AS A former scout and someone that did sound technology at school, I have to say I was intrigued as I entered the Haymarket last week for the opening night of the Basingstoke Gang Show - as two worlds of my childhood collided.

And I was not alone. As I walked up Wote Street, there was a sea of children in their various uniforms waiting excitedly, either to get on stage or to see their peers take to the famous stage.

There wasn’t long to wait. As the curtain fell, a tremendous roar echoed around the Haymarket, as the screens burst into life and played a news broadcast announcing that entertainment had been banned.

Of course, it wasn’t long before the stars of the show - more than 70 children of all ages from the Basingstoke area’s Scouting and Guide movement - tore down the ‘Theatre closed’ signs and jumped enthusiastically into the performance.

Throughout the evening, the cast seemlessly jumped from all-singing, all-dancing numbers to comedy sketches that had the audience in stitches. One of these that really stuck out was a spoof of the iconic Queen music video of ‘I Want To Break Free’. Vacuum cleaner and everything, the scout in question even managed to style-out the moustache falling off midway through.

But it wasn’t all laughing, as the children and young adults touched some very important subjects. Interpretive dances covering subjects from bullying at school to mental health, the cast really showed a level of maturity of subjects that are certainly topical in the modern day.

Producer Kirsty Thomas put together a show featuring a range of songs and even wider range of topics, from the vibrant African wildlife, including giraffes, elephants, lions and even a crocodile, to ancient Greece and a Friday night on the town.

With this year marking the 40th anniversary of the Gang Show, the team, band and cast put together a performance that would have had even the most miserable smiling by the end.

Basingstoke Gang Show 2020 runs at the Haymarket until Saturday, February 22. You can find out more from, or call the Box Office on 01256 844244.