Review: Copacabana: The hottest spot at the Harlow Playhouse!

ON THE FACE of it, the musical Copacabana is a one-trick pony or in other words, a one song musical. The clue is in the title. Then how comes the production at the Harlow Playhouse on Friday night had them dancing in the aisles, the audience in raptures and a standing ovation at the end.

The reasons appear to be that this is more than just the one song and is testament to the whole production. It is superbly acted, the singing is really really good and the sets perfect.

Lola played by Jennifer Harding plays a wonderfully sweet naive girl from Oklahoma. If there is one thing this reviewer remembers about her performqnce it is her climbing on the piano, each time she auditions.

It is not a laugh-out-loud musical but has a number of performances that keep the smile on your face. Sharon Sexton as Conchita Alvarez is a case in point as a possibly, slightly over the hill singer and dancer.

The baddie Enrico Castelli played by Ricky Johnson has the right touch for the Latino bad guy with enough character for the audience to boo and hiss.

The comedy has real old school values with Lucy Garrioch’s Glady’s more like Lucille Ball than a modern comedienne. Richard Grieve as Sam Silver also does a nice job as the tough boss turned hero, Sam Silver.

And it is held together very nicely by Jon Lee who plays Tony Starr. It is not an easy role to get your teeth into as it is a nice guy role but he is in many ways, the glue that keeps the show together.

The sets perfectly compliment the mood and tone of the show and keep it running. This is such a well paced and well judged show that you can’t help but like it. Perhaps, that is why, despite all the reservations, it has remained a favourite for over twenty five years and that is why, as it embarks on a national tour that musical lovers of all ages should head down to the Copacabana, the hottest spot (oh..you now the rest…)

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