Residents of Bromley and beyond are invited to the Club Tropicana Hotel for a celebration of 80s smash-hit classics. Club Tropicana the Musical is a new all-singing, all-dancing show, brought to the stage by the producers of the UK tour of Hairspray. It’s exciting news for local residents, too, as the show is getting its world premiere at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre this week, writes Holly O’Mahony…
Led by a star-studded cast including 2009 X Factor winner Joe McElderry, EastEnders’ Neil McDermott, and 80s actress, comedian and singer-songwriter Kate Robbins, Club Tropicana follows a bride and groom who get cold feet before their wedding day. They each decide to escape to the sun for a holiday, unaware they’ll both be checking into the sizzling Club Tropicana Hotel in Spain. With the drinks flowing and tans glowing, will the young lovers decide to go through with their wedding after all? Meanwhile, in the background, the hotel staff are desperately looking to save the resort from mean-spirited hotel inspectors hoping to close it down.
Regardless of whether or not the plot is gripping enough to thrill, the soundtrack is sure to lure in the crowds. Laced with numbers by ABC, Cyndi Lauper, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Dolly Parton, Club Tropicana promises to bring audiences some of the best-loved anthems of the 80s. From ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ to ‘Islands in the Stream’ and ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, the auditorium will no doubt be pumping with nostalgia.
“The 1980s was the most important decade of my life,” said Kate Robbins in a press interview for the musical. The decade saw the actress and singer – who plays the grumpy Spanish hotel maid Consuela in Club Tropicana – shoot to fame. Robbins represented the UK with pop group Prima Donna at the Eurovision Song Contest (coming third), scored her own top 10 single and landed a role in the 80s soap Crossroads. She went on to star in her own TV series The Kate Robbins Show (which later became Kate and Ted’s Show then Saturday Gang), before providing many of the voices for ITV’s satirical puppet show, Spitting Image.
“I don’t really like to step into somebody else’s boots; I like to do my own thing,” said Robbins, who says she’s thrilled to have been given an amount of ‘free reign’ to create the role of Consuela in the show.
Born in 1991, cast member Joe McElderry missed out on the 80s. Nevertheless, the X Factor star, whose chart-topping rendition of Miley Cyrus’s The Climb took the nation by storm in 2009, believes the decade’s music made an impression on him. “When we first had a read through of the show, I found I knew the tunes [and] lyrics to nearly all of [the songs],” said the singer-turned-actor in a press interview. “That’s the impact 80s music has had on me.”
McElderry, whose recent stage credits include playing the title role in the 2015 production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, plays club rep Garry in Club Tropicana. “He’s camp, he’s witty, very flamboyant and quite sassy,” he laughs. “I’ve never played a comedy role before but it’s been really fun… Club Tropicana has a great story line. It’s a family-friendly show that you can come and sing along to.” The Club Tropicana cast also features EastEnders bad boy Neil McDermott, who played Ryan Malloy for four years in the long-running soap. For McDermott, who was born in 1980, playing the likeable hotel manager Robert is a step away from his typical ‘bad guy’ role. “Apart from Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, which I toured last year, I’ve played a lot of baddies,” he said. “Robert is a good guy who runs the hotel with Serena, Amelle Berrabah’s [of the Sugababes] character.”
To say more would be giving away the show’s surprises. But, if Club Tropicana sounds like your kind of getaway, backcomb your hair, insert your shoulder pads and head to Churchill Theatre for a night of ‘brushing shoulders with the stars’.
Club Tropicana the Musical is on at the Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley BR1 1HA. January 24 – February 2, performance times vary. Admission: £12.50 – £39.