MusicalNorth WestReview

Club Tropicana – Opera House,Manchester

Writer: Michael Gyngell

Directors: Samuel Holmes and Nick Winston

Reviewer: Helen Jones

The Eighties were all about big hair, big shoulders and living life to the full. The austerity of the Seventies was left behind and the young were out to make their mark on the world. Club Tropicanaattempts to capture the hedonistic glitz of the mid to late part of the decade, unfortunately, it is more cheesy than glitzy.

The horrendously predictable and unoriginal plot of girl (Lorraine) dumps boy (Olly) at the alter, both go off to the honeymoon hotel in Spain with their mates and get back together, has been done many times and often better than here. Nothing new. Nothing original. The hotel is run by best friends Serena and Robert, aided by their Entertainment Manager Garry and cleaner Consuela. All the characters are two-dimensional parodies; the over the top and camp entertainer, the old obese Spanish woman, the woman in love with her best friend. Not one has any depth or reality.

X-Factor winner Joe McElderry does his best with the role of Garry, but the comedy is so badly written that even his personable nature cannot overcome the travesty of the plot. He minces his way through the show with a genial charm, but never achieves his potential. On the plus side, he can sing! As Serena and Robert, Amelle Berrabah and understudy Nye Rees try hard to create believable characters but with so little to work with it’s a losing battle. While Karina Hind and Cellan Chugg Jones as Lorraine and Olly are on a hiding to nowhere.

Kate Robbins is an extraordinarily talented actor, singer and mimic, so one wonders what she is doing playing such a stereotypical role in this feeble attempt of a juke box musical. Her stunning voice is barely given a chance while her impressions seem forced into the very thin plot.

The live band led by Musical Director Charles Ingles work hard to create the 80s sound but they are mere shadows of the originals. Writer Michael Gyngall says in the programme notes that he just wanted to create a good night out. But to do that a show needs more than a few “names” and some well-known tracks from the era – it actually needs to be written well. Even if all you want to do is listen to cover versions of the songs from your youth, there are better ways to do it than this show.

Runs until Sat 8 June 2019 | Image: Contributed

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The North West team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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