Skip to main content

Summer Holiday

The Playhouse, Edinburgh
Three stars

The rain pouring outside the Playhouse is a telling pointer of the night’s entertainment inside, where former X-Factor crooner Ray Quinn slips into Cliff Richard’s pastel-coloured slacks in this latest tour of the stage musical based on the 1963 film. Quinn is Don, the London bus grease monkey who manages to sweet-talk the management of a pre-privatised service into letting him and his merry prankster mates co-opt a bright red double-decker as a mobile holiday home for their European road trip. Along the way they pick up a girl band and runaway pop star Barbara, whose pushy mother has already jaded her to success.

Racky Plews’ production of Michael Gyngell and Mark Haddigan’s script adapted from Ronald Cass and Peter Myers’ original screenplay shows off more of a saccharine sixties than a swinging one. Like the film, it depicts an innocent world where teeny-bop pop and light entertainment soundtrack a magical mystery tour around a picture postcard version of foreign parts young people were desperate to discover for themselves.

In this sense the end result is an infectiously endearing mix of innocence and experience, with Quinn and Sophie Matthew as Barbara leading a series of wide-eyed routines that even nudging attempts to sex thing up can’t spoil. The one sad loss is the airbrushing out of The Great Orlando, Ron Moody’s virtuoso mime artist in the film.

In the end, however, the show’s nostalgic appeal wins out. For the finale, while everyone else is giving it teeth and smiles, big-suited former Opportunity Knocks winner Bobby Crush stands at a portable piano looking for all the world like a cross between Jerry Lee Lewis and Jools Holland. This alone is worth the bus ticket for a vintage slice of British showbiz fun.

The Herald, June 21st 2018


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…