It may have been a cold and dark autumnal evening outside, but there was plenty of sun and warmth to be had inside the Hippodrome as “Summer Holiday” stopped off in Darlington.
Based on the well-known 1960s film of the same name, Summer Holiday follows Don (Ray Quinn) and his three friends (Billy Roberts, Joe Goldie, and Rory Maguire), who are off on a fun-packed boys trip across Europe on a renovated London bus.
En route, the group stumble upon a young girl band (Gabby Antrobus, Alice Baker and Laura Marie Benson), as well as young American pop star, Barbara (Sophie Matthew), who is running away from her overbearing mother, Stella (Taryn Sudding).
Ray Quinn had some big shoes to fill as Don, who was famously portrayed by Cliff Richard in the movie, but the young star certainly doesn’t disappoint.
From the minute he enters the stage, the former “X Factor” runner-up and “Dancing on Ice” winner displays some incredible vocals, whilst also bringing an abundance of wit and charm to match the upbeat tone of the show.
Equally worthy of a mention is Sophie Matthew as Barbara, who not only has a great chemistry with Ray Quinn, but also demonstrates a vast array of talents, most notably her impressive vocal range.
The duo are backed by a gifted cast, all of which show bundles of enthusiasm throughout the highly energetic set pieces, matched with lively choreography and pitch-perfect vocals.
Summer Holiday is the latest touring theatre show to thrive off nostalgia, a feat that is achieved through the feel-good soundtrack, which has been boosted by a selection from Cliff Richard’s back-catalogue.
The song selection has audiences young and old dancing and singing along to instantly recognisable classics such as “In The Country”, “Bachelor Boy”, “The Young Ones” and not forgetting the iconic title track.
Visually, the production captures the essence of Europe with a picturesque backdrop that wouldn’t look out of place on a postcard, although it’s the full-size London bus that proves to be the most eye-catching attraction.
The show predominantly unfolds in and around the red double-decker, which has been brilliantly designed and utilised so that the action can take place across multiple levels and multiple angles.
However, like any traditional British holiday, there’s always something to put a damper on the proceedings. In the case of Summer Holiday, this is the paper-thin plot that, for all of its charm and charisma, lacks the fluidity and depth needed to truly bring the production to life.
Summer Holiday is a light-hearted, nostalgia-filled journey that provides bundles of fun for all the family.
“Summer Holiday” is at Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 until Saturday, September 29th, 2018.
Tickets can be purchased from the Darlington Hippodrome box office on 01325 405405 or via the website.