Bugle Boys – A Salute to The Andrews Sisters, Assembly Hall, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Bugle Boys / Civil Disobedience
John Livings (writer), Barry Church-Woods (director)
Tom Harlow (Laverne), Martin MacLennan (Patty), Evan James Armstrong (Maxine) Chris Gorman (pianist)

Tom Harlow (Laverne), Martin MacLennan (Patty), Evan James Armstrong (Maxine) Chris Gorman (pianist)

Running time

‘It takes balls to be a Bugle Boy’ so says one of the three blue satin clad drag artists who strut on to the stage in a pastiche of the million-selling, close harmony trio from the ‘30s and ‘40s, the Andrews Sisters. There’s no pretence of the perjink elegance of the original trio here, but these Bugle Boys are all the better for that.

Like the original all-girl group, the Bugle Boys talk about being Minnesota gals but these three, Tom Harlow as a lascivious Laverne, Martin MacLennan as a bossy wee Patty and Evan James Armstrong as a booze swigging Maxine, are all either Scottish or Scottish based.

Their impressive close harmony rendition opens with Tonight’s the Night before they launch in to a resumé of their lives that is a kind of stencil of the life and career of the Andrews Sisters over the Bugle Boys (or vice versa!).

In this innuendo packed narrative, coming from ‘grinding poverty’ and ‘entertaining the troops’ take on whole new meanings. John Livings’ risqué script, that’s peppered with local jokes and references, is delivered with cheek and panache by the Boys in a meld of past and present involving references to Angelina Jolie, the Spice Girls and Madonna.

Joined by Chris Gorman the ever-patient pianist, the trio sings Andrews Sisters’ classics from Rum and Coca Cola going through various hits including of course Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Tom Harlow’s opera and classical singing training shines in his solo spot and the trio’s encore of Lullaby of Broadway is a fitting end to a sharp and witty show that’s laced with foot tapping sounds.

Bugle Boys – A Salute to The Andrews Sisters has its UK première at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe but opened at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. It’s a fast passing hour of good Fringe entertainment, but don’t sit at front row if you’re the shy and retiring type. The Boys can get very close. Photo opporchancities may be available post performance if you’re as gallus as these Boys. Good camp fun!

02 – 26 August age recommend 12+