Benidorm Live (Touring), Mayflower Theatre, Southampton  until 10th November

★★★★★

Team Review by Soraya Scrivener

Award-winning ITV comedy show’s series creator and writer Derren Litten is bringing Benidorms signature sunshine and shenanigans to theatres across the UK and Ireland. The series finished on our screens in May after ten seasons and as a fan I was excited to hear we would be treated to a live Benidorm fix with six of our favourite characters. If you are unaware of this gem of a series do not fear. Envisage Carry On Benidorm or think ‘Up Pompeii’ meets ‘Hi-Di-Hi’ set in an all-inclusive Spanish resort. If you’re too young for that, I can assure you it is LOL so just see the show and buy the box set and see what you’ve been missing.

The Review

The pumping music in the auditorium set the scene for a fun night full of hilarious one liners and innuendo beyond expectation. Cheeky, quick fire gags catapulted us through the story of an undercover inspector amongst the staff and guests of the tacky Hotel Solana. Mark Walters delivers a superb set with just what’s needed to create the different areas of the hotel from reception to poolside. Scene changes were slick and made jovial with a few bars of music and dance party moves from the supporting cast who double up as staff and holiday makers.

The packed auditorium on a Monday night was clearly full of fellow fans of the TV show as cheers were a plenty when each of the cast regulars entered the stage. All were on top form with an abundance of side-splitting moments and I wouldn’t want to ruin things with spoilers: Jake Canuso as Mateo, the Latin Lothario bar tender, Sherrie Hewson as manager Joyce Temple-Savage, Shelley Longworth as tour sales person Sam, Tony Maudsley as Kenneth, the greedy, work shy hair dresser and Adam Gillen as his sidekick Liam. Saving the best until last, Janine Duvitski as swinger Jacqueline. Wow her comic timing was impeccable! Tricia Adele-Turner and Bradley Clarkson as posh guests and Damian Williams as Derek kept up with equal professionalism as did the rest of the supporting cast. The character of Ricky played by Will Jennings didn’t quite work for me but still got the laughs.

Act 2 was set during Karaoke night at Neptune’s Club which included regular cabaret singer Asa Elliott. Director Ed Curtis and Choreographer Alan Harding drove a fantastic pace throughout the show apart from a couple of numbers. Though performed well there were moments when I wanted the comedy to return sooner as I felt it was a little too serious for this zippy show. Longworth demonstrated her fine voice and Canuso his expert dance skills but otherwise lyrics were sometimes lost with club style singing.  Liam’s rendition of ’Unforgettable’ truly was a comical treat, with Gillen milking his character to perfection. Duvitski and Maudsley also take the limelight and entertain with wonder.

‘Y Viva Espana’ was the perfect finale which had everyone singing and clapping along. You know when you’ve had a good night out when you’re still giggling and humming the theme tune when you get home.

In Summary

Crazy, cheesy, raucous comedy at its best. A sheer joy for fans that can also standalone and easily entertain new audiences with a wealth of double entendres and hysterical escapades.

Grab a sangria and those last remaining seats for Benidorm Live at The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until Saturday. Recommended age 12+.

The tour continues to Liverpool, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Southend, Sunderland, Sheffield, Woking, Glasgow, Dartford, Cardiff, Brighton, Aberdeen, London, Leeds, Nottingham, Belfast, Llandudno and Canterbury.

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