I Should Be So Lucky, directed and written by Debbie Issit, is a flamboyant, fun and fabulous production, sparing no fluffiness in delivering a musical treat that invites audiences to revel in its unapologetic campiness. At the core of this lively production is an extensive jukebox catalogue featuring almost 30 hits from the vibrant decades of the 80s and 90s, written by the hit-making trio Stock Aitken Waterman. From “You Spin Me Round” to “Love in the First Degree" to “Never Gonna Give You Up”, these catchy dance-pop tunes will have your heads bopping and toes tapping.
The show begins with the cancelled wedding of Ella (Lucie-Mae Sumner) and Nathan (Billy Roberts), leading to an uproarious journey to Turkey with her family, where scandals, new suitors, and regrets come to play in a whirlwind of mayhem, chaos, and jealousy. It's a drama teetering on the edge of absurdity, setting the stage for a constant stream of iconic hits, delivered with infectious energy by a cast determined to entertain.
Let’s be honest here. This show doesn’t pretend to be intellectual nor is it set up to explore thought-provoking themes. The material is generally weak, with underdeveloped characters and a clunky, rushed plot. The dialogue, shoehorned awkwardly to fit around the songs, occasionally leans into cringe-worthy territory. However, the cast navigates these challenges with commendable gusto and energy, delivering a committed, spectacular, and slick performance.
In the midst of this musical frenzy, Sumner as Ella, shines resiliently despite her story being occasionally overshadowed by the other characters and sub plots. She takes centre stage with her number “Venus”, showcasing her incredible vocal range and prowess. Melissa Jacques, portraying Ella's mother Shelley, delivers a standout performance in “Telltale Signs”. Roberts as Nathan is sincere and earnest, determined to win Ella back. Giovanni Spano's flamboyant Ash and Kayla Carter's charming portrayal of Bonnie inject heart and humour into the show, with Matthew Croke's charismatic Nadeem stealing scenes (and probably hearts) effortlessly. Among the talented cast, Kylie Minogue herself appears in the magic mirror as Ella’s inner voice, proving to us how this diva still remains truly “strong, beautiful and fabulous”.
While the story resembles and flirts with the spirit of Mamma Mia! through its playful plot, lively musical numbers, and boppy songs, it falls short due to its questionable narrative, logic gaps and sloppy resolutions. However, it is Stock Aitken Waterman’s music that saves the day. The musical arrangements, under the direction of George Dyer, predominantly sticks to the tried-and-tested style that made these songs legendary. It is precisely thesefamiliar rifts and tunes that take the audience on a trip down memory lane.
The heavy emphasis on spectacle is perhaps the strongest element of this show. Tom Rogers' set resembles a constant dream sequence, featuring mostly neon-lit, larger-than-life heart-themed set pieces, and an abundance of beautiful details and pop culture easter eggs sprinkled throughout. His costumes are also a standout—glitzy, colourful and stunning, perfectly complementing the set. Jason Gilkison’s choreography comes alive in significant moments, showcasing several show-stopping sequences, with none more sensational than the crowd favourite "Respectable”; which was truly…respectable. However, the brilliance of these numbers leaves us wishing that the plot and characters could match up to this level of excellence.
At the heart of it, I Should Be So Lucky offers much-needed escapism. And, like with many guilty-pleasure jukebox musicals, it is easy to forgive and forget if you're there to see these iconic songs come to life. If you can look past its flaws and are seeking a good night out (like myself), then this musical is "especially for you”.
I Should Be So Lucky plays at New Wimbledon Theatre until 3rd Febuary. For information and tickets, follow this link.
AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Marc Brenner