(Alfred Hickling’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/2.)
The success of Glee and High School Musical proves that groups of misfit teenagers singing and dancing their way to salvation are the stuff of global entertainment franchises. Except that Willy Russell had the same idea 30 years ago.
Viewed alongside Russell's other creations, Our Day Out always seemed the runt of the litter. A tender-hearted but slightly awkward tale of a group of disadvantaged kids on a school outing, it became a youth-theatre fixture. Now it's back, in a completely revised version by Russell and director Bob Eaton. The result is a confident, through-composed musical with street-dancing, rapping, live penguins and a llama. It's a measure of the show's ambition that not only are the vast majority of the cast local under-16s, they even filch a hoard of real animals from the zoo.
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