They’re billing it as the ‘happiest musical around’. And Liverpool audiences are about to see if Summer Holiday is as bright and sunny as a week on a Greek island.
The new stage version of the Cliff Richard film vehicle opens at the Lime Street theatre next week before going on the road around the UK.
Ray Quinn is the man behind the wheel, taking on the leading role of Don (played by Richard in the 1963 movie), who joins forces with his fellow London Transport mechanics to 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, Barbara, who is on the run from her domineering mother and her agent Jerry – played here by Bobby Crush.
The show features songs from the film – including Bachelor Boy and Summer Holiday – along with Cliff Richard hits such as Move It, On The Beach, Livin’ Doll and In The Country.
I caught up with 29-year-old singer, actor and daredevil Dancing on Ice champion Ray to find out more.
What appealed to you about playing Don in Summer Holiday?
Getting the chance to perform the lead role of Don is such an honour. I’m very excited but also a bit nervous at the same time.
It was my nan’s favourite movie and she adored Sir Cliff Richard, so big boots to fill, but I’m up for the challenge.
How different to the film is the stage show?
The production and creative team have done such a great job of putting this show together. They’ve been true to the movie and the iconic hit songs..I’m so proud to be involved.
So what can Liverpool audiences expect if they come to see the musical?
The audience are in for a huge delight. It’s fast-paced, funny, exciting, Romantic! In a nut shell, it’s what I would call good old-fashioned entertainment at its best.
How does it feel to be opening the tour on home turf?
I’m so excited to be opening in my home town of Liverpool and especially at the Empire theatre - it holds some very fond memories. I can’t wait!
Do you have a favourite song or moment in the show - and what is it?
Summer Holiday and The Young Ones are at the top and are such big hits. When the iconic..BIG RED BUS arrives, Don (me) rushes in with his big idea, and it all starts from there.
Why do you think musicals remain so popular?
You can’t beat the interaction with a live audience. It’s what we as performers live for. Musicals are so popular because they are a great night out that everyone, young or old, can enjoy.
Summer Holiday is just that tonic and we're going to blow people away. It’s lots of what you know already and much more.
You've done a lot of different things in your career - singing, acting, panto, impressions and ice skating. What is your first love and is there anything you WOULDN'T try?
My first love would have to be music. I’ve been singing from an early age and I grew up listening to such greats as Sammy Davis Junior, Frank Sinatra, Matt Monro and Andy Williams.
I’m back in the studio later this year and I’m so excited.
I’m always up for a challenge so I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t have a go at.
You've got a big red double decker bus and a passport in your pocket. Where would you go, and why?
I would do exactly what Don does in the movie. Travel around the South of France in a big red bus with a group of my best pals, creating life-time memories in the sun...
Summer Holiday opens its UK tour at the Liverpool Empire from May 8-12. Tickets from the website HERE