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  • Writer's pictureBecky Wallis

Fun at the Beach Romp-Bomp-A-Lomp Review - Southwark Playhouse Borough

Photo credit - Danny with a camera

Who put the bomp in the beach romp bomp a lomp?

Billed as an original musical that sounds familiar, Fun at the Beach Romp Bomp A Lomp takes familiar tropes and stereotypes of 50s style movies, think Grease or more recently perhaps Disney’s Teen Beach Movie, and gives them a serious twist. 3 guys, 3 girls, a trip to beach; you’d be forgiven for thinking you know to expect here, but trust me, this is no ordinary trip to the seaside. It's time for the Beach Romp Bomp A Lomp, a competition to become King or Queen of the beach, with deadly consequences as only the last one standing can take the crown.

In a musical packed full of songs that are both original and familar, we follow girls Chasity, Chickie and Mary Joe, alongside boys Dude, Dickie and Joe as they compete to win both the competition and the hearts of each other. But as the tasks become increasingly deadly, is winning the competition really that important?

Think T-Birds Danny and Kenickie with class geek Eugene from Grease as this show instead presents Dude (Jack Whittle), Dickie (Damian James) and Joe (Tom Babbage). Dude wants nothing more than to become King of the beach to prove that he isn’t a bum, Dickie and his collection of bird calls are there for a good time and all Joe really wants is to fall in love. They come face to face with Chasity (Janice Landry), Chickie (Katie Oxman) and Mary Jo (Ellie Clayton); Chasity, the dreamer who wants to be able to do the one thing she's always wanted, Chickie, the fun mother hen of the group, and clumsy ditsy Mary Jo. You can probably guess who gets paired up with who.

This ensemble piece, with its 90 minute running time, is crammed full of laugh out loud moments (some of which even have the on stage band in fits of giggles) recurring jokes and high energy dance numbers, and whilst the fourth wall is never quite completely shattered, there are a fair few knowing looks to the audience that really bring the punch lines home. The original songs by Brandon Lambert take heavy inspiration from a number of 50's hits, to the extent that audience laughter rises from the realisation of what song is being referenced. For example, 'Who Put The Bomp' becomes the title song 'Beach Romp Bomp A Lomp' , 'Big Girls Don't Cry' becomes 'Mature Women Don't Whine', 'Lollipop' becomes 'Popsicle' and 'Locomotion' becomes the 'Ocean Motion' to name but a few. It's very silly, but incredibly entertaining throughout, and the cast which is completed by Dixie Newman and Bradley Adams, perform each number with impressive vocals with a wonderful sense of fun.

Whittle, James and Babbage make for a comedic trio. Having each spent time in Haversham Manor in 'The Play That Goes Wrong', each display a natural flair for comedy. Whittle's over dramatic proclamations of always being a bum earn many a laugh as the charming Dude, winning over the audience with else as James' and Oxman delighting as Dickie and Chickie, an apparent match made in heaven with their matching bird noises. Babbage's Joe gets himself into a lot of trouble, but excels as the lovable fool, wonderfully matched with Clayton's Mary Jo.

Emily Bestow's set and costume design creates a technicolour beach scene with couple's colour schemes, an ocean to surf in and even some very clever and comical use of loud speakers through which we hear the competition announcements by the show's writer Martin Landry.

Fun at the Beach Romp Bomp A Lomp is larger than life, silly, adventurous and fresh. The songs may be familiar but overall, this is something completely different from anything else around. The storylines may be nonsensical, out there, and altogether ridiculous, but that is all a part of the fun. You laugh at the absurdity of it, bop along with the songs and ultimately smile with the cast who are clearly loving it just as much as we, the audience, are. It is a piece of theatre that may not change the world, it may not have some important story to tell or some big message to leave you with, but that's alright, for it doesn't have to. It will leave you with a big smile on your face and a catchy tune in your head for the foreseeable. It's 90 minutes of escapism, silliness and laughter that is a welcome distraction from dreary weather and even more dreary news stories, exactly what we need right now.



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