Fantastic Summer Holiday

Summer Holiday, Summer Youth Project, Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe, until Saturday, August 16

Summer Holiday, Summer Youth Project, Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe, until tonight

FORGET the iffy weather - the British Summer Holiday is alive and well and playing at the Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe.

For sheer exuberance this leaves most stage musicals standing. The young cast had the audience cheering from the start of this all singing, all dancing show with non-stop fun.

Based on the film musical, starring Cliff Richard, it tells the story of four young men who set off across Europe in a big red London bus, picking up a female pop trio and a boy (who turns out to be a girl) on the way.

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Um… four boys, four girls… I wonder what happens next. Yes, they all fall in love and despite a comedy sub-plot that aims to spoil their fun, it all ends happily ever after.

It's the same as the screen version except that the bus stops off on its continental travels to pick up a few other Cliff Richard and the Shadows hits - notably from his earlier film The Young Ones.

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I cannot praise the principals highly enough. Their harmonies were spot on, their dancing was confident and their acting splendid. They played the show out to the audience like professionals and the enormous supporting cast was well-drilled and full of individual talent.

There is nothing thought provoking about Summer Holiday, it is as fluffy as a field full of newborn lambs; as light as a helium-filled vol au vent. But, with so many solo spots, it needs quality performances. And that's what we got.

Joe Leat, as Don (the Cliff Richard role), Dan Ablitt as Steve, Tom Mayhew as Cyril and Peter Hazelwood as Edwin were a fantastic foursome while Flora Chalton, Vicky Jam and Natalie Stock as the singing group Doh Re Mi were a thrilling threesome.

Stephanie Hazelwood as Barbara aka Bobby, the boy who turns out to be a girl, did some terrific vocals - especially in the a capella version of Young Ones.

The baddies - basically a comedy double act - are Stella (Joanna Brown) and her hapless sidekick Jerry (Shaun Corcorn), whose comic timing was immaculate.

The Summer Youth Project gives young people interested in theatre an opportunity to spend some of their school holidays involved in a professionally produced show.

Director Rebecca Darcy, musical director Richard Healey, choreographer Suzie Lowe and the production team have ensured another huge success for the venture.

The only slight disappointment was that the Spa Pavilion wasn't packed to the rafters. The show deserves full houses.

Lynne Mortimer

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