The long-running ITV sitcom Benidorm gets an extended remix by creator Derren Litten in this live stage show. It brings together six of the final series regulars and pumps up the original’s saucy seaside postcard humour to a level which would never have made it into the pre-watershed time slot.
The various plot strands – a posh couple forced to spend a night in the cheap-as-chips Solona hotel, undercover hotel inspectors and a gay swinger with the hots for hairdresser Kenneth – have a familiarity about them. While the structure is looser, without the quick-fire approach afforded by being on screen, director Ed Curtis winds everything together convincingly, in a way that will appeal to new audiences while giving fans plenty of what they’ve come to expect.
Tony Maudsley’s Kenneth and Adam Gillen’s Liam, proprietors of the Blow’N’Go salon, provide the most outrageous laughs, while inveterate swinger Jacqueline (the magnificent Janine Duvitski) and newbie Damian Williams, as Derek, provide an abundance of single entendres.
There are a couple of well-staged musical moments in the first half, nicely choreographed by Alan Harding, notably the introduction of Jake Canuso’s lothario barkeep Mateo. But it is when Mark Walters’ versatile set morphs into Neptune’s Bar for the second half’s extended karaoke session that the musical elements are brought to the fore – with Shelley Longworth’s Sam getting stage-time that her character previously lacked.
Though its casting is disappointingly all-white and its humour decidedly blue, in the era of Brexit it is pleasing to see a Brits-abroad comedy that is not fuelled by fear.