Tuesday, October 19

Club Tropicana The Musical

- March 26, 2019

Once again I find myself almost at a loss for words after a night at the theatre… well almost. It pains me to be so negative when a team of performers, filled with energy and brimming with talent, are thrown onto the stage in a vehicle as flimsy as this. The kids can sing, they can dance and they can… well I’d like to say that they can deliver a laugh but the writer of this lame confection has given them scant material to raise even a smile. The plot, such as it is, is shamelessly lifted from the TV hit Benidorm, the level of humour is childish toilet level at best and the characters are so thinly drawn that there is no element of surprise, no comic twist or turn.

The set too is pretty feeble and the lighting barely suffices with scenes so poorly lit that it was hard to see which members of the cast were singing. No follow spot? Economy?

On the good side the cast can sing and they certainly can dance and the choreography is fast and furious and raises the entertainment level. So too does Kate Robbins who as Consuela, a character lifted from Victoria Wood but with a Spanish rather than a brummy accent, delivers the only real laughs of the evening. Using her impersonating skills and big voice she did manage to lift my spirits a peg or two. Joe McElderry is pretty good, but the director has, for reasons best known to himself, decided that the best way to depict a gay man is to pitch him as a geordie John Inman clone. I could get all political about this, but I think in 2019 there is little or no excuse, even if the show is set in the 1980s.

The final redeeming feature is of course a vast array of pop hits that some of us will treasure as the soundtrack to our early years, well delivered and yes, pretty well tagged to the feeble plot.

All this said the audience seemed to enjoy things more than I did, whipped up by the solid gold sounds of the eighties I suspect rather than the play itself.

Theatre Royal Brighton

25 March

Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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