Club Tropicana, Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, runs until Saturday 9 February 2019
Runs: 2hours 10 minutes including one 15 minute interval
Review: Graham Clark, 05 February 2019
Back to the 80s in this uplifting musical
It was the era of shoulder pads, leg warmers, ra-ra skirts and the decade of some of the greatest pop songs written. The fashions may have changed but the music from the 1980’s was probably the soundtrack to the lives of the majority of the audience here tonight.
Former X star winner Joe McElderry was not even born when the songs in Clun Tropicana were hits.
The songs featured come from acts like Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper, Depeche Mode, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ABC, Bucks Fizz and Heaven 17 amongst others.
The musical starts on the wedding day of Olly (Cellen Chugg Jones) and his girlfriend Lorraine (Karina Hind) but there is an unexpected twist – Lorraine decides that she does not want to get married yet. Cue The Communards hit – Don’t Leave Me This Way.
The two decide to jet off to Ibiza – unknown to each other and end up staying at the same hotel – Club Tropicana! (where the drinks are free – well the first one is)
Joe McElderry plays Garry – the camp host at Club Tropicana – looking like a day-glo Butlins Redcoat he is perfectly cast. The come lines come thick and fast: “ Factor 50 should do it” suggests McElderry “ but if you want a shine like mine choose X Factor” he continues with a wry smile on his face.
The innuendo is ever present and saucy like in the Carry On films. Hotel Inspector Christine (Emily Tierney) plays her role with a Joan Collins twist. She falls for hotel owner Robert (Neil McDermott) and the relationship between the two provides for even more comical moments.
Former Sugababe Amelle Berrabah as Robert’s long suffering girlfriend Sarena gets jealous of the affections Christine has for Robert.
Kate Robbins had a big hit in the early 1980’s with More Than In Love, sadly she never gets chance to perform her hit but makes up for it by playing cleaner and odd job lady at the hotel – Consuela. Her comic timing and impressions were some of the best parts of the night. Her years of providing the female voices on Spitting Image have held her in good stead. Her impressions of Tina Turner, Jim Bowen and Margaret Thatcher were excellent.
It appears that they were unable to use the Wham! Hit, Club Tropicana in the show, it didn’t seem to mater as the audience were up on their feet as the cast performed a melody of all the hits in the show before the curtain came down.
This is only the second venue that the musical has visited yet the cast looked like one big family and all seemed so natural in their roles.
Funny, uplifting and with songs that you will still be singing the day after – I can’t wait to visit Club Tropicana again.
Serena – Amelle Berrabah
Olly – Cellen Chugg Jones
Lorraine – Karina Hind
Robert – Neil McDermott
Garry – Joe McElderry
Consuela – Kate Robbins
Christine – Emily Tierney
Writer – Michael Gyngell
Director – Samuel Holmes
Producer – Tom O’Connell
Choreography – Nick Winston