Scouts and Guides bask in the reputation of getting things done. When it comes to putting on a show, they justify that reputation, and some.

Even the most lavishminded London West End producer can only dream of filling the stage with a cast of around 70, and all pretty good at what they do.

The Southend Scout and Gang Showmixes together music, choreography and comedy in what is essentially an old-fashioned – or rather, timeless – variety show.

It is as entertaining and funny as a good variety show should be, but it also offers something else not always associated with a night out at the Southend theatre. As gangs go, this one definitely generates a strong sense of “respekt”.

The respect goes to the logistics involved in marshalling and coordinating all those chorus and solo performers , and steering them through 28 separate routines. It amounts to a great showcase for the Scouting movement as a whole. It also works as a great recruiting tool. I briefly pondered signing up myself at the theatre box office after the show. Would I pass as a teenager?

This year's production has a particular zing to it. It marks the 50th anniversary of the Southend shows. The on-stage cast were joined in the final number by veterans in the audience, some of whom must now be approaching their seventies.

The oldies were all in notably good shape for their age, and the same could be said of the show as a whole.

At least one of the items has been around since the first Southend Gang Show, in 1966. The material is all as engaging as ever. Highlights include a wildly funny sketch in which the same film clip is repeated in increasingly disjointed ways by a bolshie projectionist, and the Beatles’ Let It Be.

The Southend Gang Show was held in high regard by Ralph Reader, the founder of the international Gang Show, who wrote a song for the town. That song, It’s a Date, gives the 2016 show its special song.

This year’s showmakes good use of new generation video-graphic stage technology.

That apart, it is business as usual for the show's cast and producers In a fastchanging world, the Southend Gang Show provides a solid bedrock of ever-reliable joy and fun. As a showcase for young people and their talents, it suggests the future is in good hands.

  • It’s a Date: Southend Scout and Gang Show 2016 runs at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff, until Saturday at 7.30pm.

There is also a matinee performance on Saturday at 2.30pm.