Ticket to ride the magic bus

All Aboard: The replica London bus which takes pride of place in Bolsover Drama Group's production of Summer Holiday
All Aboard: The replica London bus which takes pride of place in Bolsover Drama Group's production of Summer Holiday

For sale….one big red London bus.

But it won’t be going to a new home for a day or two as it’s got to get to Greece.

The replica double decker takes pride of place in a production of Summer Holiday at The Bolsover School, which is running tonight and tomorrow (July 13 and 14).

It’s been lovingly made by parents Tim and Nancy Ballington whose daughters Milly and Olivia are among the 50-strong cast of the musical by Bolsover Drama Group’s youth section.

The production is as much a transport of delight as the bus, whisking spectators off on a nostalgic trip to the Swinging Sixties.

Although none of the cast was born at the time, and I suspect neither were their mentors, this production captures the buzz of a revolutionary decade when excited teenagers, minus their parents, were setting out on foreign holidays and English bands were taking over the pop charts. One of the prophetic lines in the musical is that girl groups are going to be big one day.

Laura Hulett as Barbara and Kieran Buck as Don in Summer Holiday

Laura Hulett as Barbara and Kieran Buck as Don in Summer Holiday

The enormous hard work which has gone into the show is reflected in the delightful choreography and it’s great to see the boys getting into the groove.

With a setlist of nearly 30 songs, and every one a classic thanks to Cliff Richard who performed in the original screen version, the cast have big boots to fill - but their performances get the audience humming and singing along.

Bolsover’s answer to Sir Cliff is Kieran Buck, taking the lead as mechanic Don. He plays the role very straight, his singing showing promise but he needs to work on building up his confidence.

Laura Hulett is a delight as Barbara, the runaway American singing star who masquerades as a boy to join the travellers. She’s blessed with a beautiful voice and performs confidently, looking every inch the LIving Doll.

Amylee Whitehouse, Madeline Blunt and Charlotte Blunt, left to right in Summer Holiday

Amylee Whitehouse, Madeline Blunt and Charlotte Blunt, left to right in Summer Holiday

Eight-year-old Isaac Farnfield has the aah-factor as cheeky mechanic Cyril and in programme notes says that he has been copying his dad for his London accent and playing drunk!

Connor Brown gives a confident performance as Edwin and Chris Hempenstall brings the house down as his mechanic mate Steve when he cosies up to a moustachioed hippy at a dance.

Sisters Madeline and Charlotte Blunt and Amylee Whitehouse look and sound like pop stars in their roles as singing trio Do Re Mi.

Tthere’s laughs to be had courtesy of Chris Peck as the flamboyant agent Jerry, who has to dress as a Swiss maid and maraca-waving street entertainer, aided and abetted by Megan Owens as the runaway’s mum Stella.

Cast members in Summer Holiday

Cast members in Summer Holiday

It all adds up to a big ray of sunshine during one of the wettest summers for years.

Summer Holiday is directed by Donna Knowles and James Sheppard, production is by Wendy Blunt and choreography by Lisa Brunt and Lianne Brunt with the help of Charlotte Blunt, Connor Brown, Laura Hulett and Amylee Whitehouse. The musical director is Dawn Shearwood.

Anyone interested in buying the replica life-size bus should contact Tim Ballington on 07708 992789.

Review by GAY BOLTON

Photos by Suzanne Walker