Kristen Finlay, Erin Foster-O’Riordan, Monica Roberts, Leslie Caffaro, and Nicole English totally sock it to you in Shout! The Mod Musical, on at C103 until January 10. It’s totally mod, baby. Can you dig it?
As Director Kristen Finlay said in our conversation last week about the show, Shout! really is primarily a celebration of the music and culture of the British 1960s. Filled with your favourite songs from the sixties, even though you were born long after them (or say you were, right?), Shout! is a fun, joyous 90 minute musical tour through the era that brought us birth control, a few more women in the workplace, and an endless supply of advice columns that really weren’t that helpful. Accompanied by musicians Sally Hunt, Tim Maskell, and Scott McDonald, the ladies of Shout! give a great performance and you can’t help but sit there with a silly grin on your face and move to the beat.
While we know that the sixties were a transformative era that has heavily impacted our lives today, Shout! doesn’t pull any huge punches in terms of really biting in and chewing on the issues of the era, but the all-female cast and emphasis on the music opened my eyes to a couple of things about the sixties that I didn’t previously realize:
- The tension between the thought that “I must get married” and the free love movement was very palpable – at least in the music – and I can imagine it would have been difficult for young women to reconcile those two forces.
- How influential mainstream media was before the rise of everyone having a way to publish their thoughts, opinions and experiences at their fingertips. Shout! shows the effect of the way that media drastically shaped culture, especially for women who spent their time taking care of the home and children.
Whether Shout!‘s creators (Phillip George, David Lowenstein, and Peter Charles Morris) intended it or not, having an all-female cast also drew more attention to what the song lyrics were actually impressing on people. With lyrics like, “You gotta / Show him that you care just for him / Do the things he likes to do / Wear your hair just for him” (“Wishing and Hoping” – Dusty Springfield”) or “You walk out on me when we both disagree / ‘Cause to reason is not what you care for / I’ve heard it all a million times before / Take off your coat, my love, and close the door” (“Don’t Sleep in the Subway” – Petula Clark) sung by a cast of five very talented women, it makes both the differences and the similarities between the 1960s and today all the more apparent. Maybe today’s top 40 hits aren’t telling women how to do their hair anymore, but with lyrics like “Boy toy named Troy used to live in Detroit / … / Bought me Alexander McQueen, he was keeping me stylish” (“Anaconda” – Nicki Minaj) or “If you want it, take it / I should’ve said it before / Tried to hide it, fake it / Can’t pretend anymore” (“Break Free” – Ariana Grande), maybe we’ve come a long way, baby, but are we really that much further ahead?
Shout! The Mod Musical runs until January 10 at c103. Tickets are $27.25 at Tix on the Square.