“I didn’t get all the references they made mum….” a young girl commented as the crowd filed out after June Rodger’s opening night at The Gaiety. “Good” I remarked to her as I passed by; “That means you’ve been well reared”. Mum and nearby audience members chuckled knowingly, as the hearty crowd pressed onward towards the exit.
It was that sort of night, a stream of giggles and belly laughs from the opening curtain, with something for everyone and no-one left out. We were taken on a trip back in time to the nineties, when a mobile phone was ‘slightly smaller than a bric of turf’… June was certainly put ‘back in her box’ during one of the opening numbers, but not for long when ‘What Are You Looking At Barbie’ burst forth in shimmering pink to command the stage. Hillarious ‘plays’ on Ken and his buddies Ken, and well Ken ‘light’.. led to ‘Diet Coke’ man style dreaming and a rather excessive display of bare flesh and muscles of which I totally disapprove (not). ‘Spice up your Life’ brought the house down and seeing ‘Ginger Rodgers’ in her Irish tricolour dress just about made my night.
I said there was something for everyone, but it was extremely kind of June to include a song especially for me… ‘Up and down the Mountain I live in Poulaphuca’ was clearly meant for me wasn’t it? My dad, aged 90, sat giggling beside me on his plush velvet Gaiety throne. Dad is as fresh as a daisy and as bright as a button, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that he can occasionally vote with a cozy doze, when sitting in a cinema or theatre on one of my forced ‘DadNdaughter’ dates. Not so on this occasion, he was totally entranced throughout and laughed loudly at the sketches on water charges and June’s sly, and not so sly digs at ‘Enda’.
I actually choked up a bit when shortly after the break Ms Rodgers appeared, pretty in pink, and simply sang her heart out. No shimmer and shine, just talent and personality and a whole packed house sitting in the palm of her hand. International man of espionage ‘Oliver Bond’ had us back laughing our socks off, and the cracks just kept coming from ‘The Spy Who Loafed Me’ like a kalashnikov on speed.
I met with June on the TV3 Midday set on Friday before the opening night and she charmingly commented on her nerves and how much there was to remember. I didn’t realise until I saw the show exactly what a massive workload was actually involved. This is an enormous perfomance and the amount of detail packed into a short few hours is absolutely staggering. June Rodgers ‘In The Merry Month of June’ is beyond good value for money.
Variety there is and variety delivers. From ‘One Night in Coolock’ to ‘Hippy Lovin’, to ‘Barbie Girls’ – the lyrics are clever, the singing great, the dance routines slick, well choreographed and beautifully executed. The show never lost energy and brought us on a roller coaster of theatrics, good costumes, great stand up and sheer all-round entertainment.
It runs until Saturday and I challenge you to find it lacking….