Review Peter Cargill Summer Holiday a big success at Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Confession time. Following last year’s record-breaking production of Chicago, the news that Pitlochry Theatre’s musical for 2019 was to be Summer Holiday left this scribe with a high degree of low expectations.
But I hold my hands up in surrender – not easy while eating a generous portion of humble pie – for the production from new in-house director Elizabeth Newman with Ben Occhipinti is full of breathtaking colour, movement and excitement.
Even the youngsters were up bopping at curtain call – youngsters who weren’t even born when Cliff Richard got on his bus. In fact, some of their parents probably hadn’t yet set foot on this planet.
It is not without its problems – the stage adaptation from the 1963
film is, like the bus, much in need of an MoT. However, the script has been edited, with the group of adventurers now leaving on their European trip from Pitlochry.
With the energetic cast traipsing round the auditorium “aboard” their symbolic bus, pursued by a baddie, it has a feel of pantomime.
The original film score has been augmented with music from earlier Cliff film The Young Ones, so fans of ’60s music will be in raptures. Nothing sells like nostalgia.
Between the 20 high-octane numbers, there is a story. A group of mechanics, wanting to escape the Scottish rain, convert a bus and set off for the south of France.
En route, they pick up a stranded cabaret trio and an American pop star disguised as a boy.
In the film, the leading lady’s songs were dubbed. No need here, with Lynwen Haf Roberts as runaway Barbara in excellent voice, with great support from David Rankine as love interest Don.
Despite the material’s weakness, this talented 12-strong team certainly know how to put it over.
It is a fusion of foot-tapping, frolicsome, frivolous fun for the teeny-boppers of the ’60s, who get fair fare on this trip. Bus passes not accepted.