MusicalReviewScotland

I Should Be So Lucky – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys

Book: Debbie Isitt

Music and Lyrics: Mike Stock, Matt Aitken & Pete Waterman

Director: Debbie Isitt

Choreographer: Jason Gilkison

The songs of the trio dubbed The Hit Factory, Stock, Aitken and Waterman, a video projected Kylie Minogue and an unending appetite for nostalgia, means that new musical I Should Be So Lucky promises much to an audience ready for a night of fun – but does it deliver?

At first glance Debbie Isitt’s (she of the much-loved Nativity movie series) newest show has a Mamma Mia-like vibe. Bride-to-be Ella (Lucie-Mae Sumner) is left at the altar by fiancé Nathan (Billy Roberts) after a quite frankly baffling misunderstanding. Undaunted by the trauma she packs her bags and takes herself, her rag-tag family and motley crew of friends to Turkey on what would have been her honeymoon. The inevitable set of madcap mishaps occur as Nathan tries to win Ella back.

The first thing of note is the cast: exceptional and truly diverse in age, colour, and size, they are an utter joy and a perfect representation on stage of what Britain looks like in 2024. The energy levels throughout are quite frankly astonishing. The gusto with which they execute Jason Gilkison’s pitch-perfect, and often relentless choreography and the Hit Factory songs is exemplary.

However, Isitt’s work lacks the class and originality of its famous predecessor. Never has the book of a musical been so blatantly shoe-horned around its songs. The storyline, what there is of it, has too many plotlines (started then dropped or underdeveloped) and too many characters vying for their moment in the spotlight. Most especially felt as the central pair of Nathan and Ella are the least likeable characters on stage. It also suffers as our heroine’s life choices are questionable at best to an audience in 2024. The peripheral characters do shine though, and spread the love and light throughout. Giovanni Spano (best man Ash), Jamie Chapman (hotel manager Spencer), Jemma Churchill (Nan Ivy), Matthew Croke (tour guide Nadeem) and Scott Paige (best pal Michael) are an utter joy. To the show’s credit it also manages to scatter a series of local references throughout, much to the delight of the audience.

But what about the music? Many of the songs remain entirely true to their origins, a few are re-worked cleverly as ballads, Kayla Carter’s (Bonnie) rendition of Sonia’s You’ll Never Stop Me Loving You is a stand-out example, and many are reduced to tantalising snippets but there are so many favourites here to satisfy even the most hardened Hit Factory fans.

It’s all a bit in incoherent, the taste levels are a bit questionable at times and the plot is paper-thin, but all that said, if it’s an utterly undemanding, eye-popping assault on the senses, a bright and breezy night of escapist, undemanding fun, set to a soundtrack of banging tunes you’re after, then look no further. From floor to ceiling, each layer of this four-tiered auditorium was packed and on its feet at the inevitable mega-mix at the end. Guaranteed to banish the winter blues.

Runs until 17 February 2024 then touring | Image: Marc Brenner

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Guaranteed to banish the winter blues

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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