Totally bonkers, utterly joyful; I Should Be So Lucky is pure, happy fun and a must-see show.

Great British Life: You'll be desperate to join in with the funYou'll be desperate to join in with the fun (Image: Marc Bremmer)

Hopes were high last night for I Should Be So Lucky, the new musical drawing together some of the best of the back catalogue of Stock Aitken Waterman hits. With more than 100 UK Top 40 hits from which to choose, I can only imagine selecting which to wrap into their long-awaiting musical was quite the conversation. Thankfully for the audiences of this already hit show, they manage to squeeze more than 30 classic Hit Factory tunes into the jukebox, creating a soundtrack that will have you desperate to sing along, and positively relieved to be on your feet and doing just that in the final scene. 

The premise is simple – Ella (Lucie-Mae Sumner) is left at the altar by the love of her life, Nathan (Billy Roberts). Her Nana Ivy (Jemma Churchill), mum Shelley (Melissa Jacques), sister Britney (Jessica Daley and besties Bonnie (Kayla Carter) and Michael (Scott Paige) insist she not let the honeymoon go to waste, and join her as Team Ella, in an effort to get her past her heartbreak. The result is a cornucopia of Brits abroad hilarity, from Nana’s vajazzle to Michael’s Indian head, packed with cheeky innuendo, slapstick and pure, British fun, all underpinned by the glorious Stock Aitken Waterman soundtrack. 

Nathan, of course, realises he’s royally messed up, so heads with his best friend, Ash (Giovanni Spanò) to the very high-end luxury hotel where Ella seems to be quite happily getting over her dastardly fiancé.  

Great British Life: Ella's romantic options are wide openElla's romantic options are wide open (Image: Marc Brenner)

There are plot twists and side plots and lots and lots of singing and dancing, but really, all you need to know is that this show is brilliant. It has the whole audience laughing. Not just sniggers or chuckles, but proper laughing, and looking around to see if your neighbours agree, which they do. 

The best of the songs come in the grand ensemble numbers, I think. The opening number, I Should Be So Lucky (Kylie Minogue, 1987) revs the crowd and sets the mood, and the full cast belting out Respectable (Mel and Kim, 1987) gets the whole audience twitching. Individual performances are strong, but a special nod must be given to Melissa Jacques’ performance of Telltale Signs (Kylie Minogue, 1989) where her rich, bluesy tones give the song a whole new spin. Carter and Spanò deliver great solos and a fabulous duet, too. 

Finally, a huge round of applause for Jamie Chapman, whose hotel manager, Spencer, is at risk of stealing the show in multiple scenes, played to camp perfection and with great tenderness. 

Great British Life: Ella steps into her powerElla steps into her power (Image: Marc Brenner)

We can’t review a Stock Aitken Waterman show without mentioning Kylie, of course, and with so many of her hits in the show it would be hard not to conjour her up yourself, from the first note sung. There’s no need, as there she is, as Ella’s inner voice, popping up (or down, in fact) in multiple scenes, wonderfully timed and choreographed. I won’t spoil it with detail, but if you leave without Kylie’s mantra: “Strong. Beautiful. Fabulous.” stuck in your head forevermore, you’re a stronger person than I. I Should Be So Lucky is a glorious cheesefest that will surely have audiences coming back again and again, joining Kylie and Ella in a celebration of some of the best loved tunes of the 80s. 

I Should Be So Lucky plays at Manchester Opera House until November 25