With the autumnal nights well and truly drawing in it may seem a strange time to be watching a musical about summer holidays, but when a show is on tour it’s inevitable some of us are going to see it out of season!
And so Summer Holiday arrives at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre just before Halloween.
The story made famous on film by Cliff Richard and The Shadows is now a stage show starring X Factor runner-up and Dancing On Ice winner Ray Quinn in the lead role made famous by Cliff.
In addition to his success in the reality shows, Ray’s theatre credits include Grease, Dirty Dancing, Legally Blonde and The Wedding Singer.
Summer Holiday tells the story of Don (Quinn) and his fellow London Transport mechanics as they journey together in a red double decker bus through Paris, the Alps, Italy and Greece. Along the way they pick up a girl singing group and a young American pop star who is on the run from her domineering mother.
The feelgood musical is filled with loads of Sixties hits including In The Country, Summer Holiday, Travellin’ Light, Bachelor Boy, Move It, Living Doll, The Young Ones and On The Beach plus some additional Cliff classics.
Ray Quinn calls it “good old fashioned entertainment at its best”.
Speaking about his reaction when he was first offered the part, Ray said: “I jumped at the chance and then it hit me! It was my nan’s favourite movie and she adored Sir Cliff Richard! So big boots to fill and I’m up for the challenge, and I know my nan would be so proud.”
Ray said he watched the movie several times to get his head around the part as he wants to do justice to the original, but at the same time he wants to stamp his own identity on the part.
He said: “I have to have a bit of a Sixties posh London accent, so that’s totally new to me. And those iconic songs, such iconic hits!”
The cast underwent three weeks of intense rehearsals in a north London studio followed by a week of tech rehearsal in a theatre before opening the tour in Liverpool, which is now coming towards its end in Aylesbury, with the final date in November in Scotland.
As a child Ray says his heroes were Sammy Davis Jnr, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. He explained: “My dad is such a massive fan of this era and he would play his records in the house and I started to sing along. When it comes to singing and dancing there’s no one to touch the great Gene or Fred.”
Ray also admitted that when he was little he wanted to be a policeman until he saw his first show and then he knew show business was the career for him. Now his dream job would be to play the definitive spy, James Bond.
He said: “I’m a massive fan of the Bond movies. My ultimate Bond was Sean Connery, he is Mister Cool, I wanted to be him. I love action movies and I think this is the ultimate British role.”
Joining Ray on tour is Wayne Smith in the role of Jerry the long suffering agent, Sophie Matthew plays runaway singer Barbara and Taryn Sudding plays her controlling, fame hungry mother Stella.
Summer Holiday will be at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre at 7.30pm from Tuesday, October 23, through to Saturday October 27, with additional 2.30pm matinees on the Wednesday and Saturday.
Tickets cost from £12, box office 0844 871 7607 or book online at www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury or call in to Exchange Street.