Theatre review - That'll Be The Day at Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth

The cast of That'll Be The Day

The cast of That'll Be The Day

First published in Stage by

This spectacular rock ‘n’ roll variety show has been successfully touring for 29 years – rewritten every year – and this is their 18th consecutive summer season in Bournemouth. What is their secret?

The formula is a clever mix of happy pop songs from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s combined with saucy yet safe end-of-the-pier humour (no gratuitous swearing), underpinned by nostalgic overhead projections.

The five-piece live backing band are multi-talented musicians and vocalists; the front five performers are compelling entertainers at the peak of their powers.

The show’s pace is quick and slick with lots of tight medleys – no number is played in its entirety – (sometimes frustrating given the quality) and there is forensic attention to authentic detail with costumes and wigs so that ten performers seem like many more.

Adding endearingly cute professionalism to the Bournemouth summer season shows (and the annual Christmas show at Bournemouth International Centre) are the talented young dancers from the Carrington Hollywood School.

Musical highlights include the close harmony doo-wop Remember When, the gorgeous harmonies of the Everly Brothers on Let It Be Me and the oh-so-60s sound of the Honeycombs’ Have I The Right? (but where was their unique girl drummer?).

Comedy highlights include the hilarious Trevor Payne and Gary Anderson as Batman and Robin (seamlessly morphing into Eric and Ernie), with their references to Boscombe and Sandbanks, their improvised script “errors”, and their saucy humour.

The essence of this show is to convey a magical musical period from their Beatles homage of Please Please Me, Here Comes The Sun and Let It Be through the soul classics Midnight Hour, Mustang Sally and Hold On, I’m Coming to the feel-good finale Hold Tight, Amarillo and Buddy Holly’s ubiquitous That’ll Be The Day.

This is a show renowned for its charity fund-raising, just com-pleting £237,000 for Help for Heroes, previously £118,000 for Childline, and now working for Make a Wish.

That’ll Be The Day runs until September 13.

Brendan McCusker

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