It’s very silly, it’s very cheesey, the Day-glo colours hurt your eyes, and we can hang our heads in shame at some of the fashions, but it was the 1980s and life depended on where in the UK you lived as to what part of Thatcher’s Boom or Bust you came under. For those in Michael Gyngell’s Club Tropicana life was definitely booming, writes Michael Holland.
The storyline is farcical so we won’t waste any time going over it, also, at one point I foolishly imagined it was some kind of whodunit mystery and told my theatre companion who I thought was the guilty one! I’m not sure if I’ll ever recover from that so let’s move on…
On the plus side there are some great songs included, and the singing from everyone who got to sing was excellent, which, when added to the hi-energy dancing ensured an audience clapping along and even standing up to throw down some moves.
Joe McElderry camped it right up as Garry the hotel’s Entertainment Manager, skipping about the stage as he eyed up the talent; Kate Robbins as the Spanish chambermaid got to do a multitude of impressions and prove that she has a great singing voice, while Emily Tierney and Neil McDermott couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Throw in a former Sugarbabe and lots and lots of young singing and dancing graduates and you have Benidorm with songs.
There was a good eye for 80s’ detail in the costumes and the girls came out much better in the fashion stakes – May the turned back jacket sleeves from Miami Vice never appear before my eyes again. But it was the music that filled out the theatre, it was the hits of Boy George, ABC, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Yazoo, Cyndi Lauper, Kelly Marie and more that was the main attraction. At the interval no one, not one person was discussing the plot but everyone was saying how fantastic the 80s’ tunes were.
Club Tropicana (Where only the first drinks are free) is a joyous two hours, a dance down memory lane, a chance to remember what it was like to be young again. And with a rousing finale that even had the fans in wheelchairs up, you left the theatre thinking about the songs and nothing else. When you’ve been led in a mass Macarena dance off by X Factor winner Joe McElderry you begin to wonder if there is anything left in life that still needs to be achieved.
Club Tropicana The Musical is on at the Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley, BR1 1HA from until Saturday 2 February. Times: Tues – Sat 7.30pm; Sat matinee 2.30pm; !st Feb: 5.30pm & 8.30pm. Admission: £19.80 – £39.00. Phone: 0203 285 6000