Question: What happens when you take a popular TV comedy series and transfer it to the stage? The answer is the get the bawdiest, bluest, most hilarious stage show of the year. Yes. Benidorm Live has finally arrived at The Alexandra theatre, and last night had the audience literally rocking with laughter. It is rude, naughty and hilarious, and frankly not to be missed.
The trials and tribunes of the Solana Hotel in Benidorm, and of its staff and guests has been on of TVs biggest hits in recent years, and it works so well transferred to the stage. This is due in no small part to the cast, with many of the shows most recognisable faces reprising their roles on the stage, add in a few new characters and you have a rollicking romp that puts the ‘end’ in innuendo.
The beauty of Benidorm Live is that it keeps it simple and true to the TV show. A young couple (Tricia Adele-Turner and Bradley Clarkson – perfect) are transferred to the Solana after a mix up with their booking. The husband is nice but dim, the wife stuck up and snooty. The hotel manager Joyce Temple Savage (the brilliant Sherrie Hewson) mistakenly believes them to be working undercover for the hotel company and what follows is a series of hilarious moments as the team try bribery, corruption and seduction to keep the hotel open. Meanwhile, hotel stalwart and swinger Jacqueline (the incomparable Janine Duvitski – all I am going to say is ‘pink pussy’ and try not to scream with laughter again) is enjoying a visit from her friend Gay Derek, whilst hairdressers Liam and Kenneth ( Adam Gillen and Tony Maudsley – surely one of the best double acts in television at the moment) are bickering about Liam’s decision to move back to the UK, whilst rep Sam may just be hiding a secret romance.
It is hard to single out individual performances, but Tony Maudsley and Janine Duvitski stole the show for me with perfect comic performances that they somehow manage to perform straight faced. Jake Canuso showcased his impressive dancing skills on a number of occasions which were definitely appreciated by the audience, whilst Shelley Longworth as Sam also impressed with a stunning rendition of Faith Hill’s ‘Piece ofmy Heart’. More music came in the form of Asa Elliot, totally wiping the crowd up with a rousing performance of ‘Shang a Lang’, whilst Derren Litten and Will Jennings (as Diego, or Ricky?) fitted seemlessly into the show as if they had been there years, and were both very funny.
With one liners that come thick and fast, and a rather wonderful English seaside humour that is very naughty but oh so nice, Benidorm Live is the perfect splash of sunshine in the Winter dark.
Go see and prepare to have your sides hurting by the end.
The Alexandra Theatre Until December 29th
Click here for ticket information