to set the girls in a new direction.

The girls are quirky and cool, and I enjoyed each one for her unique character. They sing and they shout and they move and they groove. In costumes of brilliant neons, rainbow patterns, tie-and-go scarves, acid-hued hairstyles, the five are consistently costumed to define their characters throughout the performance. So look forward to Jen Brooks, who, as Red, with her unfortunate eyeglasses and projected nerdiness, strikes out finding love. Then there is Meredith Inglesby, Orange, who clearly is the smooth, proper, apparently successful member of the group. Never assume.

K. Michelle Martin, Yellow, is the American who comes with a love for the Beatles, especially Paul. Ariel Tyler Page, Green, and Kelsey Denae Schmitz, Blue, add their spin on glamour and both live life in the fast lane. One might even be a bit of a tart, ahem.

And talk about a playlist. The music is simply over the top. In some cases, the songs are performed just as they were written, though some have been tweaked for our purposes.

In all cases, the music soars.

You'll positively love "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me."

"Goldfinger" is a total show-stopper. And with "Don't Sleep In The Subway," the list just gets better and better. I must also prepare you for "Downtown" and "Those Were The Days."

This piece was created by Phillip George and David Lowenstein with "Mod Musings" and "Groovy Gab," by Peter Charles Morris and Phillip George. It was first presented off-Broadway with musical direction by Bradley Vieth.

The happy news for all of us is that Vieth actually sees to the musical direction from the pit in our arts center production.

It just doesn't get any better.

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