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  • Review by john Murray

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Summer Holiday the musical at the Edinburgh Playhouse?

What great timing I would say as rain clouds turn to sun just like the movie did all those years ago. The stage show was based on the movie too and keeps close to the plot with the attraction of more Cliff Richard songs that were not in the original film in 1963. The musical is a new UK tour and some will remember a similar visit to this venue back in the day with Darren Day as Don in the title role. He was very like Cliff, wore tight trousers and flirted throughout that show causing woops from the ladies in the audience reimagining their new version of Sir Cliff.

Well the lead part now goes to Ray Quinn who I remember from X Factor finals – it was just his luck to appear in the same year as Leona Lewis. He made an arguably bigger name for himself though when Dancing On Ice saw him as a double champion. He remains in good shape and was able to dance fabulously and acrobatically across the stage and sometime while singing. A big name with a (relatively) minor part was Bobby Crush recently seen on Last Laugh In Vegas as he took his Fringe show as Liberace to the Vegas stage with a host of UK veteran stars. I expect he made lots of fans from that series and some of our audience would most certainly know him from his winning runs as a young star on Opportunity Knocks.

So to our story as young bus mechanics take just seven days to convert a London bus into a touring motor caravan across Europe and helped by three mates Steve (Billy Roberts), Edwin (Joe Goldie) and Cyril (Rory Maguire) and they certainly keep up a fast pace with song and humour all the way through. They stop to help girl group Doe Ray Me and a further plot engages the love interest for Don (Ray Quinn) when Barbara (played by Sophie Matthew) is a stowaway in the bus while dressed as a young boy. The songs are everywhere and some rearranged for the stage but many are just great sing a longs for the fans of the music. The title song will always be a feel good factor but add Bachelor Boy, The Young Ones, Dancing Shows and Do You Wanna Dance as some the biggest moments on stage.

Ray has his big ballad with The Next Time, all alone on stage with minimal set and at times, with his quiff and phrasing was convincing as a young Cliff. Jerry (Bobby Crush) was funny and exactly in character and I wish we had more from him. The double decker revolving bus on stage is an eye opener too and I expect the costliest prop on tour. The ensemble are wonderful dancers and in the pastel costume of the original while still looking great. The encore finale was a colourful non-stop hit medley and a fitting end to a wonderful feel good show.

Edinburgh Playhouse till June 23

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