Club Tropicana (UK Tour): Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Reviewed 17th June 2019
From the producers of the hit UK Tour of Hairspray, Club Tropicana is the brand new 80’s musical set to whisk audiences back to the electric 80’s and embark on a summer of love and smash-hit classics. Featuring a star studded cast including Joe McElderry (X Factor, Joseph And His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Neil McDermott (EastEnders, The Sound Of Music), Kate Robbins (Spitting Image, Dinnerladies), Emily Tierney (Wicked, The Wizard Of Oz); and former Sugababe – Amelle Berrabah, the show welcomes the audience to the Club Tropicana Hotel. After getting cold feet the night before the wedding, the show follows the bride and groom as they decide to jet off to sunnier climes and feel the heat– but little do they know they’ve checked into the same hotel… Club Tropicana is set to some of the most iconic, chart-topping pop anthems of the 80s all performed live on stage, including: The Look Of Love, Making Your Mind Up, Relax, Take On Me, Church Of Poison Mind, Fantasy Island, Up Where We Belong and many more!
Unfortunately, Club Tropicana does not live up to the hype. The basic storyline is extremely predictable and the almost non-stop gags and puns are so cringe-worthy that is hard to determine if the audience is with the cast or at them. The lack-lustre dialogue relies upon out-dated gags and the iconic 80’s soundtrack to keep the show moving. The 80’s vibe comes through from the start with the vivid stereotypical 80’s clothes and references but it is not enough to save this musical.
The flimsy set does nothing to whisk the audience away to sunny Club Tropicana Hotel, in fact it is more reminiscent of a cheap pantomime set than of a UK tour. Unfortunately, the same can be said of the characters and direction. The over the top, pantomime style characters lack conviction, passion and are completely stereotypical – even down to the ensemble members. With the budget clearly having been spent on ‘star’ casting, Joe McElderry does a good job as the Holiday Rep and manages to get the audience involved from the outset but the other performers get lost behind their larger-than-life characters. Despite this, the cast do try their best throughout and the energy is high, particularly during Nick Winston’s group choreography sections.
It’s not all bad news however. The songs are performed well enough and they certainly fit in with the context of the show. Audiences will love the 80’s feel and are even encouraged to join in with dance moves and singing. At the crux of it though Club Tropicana feels cheap, cringey and cheesy. The predictable storyline plods along with little surprises and with the incessant cheesy gags and over-the-top characters it is hard to actually feel involved with the show. It is sure to be a crowd-pleaser and it does provide comic relief but unfortunately Club Tropicana is just like many package holidays – it looks great on the outside but inside it doesn’t quite live up to the hype.
Club Tropicana UK Tour is currently playing at the Marlowe Theatre until Saturday 22nd June. For tickets and information click here. The tour then continues until the 17th August 2019. For more information about tour venues and tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Darren Bell