Ray Quinn as the lovable Don stands out to an almost uncomfortable degree in this feel-good musical, which essentially tells the basic tale of four car mechanics who fix up a big red bus and set off on an adventure. On the way they end up picking up three stranded singers and a runaway one, who’s being chased down by her fame-hungry mother. As you might imagine from an all-smiles-and-sparkles musical, it ends happily ever after.
Quinn’s co-stars give solid performances, but nothing to write home about. Joe Goldie as Edwin is sweet, Billy Roberts’ Steve is likeable enough and Rory Mcguire’s Cyril is the comedy part that provides a nice number of laughs throughout, but all three fail to live up to the impeccable talents of Quinn. Every note, dance move and facial expression appears to have been practiced to perfection. In many ways, I feel this show would have benefited from not having Quinn as its leading man… just so the rest of the cast fare better.
The women are, generally, also forgettable, aside from Sophie Matthew as Barbara. She’s sweet and bubbly, without being irritating, and matches Quinn’s talents during their solo numbers.
The choreography and direction from Racky Plews is ambitious, perhaps overly so for the cast available. It’s all swinging 60s and jazz hands, and leaves the audience with smiles on our faces.
The set is the real stinger in this show, designed by Steve Howell. A massive great big bus floating about on stage (and, woohoo, with headlights!) isn’t really enough to grab an audience’s attention these days. Perhaps a bit of projection to show the different countries’ landscapes would have immersed us in the action a bit more. As it is, it’s a bit am-dram.
Overall, if you’re a fan of good old-fashioned fun and pleasant sixties music, this is a lovely little show. Catch it at Leeds Grand theatre until 4th August.