Touring – reviewed at New Victoria Theatre, Woking
Based on the 1963 Cliff Richard hit, Summer Holiday: The Musical taps into nostalgia and humour as a group of youngsters hop on a bus to live their dreams and go on a whirlwind adventure of self-discovery and love. The story follows four mechanics who, on a quest for the perfect summer holiday, travel around Europe on a double-decker bus as they plan a travel business. Along the way, they meet a three-person girl group and a runaway singer. Romance, laughter and catchy songs ensue.
Having not seen the film (it came out 33 years before I was born), I was not sure what to expect but this production delivers on so many levels and pleasantly surprised me. The humour is predictable and the plot isn’t anything special but this is a high-energy, feel-good show that’s perfect for warm summer nights of escapism.
The set is basic but the big red bus certainly provides the wow factor. Steve Howell’s design is simplistic without being basic and really helps highlight Racky Plews’ fantastic choreography which is certainly one of the finest aspects of the production. The mixture of dance styles is extremely impressive. There are some West Side Story vibes as well as fabulous rock‘n’roll moments. I didn’t expect this show to be so choreography-heavy but was very dazzled. The sleek movements are pulled off by the entire cast to great effect. There were a few errors such as dropped props but the professional cast did a wonderful job of covering up and making mistakes a part of the show.
Summer Holiday’s cast give high-energy performances matched with strong vocals. Ray Quinn as Don gives an especially strong performance although his different accent whilst singing vs speaking did throw me a bit. However, he is a very strong singer, dancer and actor and is perfect for the role- suitably cheesy but well-rounded. As runaway singer, Sophie Matthew gives a lovely performance, with her bright eyes gleaming from the stage and her vocals shining during act two especially.
Each cast member does a great job of looking as though they’re having fun on stage. This show is a real team piece with everyone working together well; particular stand out’s are Billy Roberts as Steve and Alice Baker as Alma.
Summer Holiday: The Musical is lighthearted fun, perfect for those who want to reminisce on the 60s as well as those experiencing the story with fresh eyes. Take a break from the weight of the world and board the red bus for a few hours of carefree, musical fun.
Summer Holiday: The Musical runs at the New Victoria Theatre until May 26th before continuing it’s UK tour.