Super Understudy Billy Roberts Saves The Show
Summer Holiday the Musical based on the 1963 film of the same name starring Cliff Richard and the Shadows drove it's way into town last night! Featuring classic 60s hits such as the titular track, On The Beach, Bachelor Boy, In The Country, Living Doll, Dancing Shoes, Do You Wanna Dance? and many more, the show follows four mechanics as they bid for a Summer Holiday they'll never forget. With very little funds behind them, leader of the pack, Don, manages to get permission for them to use a bus from the London Bus Company, which they happen to work for and the quartet kit the bus out in only seven days for a manic European adventure on the road. Once across the channel they meet an upcoming girl group heading to Athens for a gig and an American stowaway running away from stardom. All adding up to an eventful and often disastrous venture.
The audience of course loved following Don and the boys on their mad-hat adventure and were wowed by some audacious choreography and electric deliveries of the film's iconic soundtrack, however last night's performance was particularly eventful and not just because of the show on stage. Unfortunately the tour's Don, Ray Quinn, suffered an injury from a prior accident during a Dartford performance of the show and managed to make it through to the end of Act One, but could not continue and was rushed to seek further medical treatment.
Quinn could only apologise to his fans and it was understandably a hard decision for him to not return to the stage, however superstar Billy Roberts, who had already been on-stage playing Don's friend and fellow mechanic, Steve, stepped into the role and seemed suitably at ease, delivering the Cliff Richard tunes with eloquence, charisma and tenacity. Roberts, having not covered a leading role before this tour, could only be applauded for his efforts. He has also appeared as Don in today's performances and we do not as of yet know when Ray Quinn will be returning, however you can be assured the show is in safe hands with Billy Roberts. The subsequent audience comments also do much to prove this sentiment...
Billy Roberts was not the only cast member having to step up though; William Beckerleg slotted into the role of Steve admirably and Adam Crossley likewise had to take on more, both performing effervescently. The company, thus worked excellently in unison to make sure they could successfully deliver this beautiful and technical production.
And here's what the critics had to say about the whole affair...
'Quinn, who injured himself on stage, was replaced by Billy Roberts, and William Beckerleg took on the role of Steve. This was unfortunate as Quinn is perfectly cast as the swinging sixties lead character, though both actors performed well in their new roles.'
'The dance routines by director and choreographer Racky Plews are brilliantly sequenced, not a step out of place...'- Selina Begum, The Up Coming
We would like to take this opportunity to wish Ray a speedy recovery and thank the company for pulling together to still deliver an excellent opening night performance. You can catch Summer Holiday all week at New Wimbledon Theatre. .
Summer Holiday runs this week, 18 - 22 September, at the New Wimbledon Theatre.