Along with many other businesses, Benidorm Palace has been closed since mid March. Spain’s most prestigious cabaret venue should now be unveiling their new show, Terra, for the 2020/2021 season, but Covid-19 visited Spain just as rehearsals were due to start. Terra is Spanish for ‘Earth,’ and it’s the second in the spectacular Elements series of show themes.
Show Director David Moore told Spain Life Exclusive that Benidorm Palace would be opening again with a re-run of the last year’s successful production, Aqua. That’s great news for anyone who failed to get tickets for this fabulous Costa Blanca event, which frequently sold out during its 2019/2020 run. There will be some different speciality acts, since some of the original cast are unavailable now, so even if you’ve already been to see Aqua, you may want to go back to see the changes.
The idea to run a series of shows based on the elements originally came from Joanna Climent, daughter of the venue’s owners and a pivotal member of the management team. The next show, Terra is already at an advanced stage of planning, but as rehearsals hadn’t started before lock-down, it’s not practical to stage it when the venue opens again.
Each show requires a universal theme, which people from all over the world, of all ages can identify with. There also needs to be space to work in some Spanish dance items, because people coming to Spain expect to see aspects of Spanish culture. Also, traditional Spanish dances like flamenco tell tales that everyone can relate to – tales of love, loss, and the sheer joy of living. The theme of Elements gives David lots of creative room to work with, and everyone can understand the allusions to Water, Earth, Fire and Water.
There’s another aspect to the choice of show too. It has to be marketed in a way that will make people want to come and see it, enjoy it, and tell their friends about it, to keep the audiences coming. Until the theme is decided on, David can’t get going on the creative side of things. While the management choose the speciality acts that are a regular part of every show, David has full creative licence in all other aspects of the shows.
The South African-born French citizen first appeared at Benidorm Palace as one of the acts, soon after it opened. Since 2007, when he staged the Celebration show to mark its 30th anniversary, he has remained as the Palace’s Show Director. He also produces a regular review show in France, and other shows all over the world, but he’s mainly based in Benidorm these days.
I asked David what sort of act he performed, and it turns out he was an adagio dancer. If you don’t know what that is, it has elements of ballet and is slow dancing with acrobatic movements and balancing in the mix. Sometimes he pretended to be classical, other times it was more contemporary!
So, what have the good folks at Benidorm Palace been up to while the doors were closed? Quite a lot, actually. They’ve used the time to install state-of-the-art HD television screens all around the stage. This was planned anyway, but it wouldn’t have been possible to make such a good job of it in such a short time if they had to stay open and stage shows while they were doing the work. It’s one of the rare advantages of the State of Alarm! They’ve also performed essential maintenance and improvements on costumes and scenery, to make the returning show even more spectacular.
And everyone has worked together to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for council workers, Police and hospital staff. David told me:
Everyone at Benidorm Palace is part of Benidorm. We couldn’t entertain, so we did what we could to help the people of the town. I got together with the wardrobe team and we worked on patterns for gowns and masks and just got on with it.
Next, I asked David what he felt was bad about lock-down. His immediate concern is for the artistes, who are usually physically active and love to perform and be sociable. It’s been a very difficult time for them, but one of the choreographers, who is currently based in London, has been doing regular Zoom dance classes, so they can keep in shape, and keep in touch with each other.
Aqua is based on a cruise to glamorous locations, with lots of singing, dancing and fun. David Climent, Joanne’s brother, who is also the resident Benidorm Palace magician, is the ‘Captain’ of the ship. He welcomes the passengers to Palace Cruises flagship liner before they set sail for Venice, Egypt and New York.
As you’d expect with any Benidorm Palace production, the costumes are lavish, the musical arrangements are stunning, and the running order is slick and professionally presented. The forty plus international artistes who perform in Aqua make it all look so relaxed and easy, but what else would you expect from a venue that rivals anything from Las Vegas, Broadway or London’s West End for originality, at a fraction of the price? Benidorm Palace is right up there with the best in the world, and we are lucky to have this fabulous venue right here on the Costa Blanca.