club cast

Amelle Berrabah, Joe McElderry, Kane Verrall and Kate Robbins in Club Tropicana

Club Tropicana

Belgrade Theatres, Coventry


Club Tropicana producer Mark Goucher intends not to win awards but to give the audience a good night out. Does he succeed?

It boasts a really impressive cast including Joe McElderry, ex-X-Factor winner and all-round, old-school entertainer, as Garry, gay host of a dodgy and half-empty Spanish hotel named, confusingly, both the Rio Grande and Club Tropicana.

This fact plays an important part in the plot. Managers Serena (Amelle Berrabah) and Robert (Neil McDermott) have an inspector calling and no idea who it is. They suspect Christine, vamp and proud, played beautifully by understudy and fine comic actor Camilla Rowland instead of the usual Emily Tierney.

When Lorraine (Karina Hind) has bridal cold feet, she jilts fiancée Olly (Cellen Chugg-Jones – who can sing!) at the altar and both hot foot it to Sunny Spain, like you do. The doubly named hotel means that they inevitably meet, with Olly and friends booked into one and Lorraine and friends booked into the other.

Then there’s Cilla and the hotel’s version of Blind Date that really sets the cat among the pigeons, with a ‘lorra-lorra’ trouble. Both main characters have their two friends and I loved Lorraine’s spoiler friend Rebecca Mendoza as Tracey, determined by any means to win Olly for herself.

There’s an important role for Kate Robbins as Consuela, sloppy maid cum impressionist cum saviour of the situation, with a virtuoso performance that includes Shirley Bassey, Cilla, Dolly Parton and more. I loved her version of my old favourite Don’t it Make your Brown Eyes Blue. The entire cast ended up using her catch phrase about her favourite sign – the two-finger salute.

The plot is obviously second to the music – 80’s favourites all – and I enjoyed particularly the saucy choreography of Brotherhood of Man’s Making your Mind Up. There was a live band hidden somewhere and that’s always a joy.

So, did the producer succeed in providing a good night out? Well, the audience danced, sang, tapped their feet, applauded, cheered to the rafters and didn’t look like going home was an option so I think that’s a Yes from them.

Written by Michael Gyngell and directed by Samuel Holmes, the holiday season runs to 11-05-19. 

Jane Howard


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