GALASHIELS may have been hit by freezing temperatures over the past week, but this year’s production of Summer Holiday brought some much-needed sun to the Borders.

The Cliff Richard classic was performed by the town’s Amateur Operatic Society, but there was nothing ‘amateur’ about this display.

Led this year by Clark Eaton Turner and Jan Baird, the group brought plenty of fun and laughter to a packed Volunteer Hall.

The story tells of four London bus mechanics Don (Clark Eaton Turner), Edwin (William Pearson), Cyril (Craig Monks) and Steve (Jack McAulay), who are hoping to take a holiday in the south of France.

They come across a group of singers, Alma (Jennifer Cook), Angie (Kayley Turner) and Mimsie (Rebecca Frankland) who have broken down on their way to Athens.

And within the opening three scenes it becomes clear why each has been cast for their particular role.

All mastered their accents, sang beautifully and brought enough energy to the stage, to make sure the audience were clapping along.

The girls’ rendition of Gee Whiz, It’s you stands out for all the right reasons.

In scene four, the audience is introduced to Barbara, played by Jan Baird – a famous, young American singer.

And if Jan continues to perform they way she did on Monday night she could very much become a name to watch out for in years to come.

She began by singing Constantly, with the support of the excellent backing group, which wouldn’t have looked out of place in the West End.

She is trying to escape the clutches of her somewhat controlling mother Stella (Lorraine Kemp) who is a VERY ambitious woman.

The audience is also introduced to Jerry, Barbara’s agent (played by Simon Thomson).

It would be impossible and unfair to pick a stand-out character, but Simon lit up the vast Volunteer Hall every time he stepped onto the stage.

It is hard to believe he is only an S5 pupil at Earlston High and this is his first time preforming with Galashiels Amateur Operatic Society.

It looked as if he had been playing the role for years.

His American accent was second nature.

And it was a fantastic idea to pair him up with Lorraine Kemp, who was equally as good.

Lorraine is currently faculty head of Music, Art and Drama at Selkirk High.

It is safe to say the youngsters at that school are in good hands when it comes to entertaining.

Afterwards, Barbara manages to run away and comes across the group who are heading to Greece, convincing them she is a boy named Bobby.
The group then take her under their wing.

The girls’ performance of Put On Your Dancing Shoes gets everybody moving, before the boys receive the big shock...

The ‘young boy’ is actually the young American girl, Barbara.

Meanwhile Barbara’s mother has gone to the press to report her missing and the eight bus riders are arrested when they reach Athens.

They are eventually let go, and it all becomes clear that Barbara and Don are beginning to form a relationship.

Jan and Clark are so professional throughout – and it is clear to see why they were selected to lead this year’s show.

Both are experienced and well-known local performers with Clark joining the society in 2006 and Jan joining just a year later. 

They are clearly used to the pressure that comes with acting and can sing equally as well – shown in their brilliant duet of one of Cliff Richard’s best known songs The Young Ones.

And their skills are emphasised even further when they declare their love for each other in front of the world’s press and Barbara’s mother in scene eight.

The show ends with a party on a Grecian beach with everyone enjoying their much-deserved summer holiday – all’s well that ends well!

The production is thoroughly unmissable and ticks all the right genre boxes with plenty romance and comedy. And the fast pace throughout is a testament to the quality of the performers.

It is easy to forget the people who also work so hard behind the scenes to create this spectacle.

Producer and musical director Jeff Thomson deserves a huge amount of credit as does choreographer Marie McCullough.

The sets are also brilliantly designed and very relevant to the storyline.

And it just simply isn’t a musical without music.

The orchestra did a sterling job, with not a note out of place.

Summer Holiday runs until Saturday, March 10 at the Volunteer Hall. For ticket enquiries, call Audrey MacDonald on 07754588688.