🎭 I Should Be So Lucky
📍 The Lyric, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR
🗓 Monday 4th December 2023
LIKE HEARING YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS PLAYING AT THE SCENE OF A CAR CRASH!
Brand new musical I Should Be So Lucky is playing all this week at Theatre Royal Plymouth, and last night I was invited along to watch it. On paper, I expected to love this show. A musical featuring the songs of Stock Aitken Waterman, written and directed by Debbie Isitt with choreography by Jason Gilkinson. Throw in a virtual appearance from pop princess Kylie and this should have been gay heaven! I was expecting camp and fabulous but instead I was left feeling completely underwhelmed and disappointed.
The show opens as Ella is preparing for her wedding to Nathan, who then jilts her at the alter. Ella decides to go on her honeymoon to Turkey anyway with her girlfriends and finds new love until Nathan follows her and begs for forgiveness. Literally everyone else falls in love and there’s a big mass wedding at the end. That’s essentially it!
The issues with this production were quickly evident as a lacklustre story with no depth was accompanied by lazy choreography and pitchy vocals. Everything is overacted and feels more end of the pier pantomime than big hit musical. I love a bit of cheese, but this production chases cheap laughs as it muddles through awkwardly boring scenes.
The constant appearances of Kylie were actually really weird and their inclusion screams of a desperate gimmick to fill seats. Add to the mix some stereotypical gay characters and there is absolutely nothing of substance here.
I did enjoy the character of Bonnie played by Kayla Carter who had a good singing voice, but unfortunately her version of You’ll Never Stop Me Loving You became somewhat dull halfway through, doing her a complete injustice. Her performance of this was however the standout from act 1 and received the biggest audience reaction. Her love interest Ash, played by Giovanni Spanò, was like a bizarre caricature of Lee Evans which just seemed over the top and completely wrong. They obviously wanted Ash and Nathan to be a bit of a comedy double act, but this felt lame and fell flat from the start.
The group numbers often started well but quickly became like watching a drunken hen party at karaoke, and in most of the duets at least one of the two seemed to struggle getting the tuning right. I would actually describe it as offensive to the ears at times.
This is not to say that there weren’t some great performances throughout. Melissa Jacques steals the show as she out-sings everyone else with her beautifully powerful vocals. Mathew Croke has a wonderfully serene tone to his voice which is joyous to listen to and Jamie Chapman is brilliant as he perfectly gets the balance of camp, comedy and realism. I feel however that the talents of these three are somewhat wasted in this production.
The entire production just feels chaotic and tacky from the start and is essentially filled with bad jokes and big songs, but there’s just nothing here and my mind wandered more than once.
A pet hate of mine is when crew bring on props and don’t blend and when you have someone dressed all in black bringing on props when everything on stage is bright pink, they stick out like a sore thumb. Also, when the couples are up in the hot air balloon, the set actually restricts the lighting so characters are in darkness at times. This is extremely poor from a professional production.
The ‘out-out’ joke quickly became repetitive and tedious, and why did they keep mentioning the gran getting a vajazzle? This is so lowbrow at times, it’s almost insulting to the audience and to the songs themselves. I feel bad saying it, but I seriously doubt that this production will have a future once this tour comes to an end. It’s such a shame because this could have been something really amazing.
Needless to say the groups of drunken women in the audience loved it, and perhaps they’re the target audience! I’d had a couple drinks myself before the show started but no amount of alcohol could distract me from how dire this production was.
I do have to say that I absolutely loved the finale, and not just because it was the end! Rather predictably they asked the audience to get on their feet (I prefer this to happen organically) and everyone had a good sing and dance. It feels like this is what everyone had actually come for, and there’s no denying the feel-good factor that this section brought to the proceedings.
The reasons that this production received two stars rather than one are the show saving performances from Jacques, Croke and Chapman and the fun-filled finale.
As always, I encourage everyone to make up their own minds and if you’re interested in seeing I Should Be So Lucky, performances continue at Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday. Head to www.theatreroyal.com to secure your tickets.
All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.
My ticket for this performance of I Should Be So Lucky was gifted by Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.
CAST AT THIS PERFORMANCE:
Lucie-Mae Sumner as Ella; Billy Roberts as Nathan; Mathew Croke as Nadeem; Jamie Chapman as Spencer; Melissa Jacques as Shelley; Giovanni Spanò as Ash; Jessica Daley as Britney; Kayla Carter as Bonnie; Elliot Broadfoot as Michael; Aidan Nightingale as Revel Harrington III; Ralph Bogard as Hassan; Gary Davis as Big Mike; Anna Unwin as Olivia; Jemma Churchill as Ivy; Sydney Isitt-Ager as Helen; Joe Kelley as Ensemble; Lauren Woolf as Ensemble; Louie Wood as Ensemble; Kade Ferraiolo as Ensemble; Tegan Bannister as Ensemble; Laura Benazaize as Ensemble; Kylie Minogue as Herself
RUNNING TIME (approx):
2 hours 15 minutes, including interval
Occasional mild language; Loud noises
The Theatre Royal Plymouth is the principle home of the performing arts in the South West and is the largest and most attended regional producing theatre in the country. Their mission is to develop and deepen people's engagement with pioneering creativity in Plymouth and the South West, delivering experiences that spark delight, expression and fulfilment. The venue offers three performance spaces of various sizes, the largest being The Lyric which accommodates the big touring productions. The Drum and The Lab are smaller, intimate spaces and often offer pioneering productions.