Chronicling a Love Affair with Canadian Theatre


Beehive At Drayton Entertainment

Beehive: The 60s Musical is an innocuous bit of fluff cobbled together by Larry Gallagher from the discographies of 1960s-era girl groups and female soloists. It is getting a suitably bouncy production from Drayton Entertainment courtesy of director/choreographer David Connolly.

There’s no real “book” to this musical. It’s simply a succession of over thirty songs arranged chronologically with brief comments about the events of the decade provided by the sprightly cast, all of whom are far too young to have been present at the creation.

Beehive provides a fascinating look at how pop music, aimed solidly at the teen market, matured (if that’s the right word) during the 60s, moving from the simple but endearing jingles of the girl groups of the early part of the decade to the more soulful, angst-ridden work of Tina Turner and Janis Joplin.

The six women who carry the show – Tiffany Deriveau, Kelly Holiff, Caitlyn MacInnis, Laura Mae Nason, Erica Peck, and Ocean Williams – all have impressive show biz chops, with most of them boasting credits from Stratford (Rent and Chicago), Shaw, and Toronto. And it shows.

They earn their keep as they cycle through a dizzying array of period-perfect costumes (Julia Holbert) and wigs while recreating dance moves that seemed so cool at the time and now look vaguely ridiculous.

Peck has perhaps the best rock voice in the bunch and she was a stand out in “You Don’t Own Me.” Deriveau and Holiff show real guts undertaking to recreate the magic of Tina Turner and Janis Joplin respectively.

There’s audience participation, too, as the girls drag men old enough to be their fathers (or grandfathers!) onto the stage and put them through their paces. It struck me as somewhere between good clean fun and elder abuse.

David Boechler has given Beehive a candy-coloured, vaguely psychedelic set alive with giant flowers, the band visible behind a gauze curtain upstage. It’s rather like the set for one of those teen dance shows that popped up and promptly withered on TV in the early 60s.

Whether you will find Beehive appealing depends to a great extent on how much you like the source material. It will probably also help if you actually lived through the period as most of the full house at the Drayton Festival Theatre seem to have done. Your call.

Beehive continues at the Drayton Festival Theatre in Drayton through June 23, 2004. For more information and to purchase tickets visit the Drayton Entertainment website.

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