ERA Productions returns to the Fringe this year with a familiar act that sees the lively quartet of Megan (Mia Taylor), Nicole (Catherine Hutchinson), Amy (Abi Price) and Olivia (Molly King) – whose various personalities quirks and clashes provide the bulwark of the humour – relish in the chaos of nightclubs, hangovers, and Ricky Martin in a mishmash display of female camaraderie, set to the tune of noughties classics. Vividly displaying the pitfalls of booze-fuelled party resort shenanigans that test the group’s friendship, the all-female production is pleasant and energetic, resembling a cross between The Inbetweeners and Derry Girls.
A fulfilling performance that strikes many a chord with its audience
Calling this a musical, in the conventional sense, would be disengenous as it angles closer to a noughties-themed hen-do singalong. And like any hen-do it sounds like, well, as you’d imagine: a group of drunken women singing karaoke poorly. And surely, as the title suggests, poorly sung drunken lyrics are what one expects in Magaluf, which the well-choreographed inter-clubbing scenes purposefully imitate in unnervingly accurate fashion, complete with an assortment of inflatable props.
Surely that’s the point though, isn’t it? Drunken crooning on a shooter-saturated night out on the Magaluf strip? But in various places the show attempts genuine musical talent without invoking this deft sense of irony, offering a confusing fallacy. Perhaps the billing’s conceit is to blame, but any attempt by the cast to offer genuine Broadway talent is immediately rebranded a singalong given the memory of wandering pitch on many other numbers. Truly, it is this cheesiness which makes the act so appealing – especially on the cringey, thoroughly butchered but hilarious rendition of Shaggy’s It Wasn’t Me – but something it inconsistently exploits.
The show rarely misses an easy, clichéd noughties target – Shrek, Britney Spears, and Peter Andre to name a few millennial tokens – but these are what make it enjoyable, eliciting laughter and applause from the audience in its infectious, happy-go-lucky nostalgic appeal to bygone days of Busted and Girls Aloud pre-2008 crash.
Ultimately, the crux of the show rests upon the purported choice of genre: Musical? Drama? Comedy? One Week in Magaluf eagerly strives to be all three in one, but succeeds in stretching itself thin in its 50-minute slot, weakening the end product. Does it show promise in any one of these genres? Absolutely. The story – though messy in places – is moderately engaging; there is strong acting output from the likes of King in her portrayal of the prudish Olivia, reminiscent of Motherland’s Amanda; lighting and sound is well orchestrated; there is versatility and raw musical talent from Price in her portrayal of the boisterous and flirtatious Amy; and there is a goldmine to be exploited in the comedic writings of director Amy Nic. As a piece of musical theatre, it is regrettably benign, lacking a rudder to steer it towards conceptual gratification. But as a bustling noughties throwback brimming with vitality and catchy numbers, it is otherwise a fulfilling performance that strikes many a chord with its audience.