Music and lyrics: Stock Aitken Waterman
Book/Director: Debbie Isitt
The long awaited Stock Aitken Waterman musical has opened its sequin covered doors in Manchester! Those of us who remember the eighties heyday of Kylie and Jason, are chomping at the bit ready to bop along to the soundtrack of our youth. When you look back at the hit factory that is SAW, it’s easy to see how they had at least one record in the UK Top 100 Singles Chart, every week from March 1986 to October 1990. With their catchy pop tunes, an auditorium sizzling with anticipation, and the pink prosecco flowing, the anticipation for I Should Be So Lucky, The Musical reaches fever pitch.
Debbie Isitt, writer of the Nativity! series has developed a really fun, feel good show with a hilarious range of characters. It’s not only a true honouring of SAWs fantastic pop hits like ‘Especially for You’ and ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, but also a celebration of diversity, inclusivity, and it is unashamedly as camp as a row of pink tents. I Should Be So Lucky, The Musical doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t, it’s not pompous or pretentious, but it is bloody good fun!
The show follows the couple Ella and Nathan (Lucie-Mae Sumner and Billy Roberts) and their family and friends, in the aftermath of a misunderstanding, leaving Ella jilted at the altar. As the tagline says, the wedding is off but the honeymoon is on, and all of the fun and frolics one might imagine in a Turkish holiday resort ensue with Ella’s friends and family choosing to take over the bridal suite to keep the heartbroken Ella company.
With catchy songs like Mel and Kim’s ‘Respectable’ punctuating the story, it’s an easy, pleasing watch with some lovely laugh out loud moments. One particularly hilarious moment, when Roberts as groom Nathan and best man Ash (Giovanni Spano) have arrived in Turkey, disguising themselves in their plot to get Ella back, sees the pair dressed as Turkish waiters, singing ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’ in the style of Zorba’s dance with full choreography to suit. A fantastic act one finale.
Set and costume designer Tom Rogers has designed a terrific looking show. The set feels like something out of Dolly magazine; the wings shaped into a tunnel of hearts, decorated with heart shells and lockets, the more you look at each of the set pieces, you see hearts everywhere. It’s a love celebration. The costumes too, with a bridal party in heart covered matching tracksuits. The show has a vibrant, lively look about it, and it’s great to see that Rogers hasn’t held back on the sequins.
One of the strongest elements of the show is its ensemble. Each track, each individual ensemble character feels essential to the production, because Issit has created a production where the ensemble aren’t merely there to fill the stage for the big numbers, but their character’s boost the plot, making everyone memorable. Everyone performs with real vivacity, principals and supporting cast. Overall, the singing is strong with some lovely solo performances, but also a couple of duets where the harmonies or voices don’t quite blend. On these occasions, the characterisation and comedy makes up for the slight twinge in the audience’s ears. And while the cast is strong overall, the hotel manager Spencer, played by Jamie Chapman, has to get a special mention for being simply fab-you-lus.
Don’t expect anything too serious with I Should Be So Lucky, The Musical. This musical might not change the world, but it will leave you with the lovely joyful feeling of being thoroughly entertained. It’s Mamma Mia! meets a SAW soundtrack, and it will leave you singing Kylie’s 80s back catalogue for a few days afterwards, so be warned!
Runs until 25th November 2023, then touring until May 2024