Summer Holiday – Review – Leeds Grand Theatre

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Summer Holiday Leeds 2018

Summer Holiday – Review

Leeds Grand Theatre, July 2018

by Steve Crabtree – @stevecrab

Well, the British weather seems to have returned to its usual, indecisive self. Friends and colleagues are jetting off with their families to far off destinations; but there’s a little ray of sunlight in Leeds this week. And that’s the musical Summer Holiday, which pulled in to The Grand Theatre on Tuesday.

Throwing us back to 1963, the production is based on the Cliff Richard film of the same name. A story of love and dreams, four bus mechanics who decide to take a London bus on holiday. They meet a group of stranded girls who join them on the road, and head for Athens, Greece.

Summer Holiday Leeds 2018

“Puts a smile on your face”

With a back-drop mainly based around an impressive London bus and a picture-postcard kind of setting, it’s Ray Quinn who takes the lead in this one. He plays the spiffingly nice Don spiffingly well, and is accompanied by an enthusiastic cast that makes up a feel-good, entertaining musical that puts a smile on your face.

If you’ve seen the film, the storyline you’d expect to see unfolds before your eyes.  If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the film (I reckon I was about 10 when I last saw it), it’ll make you want to watch it again.

As the performance gathers momentum in act one, all the characters come together to have pretty much equal billing in the story. And with great voices and presence, you could single out everybody on stage for special praise. Joe Goldie, who plays the ever-so-nice Edwin is worth a mention. As is Alice Baker who shines brightly in the role of Alma.  Pinching the limelight from time to time is Wayne Smith, as Jerry who gives us plenty of well-timed quips to add a chuckle or two in to proceedings.

Summer Holiday Leeds 2018

“Happy-go-lucky pace”

The make-up and costume department in this production have to take some credit too. They’ve dressed the cast in that great 60’s style summerwear you see in the film. They also managed to change the tattoo-ish Ray Quinn in to an art-free zone too, the results of which were incredible.

Summer Holiday more than ticks along at a nice, happy-go-lucky pace.  And that upbeat, sunny feeling pours out on to the audience with ease. We’re all enjoying numbers like ‘Bachelor Boy’, ‘A Swinging Affair’ and ‘Summer Holiday’. ‘Living Doll’ and ‘The Young Ones’ are nicely performed too. Some high-energy dance routines go side-by-side with the tunes, and there’s some talent up there doing both at the same time effortlessly.  The exuberance of everyone on stage was a delight. There’s a nice Alpine skiing effect to look out for at the start of act two as well.

Ending with a brilliant encore, Summer Holiday has a timeless, feel-good-cheese dynamic throughout the show. I think that’s nice. It keeps the story back in the 60’s where it belongs, without spoiling or complicating things, or changing it in to something that it’s not.

You don’t need to think too hard with this show. It’s a nice to watch show. And if you want to see a fun, light, entertaining musical, Summer Holiday is what you’re looking for.

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