Review: Club Tropicana - Get ready to party at 80’s camp fest
CHECK in for a fun-filled night of 80’s excess this week as Club Tropicana explodes onto the stage of the Playhouse with all the camp, colour and energy of an Eighties’ pop video shooting up the charts to the top spot.* * * *THE PLAYHOUSE, Greenside Place
From the moment the bass line of I Just Can’t Get Enough booms across the auditorium, hands are clapping and bodies swaying.
A feel-good romp relating the intertwined love stories of Robert and Serena, and Lorraine and Olly, the opening scene, in which bride Lorraine leaves groom Olly standing at the altar instantly sets the pace of this in-your-face comedy.
By the time Joe McElderry appears to warm the audience up they’re already up for it.
With a hand jive to learn and shout outs to respond to, it’s pure panto.
“Are you ready for a good holiday,” he calls... and we’re off to Spain.
There, the story finds Robert and Serena attempting turn around the fortunes of their hotel, Club Tropicana.
When glamorous ‘Hotel Inspector’ Christine arrives, however, a distraught Serena must come to terms with her unspoken love for Robert.
Meanwhile, Lorriane and Ollie find themselves booked into the same hotel.
Anyone who has been on a club 10-30 Holiday will recognise what follows, the free cocktails, the party games, the obligatory Mrs and Mrs contest, all played out to a sound track of the most popular hits of the decade.
And while there may be a gag a minute, it’s the slapstick routines that elicit howls of laughter, as does Kate Robbins’ brilliantly funny Consuela, the Spanish maid.
Effortlessly slipping from voice to voice - Shirley Bassey, Tina Turner, Cilla Black and even Maggie Thatcher get an airing - the roar of approval she receives at the curtain call proves hers is a show-stealing turn.
Robbins even keeps up with choreographer Nick Winston’s vigorous dance routines.
There is an element of mayhem in Samuel Holmes and Winston’s loose direction with McElderry unashamedly over the top as Hotel Rep Garry. The audience love him for it.
Opening night saw understudy Nye Rees prove a likeable Robert opposite one-time Sugababe Amelle Berrabah, a revelation as Serena.
Innuendo laden and with every 80’s stereotype imaginable, there’s nothing subtle about Club Tropicana, it’s a big brash cartoon of a show but in amongst the pandemonium there are some lovely moments of truth, notably from Berrabah, who sparkles with emotion as she declares her love for Robert.
As with all the best pantos, there’s a ‘Happy Ever After’ ending that is greeted with a rapturous standing ovation.
So, leave your troubles at the door and get ready to party at Club Tropicana. Once you have your tickets, the laughs are free.
Runs until Saturday