Theatre goers of a certain generation will well remember the ‘hit factory’ that was Stock Aitken and Waterman, who, in the eighties, churned out one chart topper after another for the likes of Kylie, Jason, Sonia and many others. Now those hits have been brought together for I Should Be So Lucky, a new jukebox musical that perfectly sums up the Stock Aitken and Waterman era.
Currently on tour, the musical stops off for a run at the New Wimbledon Theatre. It is ostensibly a feel good musical that succeeds in getting the audience to their feet at the end, singing along to a cavalcade of hits. There’s no denying it’s a fun night out.
The story by Debbie Isitt could easily be described as Mamma Mia in candy floss pink. Love hearts adorn every surface, there’s weddings, sun, sea and a plot shaped to serve the songs.
In the main this is about Ella (Lucie-Mae Sumner) jilted at the alter by Nathan (Billy Roberts) for a ridiculous reason. So off she goes to Turkey on the honeymoon along with her mum (Melissa Jacques), Nan (Jemma Churchill), bridesmaids (Kayla Carter and Jessica Daley) and gay best friend (Scott Paige). Here she meets Nadeem (Matthew Croke) and is all ready to start a new relationship until Nathan turns up with his best man to try and win her back.
Oh, and Kylie turns up now and again like a fairy godmother in Ella’s mirror.
There are so many subplots on the go that if JK Rowling had written this it would have been split into parts one and two, each with a three act structure. As it is everything is squashed into the final thirty minutes of the second act, a gambling addiction storyline appears, and disappears just as quickly, seemingly for the sole purpose of facilitating another reprise of ‘I Should Be So Lucky’.
It’s all entirely ridiculous, but at the same time it’s actually really funny. The comedy may well be a little on the crude side (how often do we need to hear about nan’s vajazzle?) but it’s impossible not to find yourself howling with laughter at the impeccably delivered comedic lines.
It’s also an impressive cast; Lucie-Mae Sumner is excellent as Ella, Scott Paige gives one of the funniest performances you’ll see on stage and Giovanni Spanò gives us both comedy and a striking vocal performance.
Matthew Croke really grabs the audience as Nadeem, to the point where we’re hoping Ella will get with him rather than Nathan. Then there’s Jamie Chapman who has the audience in hysterics with every line uttered.
I Should Be So Lucky is a big glitzy show, with some fabulous choreography from Jason Gilkinson that makes the ensemble numbers even more special. Once you accept the story isn’t going to start making sense, you can just sit back and enjoy the music, and the accomplished performances of a talented cast.