4 December 2023
The jukebox musical has become that bit too prevalent on the theatrical circuit these days. Some work really well, some just about pass muster and some plumb various depths.
‘I Should Be So Lucky’ is a new iteration using the songs from ‘80s trio Stock Aitken Waterman whose work remains enormously popular; what it lacks in sophistication it makes up for in fun and humability.
Writer and director, Debbie Isitt, is best known as the creator of the ‘Nativity’ franchise; the stage show of which I am an admirer – a warm-hearted, funny, emotional and uplifting show. Sadly I cannot say the same about her latest venture.
The plot for ‘I Should Be So Lucky’; girl is jilted at altar, takes family and friends to Turkey where she was meant to be on honeymoon where she falls in love with a local. Groom, who did jilting, follows her. They fall in love again, so do some others and they live happily ever after – that’s about the size of it. It is akin to ‘Benidorm’ and ‘Mamma Mia’ shoved in a blender and with a bit of ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ for good measure. Isitt appears to put down her pen after the first five minutes as, after that, she writes nothing more of consequence.
A flimsier piece of theatre you won’t see; Peppa Pig has more depth. For most of the show nothing happens; the copious number of songs add nothing to the ‘plot’ and one follows another as rats follow the Pied Piper. What is left is toe-curling dialogue pitted with occasional smut and double entendre which makes the ‘Carry On’ films look like the work of Shakespeare. Peppered with cultural and sexual stereotypes the it is lamentable.
With a high reputation largely born out of his work on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ one might expect something special from choreographer Jason Gilkison, but it is pretty ordinary and one gets the feeling the heart wasn’t exactly in it; whenever I see performers dance holding a chair above their heads in order to put it on stage, I know ideas are short.
The stage designs have had money thrown at them and are effective enough, but the overload of the heart shape is on the edge of stomach-churning.
The performers battle to break out of the one-dimensional characters they have been given; they are no more than cardboard cut-outs. Even the appearances of Kylie Minogue – as a projection in a mirror – becomes repetitive and tiresome. The singing is generally good and there is enthusiastic performances throughout the cast; but to this viewer it is a lost cause.
There is an audience for this show and a voice over from Pete Waterman before the show begins encourages everyone to dance and sing along at the end; a staple of these productions. However, it is a feeble theatrical experience where there is little thought, little writing, little imagination, no heart, no warmth – you couldn’t care less about any of the characters – it has no magic and no sparkle. What is left is lazy, outdated, tacky nonsense which does no one any favours.
Cast & Creatives
Ralph Bogard – Hassan
Kayla Carter – Bonnie
Jamie Chapman – Spencer
Jemma Churchill – Ivy
Matthew Croke – Nadeem
Jessica Daley – Britney
Gary Davis – Big Mike
Sydney Issit-Ager – Helen
Melissa Jacques – Shelley
Aidan Nightingale – Revel Harrington III
Billy Roberts – Nathan
Giovanni Spano – Ash
Lucie-Mae Sumner – Ella
Anna Unwin – Olivia
Music & Lyrics – Stock Aitken Waterman
Writer & Director – Debbie Isitt
Choreographer – Jason Gilkison
Set & Costume Design – Tom Rogers
Lighting Design – Howard Hudson
Sound Design – Ben Harrison
Musical Director- John Hodgson
Image – Marc Brenner