Summer Holiday @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury (atgtickets.com)
With memories of our glorious long, hot summer fading fast
as the weather gives way to an autumnal chill, it’s the perfect time to escape
on a bus journey through Europe to the Med. 
Based on the iconic 1963 film, starring Cliff Richard, Summer Holiday was adapted as a stage
musical by Michael Gyngell and Mark Haddigan in 1996.  The show starred Darren Day as Don (Cliff’s character) and ran at
Blackpool Opera House for six months, before touring the UK and returning to
Blackpool.


This current incarnation has been touring the UK for six
months and is in the last few weeks of the tour.  Starring the exceptionally multi-talented Ray
Quinn as Don, it’s a delightful feel-good show filled with a number of Cliff’s
timeless hits including Bachelor Boy, Dancing
Shoes, Move It, Living Doll, The Young Ones
and, of course, Summer Holiday.


On a rainy summer day, four London Transport mechanics
decide to try and run a European travel service with a double-decker bus.  Girl band, Do-Re-Me, are stranded as their car breaks down so join the boys on
an adventure that takes them through France, Switzerland and Italy, to reach
their destination in Greece.  Add into
the mix a stowaway American singer dressed as a boy to escape her overbearing
mother and agent and you know that things will not go to plan.


Ray Quinn started out as a child actor playing Anthony Murray in Brookside and was propelled into stardom on the X-Factor in 2006,
coming a close second to international superstar Leona Lewis.  As Don,
Ray manages to emulate the sweet innocence of Cliff’s performance and is a consummate
triple threat actor/singer/dancer,
who lifts the show with his energy and presence whenever he’s on stage.


There were some great comedy moments with the ambitious mum Stella (Taryn Sudding) and Jerry (Wayne Smith) trying to thwart the
bus journey for their own ends.   Rory
Maguire made the most of his role as Cyril
and his frenetic speech in the middle brought back memories for me of
working with the wonderful Melvyn Hayes, who played the role in the film.


Just how do you get a huge double-decker bus onto the stage
and work a set around it?  It’s an
incredible achievement for Set Designer Steve Howell and the bus is really the
star of the show.


There are some fabulous dance routines, including a very
inventive routine on ‘wheeley’ trainers and skis and an interesting one in goat
costumes! 


The opening scene fell a bit flat initially until the action
moved on to the bus, but it’s a very authentic tribute to the film.  I was relieved that it hadn’t been updated
with modern references, as it’s good to see that innocence and goodness, when
life was simpler and perhaps happier, that keeps itself true to the time.


The show runs to Saturday 27th October at The
Waterside Theatre, with the final week at Glasgow Kings Theatre from 30th
October to 3rd November.  
Further details can be found on summerholidaythemusical.co.uk


Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye


23.10.18

@yvonnedelahaye