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Shang-a-Lang by Catherine Johnson writer of Mamma Mia!

Bay City Rollers Shang-a-lang 1974Signal Theatre Company presents: Shang-a-Lang: a play about the Bay City Rollers, youthful nostalgia, friendship and hitting forty from Catherine Johnson, writer of international stage and screen smash Mamma Mia!

Bring out the tartan scarves for this feelgood play from the writer of the highest grossing UK film of all time, recalling a time when androgynous style, Ziggy Stardust and Oxford bags were all the passion. Including ‘the rollers’ best-selling hits such as Bye Bye Baby and Give a Little Love, Shang-a-Lang follows a trio of forty-something women as they try to recapture their youth at a seventies weekend at Butlins. Political correctness, manners, decorum and possibly clothes go out the window as the increasingly disillusioned women try to cling to the dreams of bygone years to try to deny disappointment.

Catherine Johnson is best known as the scriptwriter of Mamma Mia!, winner of Best Musical at the UK National Film Awards (2008) and nominated for Best New Musical at the Oliviers (2000), Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards (2008) and Outstanding British Film award at the BAFTAS (2008). Catherine has previously been the recipient of the Thames Television Writer-in-Residence and Best Plays award (1991) the Bristol Old Vic/HTV Playwriting Award (1987). Shang-a-Lang was first seen at the Bush Theatre in 1998.

Signal Theatre Company was established by actress/producer Kellie Batchelor and director/producer Robert Wolstenholme. They aim to produce revivals of modern comedies both obscure and well-known with sharp attention to contemporary resonance, and emphasis on shows that are both fun to make and fun to watch. Past productions include A Place at the Table (Tristan Bates), The Night Before Christmas (Hen and Chickens/Bike Shed), Here (Tristan Bates) and Private Lives (Canal Café).

Robert said “This play attracted us for the simple reason it’s really, really funny. We love to entertain and make people laugh, and think this show will do that. We’ve chosen to do it now partly because it’s about turning forty and the Bay City Rollers released Shang-a-Lang as a single in 1974, so that’s forty too.”

The Financial Times said Catherine’s writing ‘has the rare knack of making you roar with laughter at the same time as punching you in the solar plexus’ (Dead Sheep) which pretty much sums up why it’s a good fit for us – our primary concern is always to make theatre that’s fun, but if we can sneakily make you think and feel at the same time, then so much the better!”

Company Information
Written by Catherine Johnson, Directed by Robert Wolstenholme, Designed by Christopher Hone, Lighting design by Seth Rook Williams.

Bay City Rollers – Shang-A-Lang from the 1970s

Cast: To be confirmed

Book Mamma Mia! musical tickets for the Novello Theatre in London’s West End.

Listings information

Kings Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QN
22nd Jan – 15th Feb, Tues to Sat at 7.15pm, Sun at 3pm
£25-£15 (previews £10)
Box Office: 0207 478 0160

@SignalTC #shangalang


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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