Billed as ‘the future of queer comedy cabaret’ Tropicana is Aidan Sadler’s 80’s solo show of classic queer hits at the suitably late hour of 23:15 at theSpaceTriplex.
this late-night entertainment has hit the spot in terms of mass appeal
Although promoted as ‘Edinburgh Fringe's most engaging LGBTQIA+ act’ the appeal is even wider, judging from the audience on the night. Gays? Surprisingly, almost none. Adoring women in their twenties and thirties? Lots. Straight couples who grew up in that period, reliving the concerts many of them probably attended? More than one would ever have imagined. Clearly this late-night entertainment has hit the spot in terms of mass appeal.
As far as the music is concerned Sadler doesn’t disappoint. The company work their way through one smash hit after another, belting out loudly backed song after song with energetic enthusiasm. Spandau Ballet’s Gold provides the excuse, if one were needed, to pull sparkling leaves of the stuff from every part of their glistening suit. Human League’s Don't You Want Me, ABC’s The Look of Love and a-ha’s Take On Me follow in rapid succession, along with several others that are the highlight of the extravaganza and punctuate the interludes of humour.
For all the musical success the show falls down on the comedy front. As a relative newcomer, along with co-writer and director George Bricher, the material for the most part fails to hit the mark and an element of self-consciousness is apparent, in marked contrast to the confidence exuded in the vocal work.The nervous giggle that accompanies many of the punchlines that don't hit home is a give away.
While that weakness can't be forgiven it can easily be forgotten. The show reaches its glorious climax and finale with the inevitable Club Tropicana from Wham! and the feel-good factor of having revelled in one the the most fabulous periods of pop music accompanies the journey home.