Benidorm Live (UK Tour), Bristol Hippodrome | Review

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Benidorm (UK Tour)
Bristol Hippodrome 

Reviewed on Monday 19th November 2018 by Emma Gradwell

After ten years on our television screens, the long running sitcom Benidorm has found a new home on stage as a national touring production. Written by Derren Litten, the result is a mix of familiar storylines and musical interludes which give us two hours of uncomplicated silliness. The show is largely driven by double entendres and the saucy seaside humour you will have come to expect. 

The show is led by six familiar actors from the television cast and the audience were very pleased to see them, with huge cheers to be heard as they appeared on stage for the first time. The storyline works for both fans of the original show and new audiences. 

Two middle class holidaymakers, Sophie and Ben (played by Tricia Adele-Turner and Bradley Clarkson), find themselves at the 3½ star all-inclusive hotel, The Solana, when their original hotel is overbooked – and they are not impressed. Bribery and seduction are the obvious answer when Hotel Manager Joyce Temple-Savage (Sherrie Hewson) decides they must be undercover hotel inspectors tasked with shutting them down. 

Jacqueline (Janine Duvitski), a member of the Swingers Association, and her very open-minded friend, ‘Gay Derek’ (Damian Williams), baffle the newcomers with their friendly charms. Duvitski is a master comedienne – and Jacqueline’s rendition of “Rubber Ball” at Karaoke Night is one of the shows highlights. There were even a few nods to Jacqueline’s late husband, Donald, and his penchant for their alternative lifestyle, which fortunately for us, Jacqueline is still thoroughly enjoying as a singleton. 

Adam Gillen’s Liam is as quirky and na├»ve as he is on screen, and his continued devotion to his absent father, Leslie, and his Solana family are charming. Tony Maudsley as Kenneth, owner of the on-site hair and beauty salon, ‘Blow and Go’, gives a slick comedic performance. His naughty slogan t-shirts are in full force, my favourite being ‘Mince, Wince, Repeat’. 

Stellar dance moves are provided by Jake Canuso (a former dancer) as barman and lothario, Mateo, and new staff member, Ricky (Will Jennings). Shelley Longworth as Travel Rep, Sam provides cabaret at Neptune’s Nightclub alongside Neptune’s own crooner, Asa Elliott, belting out some favourite holiday tunes. What was lacking was a live band, which for a production of this size was disappointing. 

The clever set design by Mark Walters took us from reception to poolside via the Salon and eventually to Neptune’s Nightclub for the second half. Director Ed Curtis pulls it all together seamlessly and at two hours, five minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome. 

Benidorm Live is cheesy, camp and refreshingly unpolitical, and I came away still chuckling about Jacqueline’s pink pussy and the sausage in cider.

Benidorm Live runs at the Bristol Hippodrome until  24th November, before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Paul Coltas