Waterloo East Theatre, London – until 2 June 2019
Guest reviewer: Shaun Dicks
Everything is a little brighter on Summer Street, or in this case Waterloo East Theatre. Summer Street takes us back to the heyday of the 1990’s to 00’s Australian soap opera or ‘Soapys’ when Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue were making their marks on television and British pantomimes always starred a Soapy star.
In Summer Street the Aussie Soap Opera Musical we follow one of the biggest Soapy shows, Summer Street. After a few years of the show being cancelled, the stars of the show are brought back together for a one-off spectacular, with a live broadcast at the end.
Summer Street as a show is hilarious. It is pure spoof comedy in its material and the cast does well to carry that over. However, at some points it feels that the cast is almost trying too hard to bring over the comedy and some spots aren’t allowed to breathe. But nine times out of ten, the comedy works.
The cast is four persons strong, with Simon Snashall as Bruce/Mick/Dr Marl and Myke Cotton as Paul/Brock/Butch putting in good performances. They land jokes and hit their harmonies well. But the female performers steal this show. Julie Clare as Steph/Mrs Mingle/Marlene is an absolute powerhouse and Sarah-Louise Young as Angie/Bobbi/Sheila is complete comedy gold. These two women have fully fleshed out characters, all three diverse from each other. Their comedic timing is brilliant, especially in song with Marlene’s boppy ‘Lucky Plucky Me’ and Bobbi’s ‘Chains Around My Heart’. And overall the show’s harmonies are good, this is a testament to musical director Sarah Morrison.
The man whose fingerprints you can see all over the show is Andrew Norris. His script and lyrics with all the gags and obvious spoof is very funny. The music is kitschy, catchy, very much of the 90’s/00’s era and you can hear all the different influences in his score. The direction generally is good. Like I’ve previously said, there are moments when the show need to breath and maybe go for the less obvious comedic choice. The choreography by Lauren Chinery is stylised and of the era but the set design by Amy Mitchell is limited.
Summer Street is fun, silly, spoofy and full of gags. It’s exactly what all of us need at the moment. It takes us back to an era from the not so distant past. The show makes you feel good, smile and gut-bustingly laugh. So, hop on down to Summer Street for a ripper. Bonzer mate!