I Should Be So Lucky is currently playing at Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, and I was lucky, lucky, lucky enough to be invited to see what all the hype was about! It is a fun and vibrant celebration of pop music showcasing the music of Stock Aitken Waterman weaved into an original story of love, heartbreak and friendship.
I am a child of the 80s and 90s so many of the songs are familiar to me, unknowingly engrained in the depths of my brain. I subconsciously find myself recollecting the words, taking a step back in time whilst being flooded with childhood nostalgia.
The soundtrack is of course phenomenal with music from pop royalty including Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley, Jason Donovan, Bananarama and many more. It is a show where you just need to let yourself go and fully embrace what was ultimately a defining era in pop music. The reward is high because you will find yourself with a big cheesy grin plastered on your face the whole way through and resisting the urge to stand up and belt out a few lines – don’t worry though, if you can manage to restrain yourself then at the end they encourage a group sing-a-long!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this show let me give you the lowdown; I Should Be So Lucky is a heart-warming and rib-tickling tale of Ella and Nathan – a star-crossed couple with wedding jitters and tropical dreams. Will their love sail smoothly, or are stormy break-ups ahead? Only time and tunes will tell.
We are introduced to Ella, played by Lucie-Mae Sumner, who is battling with her self-worth and heartbreak, finding inspiration in her inner voice who appears in the form of the one and only Kylie Minogue – don’t get your hopes up, Kylie does not appear in person but she certainly puts her stamp on the production! Lucie-Mae embraces the role whole-heartedly and oozes personality from the big song and dance numbers, to the smaller gestures and body language even when she isn’t centre stage, making the character her own.
Billy Robert (pictured above middle) plays Ella’s groom, Nathan, the person that you question if you should dislike from the moment you see him jilt Ella at the alter, but in fact he gives us a loveable character who, like us all, makes a mistake that he regrets and sets about to do everything he can to repair the damage. Billy gives an energetic and funny performance which leaves us all rooting for him to win her back.
Nathan is helped along his path to redemption by his loyal best friend, Ash, brought to life by Giovanni Spanò (pictured above left) . This character was at the heart of the onstage humour, he was genuinely hilarious. Giovanni’s comedy timing was fantastic, and the way he delivers lines with both words and actions had the audience exploding with laughter. He is the best friend you want fighting your corner, always by your side and encouraging you on. The on-stage chemistry between Billy and Giovanni just furthered the belief in their friendship, they were the perfect pairing for these characters.
I have to give a shout out to the powerhouse vocals of Kayla Carter (pictured above right). Kayla plays Ella’s best friend Bonnie, who stunned the audience when she took to the stage with her show stopping solo, her voice lifts you up and delivers a good helping of goosebumps! This is another character that draws you in as you watch her journey of unrequited love, she is bubbly and fun and is a constant support for Ella, another testament to true friendship.
Scott Paige (above right) gave us a sassy and larger than life character as Ella’s friend Michael, who does his upmost to lift everyone’s spirits whilst battling his own inner turmoil of longing to find love. His stage presence was notable with his easy delivery of laugh out loud moments and delivering impressive vocals.
Mathew Croke was this shows casanova, playing Nadeem with his smooth moves and charm he gives Ella a love interest to rival Nathan, he certainly wins over the audience as they audibly show support for him throughout the show. In moments of serenading he effortlessly hits the notes and moves around the stage with ease and grace.
The energy when the whole cast took to the stage for the big elaborate song and dance numbers was electric, creating a real party atmosphere. The way they sang and danced around each other filling the stage with colour and sparkle lifts your spirits and delivers pure joy.
This is a show for people who just want to have some good light hearted fun. It is playing at Mayflower Theatre until 27th January, so gather up your besties, leave your cares at the door and be prepared to release your inner pop diva.
Words by Vicky Anscombe
Photography by Marc Brenner