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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Summer Holiday

Empire Theatre, Liverpool
August 9 – August 11

Director: Kei Bailey
Producer: Liverpool Empire & Live Nation
Cast includes: Nicholas Donnelly, Meg Williamson, Stuart Slater, Kelsey Cullen, David Joseph Moorst, Kieran Williams, Jonathan Howard, Laura-Elizabeth Blair.
Running time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Image: Promo image for'Summer Holiday' The Stage Experience


What better way to begin your acting career than with a timeless classic, Summer Holiday, performed on the biggest stage in the land outside of London, with all the amenities imaginable at your disposal. That’s what the 120 strong cast of The Liverpool Empire’s first Stage Experience initiative had to work with, if only for ten days.

This was The Empire’s first ever in-house production and, following the blow-away success of Seusical The Musical recently, big things were expected of this mostly amateur production, made up of performers aged 8-21.

So, was it any good? Well, on the whole, yes. The Principals held their characters well, with Stuart Slater playing the charming loveable rogue Cyril and Jonathan Howard playing the camp theatre agent, Jerry, being amongst the most notable for their acting capabilities. Vocalists of the night, however, were Kelsey Cullen, playing Angie, Nicholas Donnelly, filling Cliff’s shoes as Don, Meg Williamson as Bob / Barbara and Faye McGuire playing Mimsie.

Everyone knows the story. Take a London bus to Paris, get detoured, go to Italy then Athens. Boy(s) meet(s) Girl(s), fall in love in the space of a week etc etc. The over-riding element of the show, however, was the sheer enthusiasm of everybody on stage. Yes, okay, things went wrong – at times to an extent where it could be believed the audience had stumbled into a re-run of Noises Off – but the cast battled through admirably and barely missed a line or word.

The set, when it behaved, fitted the bill, with varying postcard banners detailing where we all were, and the songs – including a few numbers that weren’t in the movie – had the audience clapping along dutifully. Bachelor Boy, Move It, Do You Wanna Dance, The Young Ones and, of course, Summer Holiday itself being the most memorable to be performed, with dancers doing their thing like old-handers.

Okay, so it had the feel of school play at times but, all in all, this production of Summer Holiday was a belt of warm sunshine on an otherwise bereft season and The Liverpool Empire and Live Nation, the cast and crew should be roundly applauded for their efforts in getting the show together so quickly.

Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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