A musical based on the premise of a man masquerading as his substitute teacher friend, encouraging the pupils of a high-attaining independent school to forego their normal studies and, instead, aim to win a Battle of the Bands competition? Aside from the obvious child -protection issues and the lack of teacher professionalism on show, that idea is just not going to engage an audience for two hours… is it?
How wrong can you be! Bearsden Academy’s latest (almost literally) all-singing, all-dancing production is fantastic. Special mention must go to lead, Archie Morton, whose enthusiasm never flags, despite being in almost every scene. It is the music and singing that are really jaw-dropping, though: beautiful harmonies, a superb backing band and pin-sharp choreography make this a show that looks and sounds as good as any professional production I have seen in recent years.
Huge credit must go to the performers but also the army of teachers and pupils who filled all the off-stage roles and contributed to a hugely entertaining evening. It was very astute of Mr Millar and his team to choose a script which echoes the Cabinet Secretary for Education’s current message about schools looking beyond simple examination attainment and seeking to educate the whole child – quite what Mr Swinney would have thought of the broader anti-corporate ‘Stick it to the Man!’ theme, is another matter… But the 9-year old accompanying me was happy to shout that catchphrase to the rooftops – clear evidence that the show is a triumph!