Touring – reviewed at Edinburgh Playhouse
Guest reviewer: Sarah Moyes
Passports at the ready! It’s time to jet off to the Club Tropicana Hotel in this brand new jukebox musical which is touring to the Playhouse until Saturday.
Set in the 1980s, Club Tropicana tells of a budding bride and groom who decide to hop on a plane to sunnier climates when they both get to cold feet and call off their wedding (cue a fantastic rendition of ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ by the wedding party).
However unknown to each other, Lorraine (Karina Hind) and Olly (Cellen Chugg Jones) have both checked into the exact same hotel with their best friends in a bid to forget about the non-existent wedding. If dealing with marital woes wasn’t enough, the hotel is also trying to scrub up because it has made it to the final two in the running to win Best Hotel of the Year.
Club Tropicana is like Benidorm remixed with a Love Island from 30 years ago, complete with sequins, shoulder pads and tutus. And there’s definitely a pantomime feel to it with lots of physical comedy and even booing of the villain.
Joe McElderry leads the cast as Garry the hotel entertainer. Within his first 30 seconds on stage he’s got the audience cheering on cue and manages to get everyone, even the reluctant ones, onto their feet and learning his dance moves.
It’s a role that McEderry really shines in, as he once again proves that he is made for the musical stage. Garry is a loud, cheeky and larger-than-life character and Joe works it perfectly, not to forget the impressive singing voice he first revealed on X Factor almost 10 years ago.
Star of the show, however, is Kate Robbins who is a real joy to watch as Spanish hotel cleaner, Consuela. She has impeccable comic timing, as you might expect, and a trail of laughter follows her throughout the production, especially when she impersonates Tina Turner and Margaret Thatcher – before taking on the persona of Maureen from Muirhouse for the hotel’s Blind Date night.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an Eighties musical without a classic Eighties soundtrack and the show is packed with many of the expected hits, from Girls Just Wanna Have Fun to Making Your Mind Up and Just Can’t Get Enough. Although, despite the title, Wham’s Club Tropicana, hasn’t made it into the list.
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Former Sugababe star Amelle Berrabah makes an excellent musical theatre debut as hotel receptionist Serena. She has a vocal range to match her beautiful rendition of Only You to love interest and hotel business partner Robert – played on press night by understudy Nye Rees due to Neil McDermott’s indisposition.
Rees gives a comfortable and strong performance as Robert who is chased round the hotel by Emily Tierney as hotel guest Christine – an unlikable and sneaky character who definitely isn’t who she says she is.
Directors Samuel Holmes and Nick Winston have done an excellent job of paying homage to the Eighties. And while the plot might be predictable, it almost doesn’t matter because the show doesn’t ever take itself too seriously.
Club Tropicana is a fun, entertaining and feel good musical – the perfect tribute to the 1980s.
Running time – 2 hours 10 minutes (including one interval)
Edinburgh Playhouse, 18 – 22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA. Phone booking: 0844 871 3014.
Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 June 2019
Evenings: 7.30pm; Matinee Weds, Sat: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.
Club Tropicana on tour 2019:
11 – 15 June
0844 871 3014
17 – 22 June
24 – 29 June
1 – 6 July
0844 871 3017
8 – 13 July
0115 989 5555
22 – 27 July
30 July – 3 August
Bord Gais Energy Theatre
+353 (1) 677 7999
01463 234 234
13 – 17 August
Wales Millennium Centre
029 2063 6464