Fun at the Beach Romp-Bomp-A-Lomp!! ★★★★ Southwark Playhouse, Borough | May 24 - Jun 22, 2024

The title is goofy, but the show is even goofier! Try to imagine Squid Game as a jukebox musical. This is a supremely silly spoof of those frequently rather vacuous tributes to the music of the 50s and 60s. The songs are hilarious versions of hits like "Lollipop," "Earth Angel," and "The Loco-Motion." "Big Girls Don't Cry" becomes "Mature Women Don't Whine" and Aretha Franklin's anthem "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" becomes the hilarious tongue twister "A-P-P-R-E-C-I-A-T-I-O-N." In fact, one of the covert pleasures of this show is recognising the familiar favourites that have been reimagined. Brandon Lambert's music and lyrics are both clever and comic. The premise of the 'story' is that after a series of life-endangering contests one of a dim-witted sextet of beach bums and babes will be named king or queen of the beach. This plot is complemented by the requisite pairing-off of the three couples according to the inane and sexist conventions of the era. The satire is gentle and jocular, and there is more than a whiff of nostalgia for what may have been a more innocent time. All six members of the cast are outstanding. Their singing, dancing and timing are quite perfect, and they play dopey quite delightfully. Damien James and Katie Oxman are great fun as a constantly tweeting pair of birdbrains while Tom Babbage and Ellie Clayton bring a wonderful zaniness to their imperilled couple of Joe and Mary Joe. However, our favourites had to be Jack Whittle as the insecure Dude and Janice Landry as the insipid Chastity. If you're looking for an evening of easy laughter and innocuous nonsense, look no further. Fun at the Beach Romp-Bomp-A-Lomp!! definitely lives up to its name.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Danny Kaan

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