Packed with humour, fun and nifty footwork, this stage adaptation of the Cliff Richard film is a joy to watch.
If you are in need of a fun night out filled with fun and laughter, then look no further than Racky Plews’s production of Summer Holiday which has an infectious and joyful spirit throughout that makes it enjoyable to watch.
Based on the classic film that starred Cliff Richard, Summer Holiday follows the adventures of Don and his friends as they embark on a summer holiday, travelling along with a girl band and a pop star who runs away from her mother. As romance begins to blossom the gang sing and dance their way through Paris, the Alps and Greece for the ultimate summer holiday.
Adapted for the stage by Michael Gyngell and Mark Haddigan, the musical is filled with a cheeky sense of humour mixed with plenty of banter (which can seem slightly dated in context of 2018) that really captures the youthful energy of the characters and allows the audience to be swept away by the journey that all of the characters go on.
But what makes this production even more enjoyable is Racky Plews’s energetic choreography that perfectly captures the 1963 setting as well as complementing the toe-tapping songs wonderfully. Particular highlights include the routines to ‘A Swinging Affair’ that is filled with grace and made to look effortless by the cast and ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ which is a great bundle of energy comprised into one routine.
Steve Howell’s set design is initially underwhelming, particularly in the opening scene in which the British weather is getting everybody down – it looks bleak. But this all changes when the impressive bus used and moved around effectively is added into the mix as well as the addition of postcard images that showcase exactly where the friends are on their journey – adding a splash of colour and allows the choreography to fully take centre stage. By keeping it basic it allows the music and story to take centre stage without any major distractions.
There are some highly enjoyable performances throughout as well. Ray Quinn as Don has the charm and cheekiness character wise to make him immensely likeable, while his singing and dancing is consistently strong throughout. His rendition of ‘I’m The Lonely One’ is wonderfully heartfelt and is a real highlight. Elsewhere, Sophie Matthew as Barbara is sparky and endearing throughout – her reactions during the shower scene are immensely enjoyable.
But this is very much a team effort and all of the cast are enjoyable to watch – each offering plenty of personality – in particular Gabby Antrobus as Mimsie and Rory Maguire as Cyril give standout performances.
Consistently entertaining, Summer Holiday is the perfect way to get you in the mood for summer and provides a couple of hours of enjoyable escapism.
By Emma Clarendon