12 March 2019

Benidorm Live at New Wimbledon Theatre was outrageously entertaining

I have loved Benidorm on TV for many years and so when a live show was announced I was quick to book. So quick that it was over a year before the performance that I claimed Dress Circle Row A Seat 17 for a respectable £43.50.

Judging by the packed theatre my love of Benidorm is widely shared.

I went with reasonable exceptions of being entertained and these expectations were more than exceeded. It was a laugh a minute. And then some. And then some more. It was outrageously entertaining.

Six of the regular stars made the transition from TV to stage and they each made separate entrances to huge applause. This was just one of the many things that the production got just right.

The script was typical Benidorm with a lot of great lines, a genuine story and moments of gentleness.  We had everything from hotel inspectors to Sausage In Cider jokes to a marriage proposal. It was often smutty but never crude.

The familiar characters behaved as we expected, and loved. The new characters soon established themselves too; we had a young couple reluctantly there for a couple of days, a new member of junior staff whose name people kept getting wrong and Jacqueline's gay friend who arrived with a passion for Kenneth.

Neptune's Bar also provided some genuine cabaret entertainment with the singing voice of Shelley Longworth and the tapping feet of Jake Canuso.

Adam Gillen also tried to sing but less successfully! It was interesting to see him back in this role after being knocked out by his performance in Amadeus in the serious theatre. It was easy to see why he was suited to both roles and his movement was one of the other features of the show.

Benidorm on stage was very much like Benidorm on TV but with some necessary changes, e.g. simpler sets and no external locations, and also some enhancements to take advantage of playing to an enthusiastic and knowing crowd.

I have rarely waited over a year to see a show and even more rarely seen one as entertaining as Benidorm Live.

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