ComedyDramaMusicalNorth East & YorkshireReview

Club Tropicana – The Musical – Bradford Alhambra

Writer: Book by Michael Gyngell

Music: Greg Arrowsmith

Director: Samuel Holmes & Nick Winston

Choreographer: Nick Winston

Reviewer: Sue Collier

The narrative for Club Tropicana – The Musical is very simple. Serena jilts Olly on their wedding day, and they each go on holiday to Spain, accompanied by their friends. Lo and behold, they both stay at The Club Tropicana Hotel. An anticipated hotel inspection is sabotaged by a rival hotel owner. A version of Blind Date is played to determine the outcome of the young couple’s love story.

Iconic music of the 1980s is woven around the story. However, it is the impression of this reviewer, that the songs were selected primarily for their titles, and a fair number of hits are only partly sung. While there is no doubt that Joe McElderry can carry a tune, his vocals are sadly under-used as he plays aHi-De-Hi type entertainment officer. Strangely enough, the one obvious song missing from the show is George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s classic hit Club Tropicana.

The experience is similar to watching a pantomime, as there are plenty of pantomime-type scenarios, however, there is little sense of investment in the characters, and, as a result, we feel no depth to them either.

To be fair, there is light relief supplied in the pleasant comedy of Kate Robbins in the role of Consuela. Robins goes a long way to really holding this show together, with somewhat of a pantomime dame style performance. Nick Winston’s choreography is light-hearted, fun, energetic and entertaining. The costumes are very colourful and truly representative of the era (as are the awful flamboyant hairstyles!). Watching the girls in their shoulder pads, dayglo orange tutus and matching leggings makes one glad that fashion has changed significantly since the 1980s.

There are a couple of significantly uncomfortable issues raised within the dialogue. Political correctness has changed our expectations of language and character portrayal for the better over the decades. In this production, there is too much crude emphasis on camp homosexuality and curvy girls. This outdated humour needs addressing.

This production is rather like watching a sadly less funny, 1980’s, musical version of the television programme Benidorm. Half way through act one, itchy feet are already in evidence. The show draws to an end with cast members bowing to lacklustre applause. Then Joe McElderry comes to the front of the stage and invites the audience onto their feet to clap before asking them to scream if they have had a good time. Is this a standing ovation, or is it audience manipulation? Uncomfortable.

Reviewed on 4 February 2019 | Image: Contributed

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Pantomime-style singalong

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The Southwest 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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  1. I couldn’t disagree more with this review. I’ve just got home after seeing the show and loved every minute of it, as did the rest of the audience if the applause and standing ovations were anything to go by. The show had a great cast, great music and was very funny. I heard George Michael’s estate blocked then from using the Club Tropicana song, hence why it wasn’t included.

  2. What planet is this reviewer on the show is fantastic. Stop been offended over nothing! Fab show

  3. Saw this show today and thought it was brilliant, great music and dancing from the cast. Within minutes the audience was up on their feet dancing encouraged by Joe mcelderry and the rest of the show was full of singing and laughing out loud by the audience having a good time. The highlight for me was Kate Robbins who played Consuela she was so funny.If you get chance and feel like a cheesy time remembering all the old classics and having a good laugh don’t miss this show.

  4. Completely disagree with this review! What a wonderful, feel good show. We, and if the clapping, whistling and laughter was anything to go by, the rest of the audience too, enjoyed the show. Fantastic atmosphere and my congratulations go out to the cast for making it an extremely enjoyable night out. I did notice one lady in the dress circle that didn’t seem to join in with the rest us, clapping etc….was this you Sue? If so, you were definitely the odd one out!

  5. What a fabulous show. It was good to hear the audience singing along to all the songs, the whole cast were brilliant but my favourite was Kate Robbins, that lady is a comic genius. I would give this show five stars. I’m still buzzing, it was great….Well done⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  6. Terrible plot, wobbly set, and terrible screechy singing in places but a whole lot of fun and utterly entertaining – I absolutely loved it!

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