Primary School Musical (4 stars)

Primary School Musical

Fed up with the me-me-me narcissism of High School Musical? Hankering for the chutzpah of Bugsy Malone? Longing to see a song-and-dance show that has a built-in call to political action?

Well, the opportunity is here with Primary School Musical, a delightful antidote to the fame-is-the-spur values of Hannah Montana, packed with catchy songs and imbued with an uplifting sense of public spiritedness. The only catch is that to get the full experience you have to find a class of willing P7s and stage the show for yourself.

The brainchild of Angus Reid – book, music and lyrics – Primary School Musical began as a response to the threatened closure of Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Primary. Happily, the school and the show live on, but it’s the producers’ idea that P7 classes across the country should now mount their own versions.

I recommend they do. Probably best not to tell the head teacher about the show’s call for civil disobedience, but no harm in emphasising its valuable message about empowerment as it tells the tale of a class of 11-year-olds fighting for the survival of their education using the power of song alone.

It features tailor-made parts for the whole class – from the socially deprived chav to the timid new boy – and it rattles along with a meta-theatrical conceit, being a musical about putting on a musical. All this is great fun, but it’s Reid’s songs, a bright and breezy set of catchy ensemble numbers and touching ballads, that carry the day.

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