Hull New Theatre – until 13th October 2018
Reviewed by Catherine McWilliams
What a fabulous Monday night at Hull New Theatre watching Benidorm Live, the audience laughed and whooped and sang and gave the cast a richly deserved standing ovation. The Hotel Solana may be three stars (with a fourth hanging off!) but this was a stunning 5 star performance. Like the rest of the packed Hull New Theatre audience I laughed like a drain and I think my face is now permanently in a smile, what a wonderful feeling!
Rather than use some of the episodes from the TV series Derren Litten has written a brand new story specifically for the stage and in so doing has ensured that Benidorm Live will be as successful as his TV series. His writing is superb, full of the double entendres, innuendo, misunderstandings and throwaway lines that we Brits love, following on the long traditions from saucy seaside postcards to Hancock’s Half Hour to The Two Ronnies (to name but a few).
The story revolves around the Hotel Solana’s manager discovering that a hotel inspector is incognito in the hotel ready to report back to the new owners of the hotel and the inevitable chaos that follows as the staff try to make sure they get a positive review.
This was a joyous performance and the cast were faultless in their timing and the delivery of lines, which I suspect they enjoyed as much as the audience. Sherrie Hewson has hotel manager Joyce Temple-Savage to perfection as she turns her posh voice on and off and tries to keep control of the hotel. Adam Gillen as Liam is the perfect foil for Kenneth (Tony Maudsley) and Liam’s cabaret turn in the second half is brilliant, I’m still smiling as I think about it. Tony Maudsley is wonderfully over the top as Kenneth and his costumes are inspired! Janine Duvitski plays Jacqueline with aplomb, her timing is stunning and watch out for her backing performance to Asa Elliott singing Rubber Ball. Jake Canuso is suitably cheesy as lothario Mateo and his cabaret dancing was fab-u-lous. The rest of the cast do an excellent supporting job and the set design by Mark Walters is stunning.
I have to admit to not having watched the TV series so I was not quite sure what to expect – what I got was a brilliant night out. I’m not sure that Benidorm Live is always PC and if you’re easily offended forget it but my advice would be that if there is a ticket available for Benidorm Live you should grab it with both hands. Benidorm Live is the ideal antidote for a chilly autumn night with such a feel good factor that it should be on prescription from the NHS!