I might not have been born in the 80s but I have enough knowledge of the decade to know that Club Tropicana absolutely oozes 80s fever out of every pore. Whether it’s the impressions superbly delivered by Consuela (Kate Robbins) spanning everyone from Maggie Thatcher to Tina Turner. Or simply just the ludicrously big hair and bright leg warmers – seriously it was not a good decade for fashion. Everything about this show screams cheese…and frankly it works.
This is not a show to be taken seriously and it’s about as far from a serious show as you can get. For starters it’s based on a failing holiday resort in Spain, where two ex-lovers (Hind and Chugg Jones) happen to be spending their rebound tour. Awkward! So of course the plot that follows is utterly predictable as are the love songs that are intertwined throughout. It’s a cliche but somehow the cast really made me fall in love with it, and I soon found myself rooting for the staff at Club Tropicana and wishing that Christina (Emily Tierney) would just buzz off.
Where this show thrives is when it forgets about the plot completely and the cast just go for it. When the puns are flowing (anyone for a Screaming Orgasm?) and Garry (Joe McElderry) dazzles us with a bit of his charm, or when Consuela reminds everyone of her ‘sign’, the audience can be found erupting into laughter. There are magic moments in this show but you’ll have to know your stuff to keep up because it really is chockablock with every 80s reference you can think of (minus Wham!).
McElderry does a superb job at being the camp entertainment manager and gets the whole audience in the mood, though I think he could have done without that X factor plug right at the start. He’s confident and cheeky, and his pairing with Blaine (Verrall) was actually one of my highlights. Them and Rebecca Mendoza’s rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight in her black cat-suit had me gasping for air.
While there are elements of this show that remind me somewhat of my GCSE drama days, it’s definitely good fun and a real blast from the past. It won’t be for everyone but for those who have lived through the 80s you will absolutely adore it.
Cast: Joe McElderry, Neil McDermott, Kate Robbins, Emily Tierney, Amelle Berrabah Directors: Samuel Holmes & Nick Winston Choreographer: Nick Winston Set & Costume Designer: Diego Pitarch Lighting Designer: Tim Deiling Sound Designer: Ben Harrison Musical Supervision and Arrangements: Greg Arrowsmith Musical Director: Charlie Ingles Theatre: Wimbledon New Theatre Performance dates: 23rd – 27th April 2019