I Should Be So Lucky – New Wimbledon Theatre, London

Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Writer and Director: Debbie Isitt

Music and Lyrics: Stock Aitken Waterman

New Wimbledon Theatre is so packed on the opening night of the Stock Aitken Waterman jukebox musical that Pete Waterman has nowhere to sit and stands, beer in hand, at the side of the stalls when the show begins. Full of songs made famous by Kylie Minogue, Bananarama, Sonia and Rick Astley, the pop mogul should feel very lucky indeed.

Of course, with songs like Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, Kylie’s Hand On Your Heart, and Jason Donovan’s Too Many Broken Hearts, the story of a jilted bride going on the planned honeymoon to Turkey with her family and besties instead of the groom is not the vital ingredient of this feel-good musical. Anyway, that story seems to be lifted from the ill-fated Club Tropicana, another jukebox musical that, despite its title, featured no Wham! songs at all.

With its summer holiday vibes, I Should Be So Lucky is like a mash-up of Mamma Mia and TV programme Take Me Out. Songs are shoe-horned into the story, but as the audience groans with delight, this is no bad thing. And it’s not all Kylie and Jason either; some lesser-known tracks like He Ain’t No Competition by Brother Beyond and Donna Summer’s In Another Place and Time appear as well. However, surprisingly, it’s Sinitta’s Toy Boy that brings the house down, sung here by the bride’s gay best friend Michael (an exuberant Scott Paige) and resort masseur Hassan (an endearing Ralph Bogard).

All the cast are in good voice. Lucie-Mae Sumner is the jilted bride, torn between taking back her fiancé (a steady Billy Roberts channelling, it seems, TV comedian Lee Mack) and going on another hot air balloon ride with handsome resort employee Nadeem (a suitably seductive Matthew Croke). Each main character has the chance of a song while the ensemble engages in some cheesy dancing in the background. When they get to You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) it’s impossible not to be entertained.

However, the last ten minutes of the musical, when the cast members forsake the story and instead give it their all in a medley of SAW tracks, provide a hint to what I Should Be So Lucky could be in future iterations. It’s only here that Debbie Issit’s show matches the energy and class of jukebox musical royalty like &Juliet. Even the video appearance of the princess of pop, Kylie herself, can’t compensate for the pedestrian aspects of some of the numbers. This is not, by any means, Padam Padam.

But with Kylie still in Las Vegas, I Should Be So Lucky should please her fans and anyone nostalgic for 80s pop. Those who prefer the 90s only have until November for The Steps Musical to open. Tragedy? Maybe.

Runs until 3 February 2024 and then continues to tour

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. 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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