Reviewed by Jan Dixon
I had the pleasure of reviewing Benidorm Live at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, at the official premiere of Derren Litten’s smash-hit comedy being performed on stage.
This stage production celebrates over ten years and ten series of the award-winning comedy, set at the Solana Hotel in Benidorm. The stage show, and series were written by Derren Litten; and his attention to detail in transferring from television screen to theatre was exemplary.
The sets used for the stage adaptation cleverly portrayed key locations in Benidorm; the salon, the poolside, the pool bar, reception and Neptune’s Bar at Solana. These were instantly recognisable to the audience, immediately setting the scene for an excellent night out.
As each of the original series actors entered the stage Jake Canuso (Mateo); Janine Duvitski (Jacqueline); Adam Gillen (Liam); Sherrie Hewson (Joyce Temple-Savage); Shelley Longworth (Sam) and Tony Maudsley (Kenneth) – they were met with the audience cheering and clapping. An enthusiastic greeting to familiar and well-loved faces of a cult series.
The story centred on the premise that the Solana was being secretly inspected by person/persons for a company who wished to take it over. If the results of the inspection were damning, then there was the threat that the Solana would close for good, with the resultant loss of jobs. Misdirection and subplots abounded, with the usual smuttiness and double-entendres expected from the show. The jokes and asides were met with howls of laughter from the audience; with the actors clearly relishing their lines and delivery. Jake Canuso as Mateo demonstrated his extremely competent dancing and choreography, with Tony Maudsley as Kenneth playing a comic role of a Spanish dancer as Mateo’s dancing partner.
Asa Elliott appeared in this stage production as the resident singer in Neptune’s Bar; a role he had in the original series. He performed several recognisable hit songs very well; and was joined on stage by various cast members who also performed musical numbers. Y Viva Espana was the finale song, sung by all cast members, with the audience clapping and joining in. This ensured the show ended on a real high, with the cast and crowd buzzing with energy.
An excellent show; thoroughly recommended, with a 5 star rating. Fans of the Benidorm series would especially enjoy this show, but it would certainly appeal to anyone with a love of ribald British humour. Very professional; slick, well-timed and enthusiastic performances by every actor and cast member.
The Mayflower Theatre is close to railway links with a variety of car parks close-by. It is advisable to check the nearby Southampton football club fixtures as this can have a huge impact on the volume of traffic entering/leaving Southampton. Do allow for this when travelling to the venue. The theatre itself has recently been refurbished and looked stunning, with comfortable seating and plenty of leg room.
Tickets cost from £19.50 to £44.50 (booking fees may apply).
Benidorm Live is at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from 5-10 November 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.mayflower.org.uk or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811