Reviewed by Jenny Bray
If you loved the television show then you’ll love this stage show version of Benidorm. It’s got more innuendos and adult content than the television version and a whole raft of laughs. I can’t believe that Benidorm had 10 series prior to becoming a stage show! The time seemed to fly by during this show, which is a good sign that it was engaging and entertaining.
Derren Litten has written the show as if continuing from the final series of the television show. Six of the main actors star in this stage version. As each of the main characters first appeared on stage there were cheers and clapping from the audience.
The main storyline is around the 4, or is it maybe 3.5, star all inclusive, package holiday resort for Brits abroad Solana Hotel in Benidorm potentially being closed down. There is a rumour that an inspector is coming to assess the hotel, so the employees are trying to work out which of the guests is an inspector. At the start two well-to-do guests arrive for just two nights claiming to have been sent from a more upmarket sister hotel as it has been overbooked. These are Ben (Bradley Clarkson), who has some impressive abs going on when he is down to just his shorts, and Sophie (Tricia Adele-Turner) his stuck up wife who manages to moan about absolutely everything.
Once Jacqueline (Janine Duvitski) appears you know that the innuendos and sexual references are going to go through the roof, and she didn’t disappoint in this aspect. Even the food and drink menu could be linked to sexual references. This, combined with the camp comedy of both Kenneth (Tony Maudsley) and Derek (Damian Williams) and also occasionally Liam (Adam Gillen) mean that each scene is covered for some form of humour. The misunderstanding around the meaning of swinging between her and Ben in the first half is very amusing.
I was impressed by Jake Canuso as Mateo. In the television show he mainly just comes across as the sleazy barman. However, during the show he evidenced some great dance moves, including during his initial appearance while ‘Living La Vida Loca’ is on and he is trying to woo a guest.
Sherrie Hewson (as Joyce Temple-Savage) is the ever-ditzy manager of the hotel, always seemingly making things worse while attempting to make them better.
During the second half there are split scenes whereby a scene is playing out on the stage and then a single actor strolls in on a phone, at which point there is a spotlight on them and their conversation and the then background scene freezes until the phone conversation is over.
Shelley Longworth who plays Sam, has a great singing voice. I don’t recall this ever being utilised on the television show, but it was during the second half of the show, held in Neptune’s Bar.
During the karaoke session Liam sings an interesting version of ‘Unforgettable’ in his own special way. He is also told to schmooze the person they think is the inspector at that time, which is hilarious due to his ever drippy ways.
Having been to the pantomime at the Lyceum and seen Damian Williams as the dame I was surprised to see him in this show without over the top make up and outrageous dresses. Instead he was a swinging camp man known as ‘Gay Derek’, friend of Jacqueline. The scene where he is trying to woo Kenneth in Blow & Go was highly entertaining.
The set worked really well. The main setting was the Solana frontage with the sides cleverly set as balconies from the outside of the hotel showing. The rest of the set then revolved to show different settings, including pool side, reception, Blow & Go and Neptune’s Bar.
The Lyceum is one of the theatres in the centre of Sheffield. It is the more traditional theatre. The staff were very welcoming. There is a kiosk and there are bars on both the ground and first floors. The local Q parks car park is a short walk away and offers the first hour of parking free for theatre goers if you pick up an additional ticket from the theatre.
I think the additional reason that this show works so well is the use of the original cast members. Their familiarity adds to the show and the flamboyance of some of them is well suited to the stage.
There are lots of jokes that aren’t necessarily politically correct, but they follow the lines of Brits abroad and how they act. Some of the humour is slightly predictable but still laughable and there are giggles a plenty throughout. The show brings a glimpse of sunshine during this dull and grey January.
I’d rate the show a 5/5 and one of the funniest shows I’ve seen for a while.
Tickets cost from £26 (booking fees may apply).
Benidorm Live is at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield from 21-26 January 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Lyceum Theatre, Norfolk St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 1DA | 0114 249 6000