Club Tropicana, Edinburgh Playhouse,
*** 3 Stars
“ Hardworking cast let the feel-good comedy shine”
Club Tropicana The Musical tells the story of a Spanish hotel under threat from an hotel inspector who is really a fellow hotel owner out to sabotage the good times, throw into the mix a couple due to get married but get jilted at the alter and decide to take the honeymoon anyway, a plethora of 80’s hits and fashions from the decade that taste forgot, love lost and love found, finding out what true friendship is, and you get what’s on offer here.
Michael Gyngell’s script is paper thin, but he makes up for it with brilliant comedy asides delivered in style by a hard-working cast who let the feel-good comedy shine through in a production that relies heavily on the music and classic slapstick comedy to get the audience on its side.
X factor star Joe McElderry shines in the role of “Garry” the overtly camp hotel entertainment host resplendent in baby pink uniform he brings lashings of warmth and charm to the role and you can’t help but be won over by his boyish charms and honey soaked vocals. The other shining star of the show is the legendary comedy impersonator and musical performer in her own right Kate Robbins as “Consuela” a true comedy gift that delivers big laughs it’s a truly accomplished performance.
Musically hits such as “Girls Just wanna have fun”, “Relax” and “making your mind up” run the gamut of 80’s highlights and Greg Arrowsmith’s Musical arrangements are delivered in style by the tight 5 piece onstage band under the direction of Charlie Ingles and add real oomph to the show. Although the shows namesake song “Club Tropicana” doesn’t feature in the show at any point its an interesting choice no doubt driven by the rights of the wham classic.
Where the production falters is in the stage sets, clearly on a heavily brought in staging (the playhouse is a big stage). Diego Pitarch set design is cheap looking and doesn’t do the show justice watching the set rock back and forward whilst surrounded by swathes of black cloth makes you realize the production deserves better. That said Pitarch does deliver well on the costume design side, with a veritable parade of 80’s iconic fashion statements on show. Tim Deiling’s Lighting design also does much to open the small performance space on stage and lets it flow across the audience. There was some sound issues especially with balancing the band against performers, but it felt it clear it was just opening night gremlins that will easily smooth out as the show beds into its run.
Directors Samuel Holmes and Nick Winston have delivered on the promise of the show, working the cast into a tight unit with snappy choreography to boot and bringing a fun juke box musical to the stage. Its clear the 80’s was a decade in which they discovered themselves and their places in the world and the icon music is potent reminder of youth and its that heart warming sentiment that makes Club Tropicana the Musical worth checking out especially over a glass of wine. So why not pop to the Playhouse and let the music and the memories wash over you too!
Mark Goucher and Gavin Kalin presents Club Tropicana the Musical, Edinburgh Playhouse, Runs until Saturday 15th June, Then UK tour continues, for tickets go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/club-tropicana/edinburgh-playhouse/