Anyone wishing for an 80s revival should head to the Opera House theatre for a trip back to an era where Pac-Man was the latest craze and mobile phones cost mere thousands. Embracing audiences with an interactive live show, resident entertainment manager, Joe McElderry and his troupe are heading up the Club Tropicana hotel as a familiar Butlins style resort. Offering free drinks, fun and sunshine, the spirited 80s jukebox musical set the audience up with the banter, singalongs and a pantomime- esque night out. With matching Crayola coloured costumes and glimmering sets to lift their customer's spirits, the hotel immerses you in the novelty of 80s style.
Immediately thrusting you into its world, the production pitches a light, frothy comedy that grips onto old-fashioned slapstick and inuendoes, alongside its fantastic live band and extensive soundtrack. With such a large and recognisable ensemble cast including Kate Robbins (Spitting Image, Dinnerladies) and former Sugababe, Amelle Berrabah performing the hits, the show moves swiftly, including impressive musical performances by the entire team.
The story centres around Robert and Lorraine’s failed wedding ceremony, which sees both bride and groom flee with their friends from the altar, only to escape separately to the same hotel. Wrapped up in shoulder pads and feathered wigs, the animated musical tales an abundance of inspiration from bubbly 80s tracks like Take on Me, Girls Just Wanna, and The Look of Love, complete with choreography and clothing to match. Although the show was unable to reserve the rights to George Michaels Wham! hit from which it takes its title, it doesn’t fail to bring audiences a wealth of accessible songs they can sing and dance along to. Did someone say Macarena? With the audience up on their feet, its enlivening dance numbers and memorable melodies are driven by its energising and talented group of performers, who don’t take themselves too seriously.
Club Tropicana The Musical by Michael Gyngell comprises producers attached to the UK production of Hairspray, and there are similar themes that run through both multicoloured productions. Notably replacing its live Corny Collins Show for Garry the holiday park entertainment manager which allows its lead, Joe McElderry (2009 X-Factor winner) to talk directly to the audience alongside Consuela (Kate Robbins) assisting as the versatile cleaner. The joyful production keeps a relaxed flow, pacing its comedy between a medley of over twenty 80’s tracks. The surprisingly intense choreography and its rotating cast of colourful characters keeps the show buoyant as the simple storyline is propped up by their personalities.
Club Tropicana’s musical fusion forms a production that draws on the Butlins mantra, remaining relentlessly happy with its Hi-de-Hi image. As the show’s soundscape serves up familiar classics and bright variety performances, the family audience it is affectionately aimed at are sure to be entertained.