Tuesday, April 23

I Should Be So Lucky – Hull New Theatre

If you entered Hull New Theatre on Monday evening, in a grumpy mood, I would bet my meagre life savings your grumps would soon evaporate.

Stock Aitken Waterman’s feel-good musical I Should Be So Lucky was a riot of fun, joy, colour, not forgetting hit song after hit song – even though the storyline started off on a sad note.

The stage setting throughout was all heart, literally. Wonderful heart shapes that changed colour and texture, fronting a video screen when more movement was needed in the storyline – such as balmy Turkish waters, hot air balloon-filled skies and thunder and lightning. Plus, a “hot air balloon” or rather its basket, was an amazing sight to behold as it floated, with its passengers, around the stage.

The story centres around soon-to-be-married Ella (Lucie-Mae Sumner) and her fiancé Nathan (Billy Roberts).

We see Ella choosing her wedding dress and dreaming of an idyllic future with her man. However, she honeymoons not with Nathan, but with her family and friends; a motley bunch who soon bring the smile back to the bewildered girl’s face.

Spencer (Jamie Chapman), manager of the luxury honeymoon resort in Turkey, takes Ella under his wing, ensuring she enjoys every minute of her time there, with tour guide Nadeem (Mathew Croke) taking the place of Nathan. After all, it was all paid for so why not enjoy it.

And, boy, does she enjoy herself.

Ella’s mum, Shelley (Melissa Jacques) leaves Ella’s dad, Big Mike (Gary Davis) behind, and then realises she, too, is enjoying herself, and starts to question her humdrum existence back home in Blighty.

Meanwhile Ella’s sister Britney (Emma Crossley) is having her own, secret, fun. But how will that turn out?

And at the heart of all these shenanigans we find out the real reason for Nathan leaving Ella at the altar lies with a dark secret her nan, Ivy (Jemma Churchill) has been keeping.

All this turmoil could have resulted in a production full of angst, but it was impossible to feel anything but happy watching this talented, fun-loving cast.

And throughout, the most feel-good hits – almost 30 of them – were sung beautifully by all concerned. Iconic pop classics included Especially For You, Never Gonna Give You Up, Together Forever and the musical’s title, Kylie Minogue’s huge hit I Should Be So Lucky.

Accompaniment from talented musicians made sure the pace never slackened.

Talking of Kylie, she appeared throughout, digitally, in a huge “mirror” looking absolutely gorgeous – advising and building up Ella’s confidence.

Giovanni Spano as Nathan’s friend, Ash, provides many of the laughs, with his jack-the-lad antics, while a comedy double-act emerged with Scott Paige as Michael (a member of Ella’s party) and Ralph Bogard as Hassan, the resort’s masseur.

Hassan’s massage technique on Michael is hysterically funny – we even laughed when the poor man’s bones cracked sickeningly.

Space prevents me from naming all the cast on the night, but I must mention Kayla Carter as Ella’s friend, Bonnie, who had the most amazing singing voice; and Aidan Nightingale as conman Revel Harrington III who added his own brand of energy

As this glorious spectacle came to its conclusion, love is in the air for several couples on stage, who threw their bridal bouquets into the audience – an audience which had been the recipients of numerous beach balls and golden ticker tape.

This world premiere fully deserved the standing ovation it received. What a tonic!

Presented by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions, No Guarantees, Robin Deller for Imagine Cruising & Aleri Entertainment, George Waud for Groove International, The Mirvish Group & John Frost for Crossroads Live

Running until Saturday, February 24th, 2024; 7.30pm nightly with 2.30pm matinees on Thursday, 22nd and Saturday, 24th. Tickets cost from £18.50. Call (01482) 300306 or visit www.hulltheatres.co.uk

Reviewer: Jackie Foottit

Reviewed: 19th February 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.