By Rebecca Langley
I’ve seen a lot of theatre. I mean a lot. I caught the musical theatre bug when seeing Phantom of the Opera in New York back in 2014, and I haven’t stopped voraciously sucking up every musical I can see through a straw since. And I’m notoriously difficult to impress. Hamilton? Rubbish. Wicked? Cliched. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect from I Should Be So Lucky. Perhaps another cliched jukebox musical with poor singing and even poorer dancing? A sort of poor man’s version of Mamma Mia but with Bananarama rather than ABBA?
I could not have been more wrong. I absolutely LOVED this sunny, joy-filled hit of a musical. I am being effusive and genuine in my praise. It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen in regional theatre and would easily rival dozens of shows currently on in the West End. It’s that good.
The show is written and directed by Debbie Isitt (of Nativity! fame) and choreographed by Strictly’s Jason Gilkinson (and that really shows in the extremely slick and polished musical numbers.) So what can you expect if you choose to give up a precious few hours of your fourth week to go? It follows a young, engaged couple, Ella (Lucie-Mae Sumner) and Nathan (Billy Roberts,) and the show opens on their wedding day. However, it all goes horribly wrong when Nathan jilts Ella at the altar after his granddad warns him of a ‘family secret.’ When Ella and her family decide to go on the honeymoon anyway, realising his terrible mistake, Nathan his and best man, Ash (Giovanni Spano,) follow as Nathan attempts to win Ella back. However, Ella’s head has been turned by dreamboat, Nadeem (Matthew Croke,) and the two men vie for her heart. But who will Ella choose? Will she get her fairy tale wedding after all?
I Should Be So Lucky is funny. It has a big heart. It’s probably one of the most high-energy productions I’ve seen. Every musical hit is an absolute Stock Aitken Waterman eighties banger, with no less than ten number-one singles, including Never Gonna Give You Up, Love in the First Degree, and Especially for You. And, spoiler alert, the queen Kylie herself will even appear. So, who should go and see I Should Be So Lucky? In short, everyone. I defy anyone to say they don’t enjoy this. It has something for everyone. It’s so sunny, so joy-filled, it’s absolutely irresistible. I wanted to get up and dance on the stage with this sunlit cast. I Should Be So Lucky is the perfect antidote for your fourth week or February blues. Catch it in Oxford until Saturday or nationwide on tour until May: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/i-should-be-so-lucky/new-theatre-oxford/