I Should Be So Lucky Review by Nina Jervis

March 13, 2024

Thanks to Nina Jervis from www.ninathewriter.com for this review.

I’ve got a Russian friend who had never seen the film Dirty Dancing. A few years ago she finally got around to watching it, only to proclaim that she couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

“That’s because you didn’t see it when it first came out,” I told her, with the tiniest sniff of defensiveness. “You had to be there at the time, and you had to be young.”

I had the exact same feeling about I Should Be So Lucky. If you weren’t queuing outside Our Price to get your hallowed copy of Especially For You; if you weren’t carefully ripping out Smash Hits posters of Kylie, Jason, Rick, or Mel & Kim to hang on your teenage bedroom wall… then I’m sorry, but you just won’t get it.

For those who do get it, there’s a whole lot to love about this musical. It’s pure nostalgic joy; reminiscent of a genuinely magical time when all that mattered in life was music, friendship, and fun. The heart-shaped set resembles a teenage girl’s secret diary: all glitter and seashells and tiny padlocks, and of course the rollcall of Stock Aitken Waterman hits is never-ending.

Some, like Never Gonna Give You Up and Respectable, are iconic pop bangers that absolutely everybody knows. Others, like the album track Tell Tale Signs (the 1989 album in question being Kylie’s Enjoy Yourself… and no, I didn’t have to look that up!) are there for the hardcore fans only.

Others still are gloriously re-imagined, like the Turkish cabaret version of Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) that’s utterly bonkers, but in the best possible way. Dance routines are choreographed by Strictly’s Jason Gilkison, while some of the costumes nod to Kylie’s ever-changing looks over the years, including her iconic gold hot pants… ably sported by the brilliant Jamie Chapman as Spencer. Oh, and did I mention Actual Kylie appears in a mirror throughout the show?

Looking totally fabulous, she dispenses sass-filled bites of advice to Ella, who at the start of the show is jilted at the altar by her fiancé, Nathan.

Ella decides she isn’t going to waste her Turkish honeymoon, so her coterie of friends and family join her on the trip instead. But Nathan soon realises he’s made a big mistake, so he jets straight off to Turkey – best man Ash by his side – to win Ella back.

Let’s face it, you won’t have come for the story. That’s a good thing, because it’s – to use the word again – bonkers. Parts of it, like Nathan’s reason for jilting Ella, make no sense whatsoever, while other story developments seem to do nothing more than signpost the next song.

Happily this doesn’t matter in the least, especially since the characters are all played with bucket loads of charm and smiles, even in the story’s few downbeat moments. Lucie-Mae Sumner is a delightful Ella, though Scott Paige as her friend Michael was an audience favourite, with his cheeky quips and a wide smile that lit up the stage.

Be warned: with so many classic Stock Aitken Waterman hits on the turntable, this is a hard show to stay quiet and seated for! But those itching to sing and dance along will finally get their chance at the end, when the cast perform a rousing medley that’s guaranteed to leave everybody on a nostalgic high.


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