It is perhaps a sad realisation that Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford’s upbeat and lively musical I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road is as relevant today as it was when it first opened in 1978. Tackling gender issues and inequality tonight’s production, adroitly directed by Matthew Gould, cleverly and creatively exposes that, while we may have been taken steps in the right direction, we still have quite a way to go.

Set in a trendy, underground nightclub in the 1970s we meet rising starlet Heather Jones (radiantly captured by Landi Oshinowo) who has decided to take her music in another direction. Turning her back on the sappy hits that helped her achieve some degree of commercial success she discovers music’s potential to express and tackle the issues close to her and so many others. Cheap romantic hits give way to powerful ballads addressing and challenging gender roles in all realms of society, much to the dismay of her manager, Joe Epstein (played by the brilliant Nicolas Colicos).

And what a way to challenge them! Oshinowo’s Heather is a fiery and exhilarating character committed to identifying with who she is (and what she wants to stand for) to then express it through her music. We watch her story concisely but excitingly unfold before us. It is not uncommon for productions with such pace and thrilling dynamism to lose any real emotional depth but this is not the case tonight as the cast expertly breathe life into the warmest of moments. No sooner has the energy stooped (but never dipped) to accommodate its gentle, soulful undertones, than it has once again soared and the show rolls on in all the flowery, free-loving style of the 1970s.

The energy struck between Heather and her two singers, Alice (Rosanna Hyland) and Cheryl (Kristen Gaetz) is electrifying. As one indomitable unit they fluidly plough (in the most artistic sense of the word!) through springy jingles, passionate ballads and irrepressible refrains. You can’t help but smile and discreetly jig in the seat throughout charismatic renditions of Natural High and Strong Woman Number. And the trio, in turn, form a superb ensemble with the rest of Heather’s band who seamlessly flow in and out of the action, with guitarist Jake (David Gibbons) providing an unexpectedly tender highlight with In A Simple Way I Love You.

This is an expert revival of a wrongfully overlooked musical. I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road hits home on issues that sometimes can do with being addressed with a vivacious flare, the added sass making it that bit more palatable for some of the sticklers. Few productions have felt more inclusive, with this entire show feeling like one long (and lovable) wink to the audience leaving them eager to get their own acts together and wink right back.

I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road is playing Jermyn Street Theatre until 23 July 2016. For more information and tickets, see the Jermyn Street Theatre website.

Photo: Richard Lakos