Benidorm Palce. For a first class night out you cannot beat Benidorm Palace – it was been voted Europe´s best cabaret theatre and nightclub for 2012, even beating the likes of Moulin Rogue in Paris! It is probably the most visited attraction in Benidorm and you are guaranteed a night to remember. The show changes every year and the new one, which was launched in May is called “Nostalgia“.
But did you know that the Palace is owned by an ex-pat? Christine Climent, who together with her Spanish husband Vicente bought and took over the place on 1st August 1990 – still a memorable date for her. Originally from Widnes, she came on a weeks family holiday back in 1971and it was then that she met Vicente for the first time. At the time he was playing in a band at what was the Hotel Catalonia where they were staying… now better know as the Sol Pelicanos and the location for the ITV comedy series “Benidorm”. She went back to the UK after her holiday, handed in a months notice and came back to Benidorm!
When they took over it was more of a Show & Champagne bar – they kept the show that was on for a further 6 weeks, until they learnt the ropes and spent a huge amount renovating and adding kitchens to turn it into a dinner and show venue, making it what it is now.
The 1800 seater venue has also hosted many galas and events over the years. Among one in the early days was the Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nereyev, who Christine said was rather “demanding”, Julio Inglesias various comedians but the most memorable for her was the artiste Danny La Rue – who made his last public appearance at Benidorm Palace before passing away.
So what can you expect from a night at the Palace – certainly an unforgettable experience. You have 2 options – go for the full experience and have a meal first or you can just go for the show. Doors open at 8.30pm and there is always a queue of people waiting to get it. For those coming to watch the show only arrive a little later. You have your photograph taken in the beautifully revamped foyer and my advice is take the opportunity to dress up for the occasion – most people do but I always think it a shame when you see some going very casually dressed wearing football tops.. .they do look rather out of place in the plush surroundings.
The spectacular show starts a little after 10pm when the lights are dimmed and the stage bursts into a rainbow of colour as the dancers come out. The show is fast paced and continuous, interspersed with acts for approximately the first hour. The biggest applause when it come to the acts must be to “Golden Design” … a group of 3 strong men sprayed gold and performing the most mind blowing routine, all in slow motion to music… almost everyone watches open mouthed.
There is then a half hour break when the resident band and singer come out and the dance floor soon fills with people having a dance. The second part of the show is just as fast paced, with numerous costume changes. There is a good mix of traditional Spanish flamenco and modern dance and of course the popular topless girls with colourful feathers – it is all very tastefully done and suitable for children so don´t worry about taking them. The props are just as fabulous as the costumes and its amazing how they always come up with totally original ideas for every show.
David Moore,the artistic and creative director, whose production company tailor makes the shows for the Palace has a wealth of experience in staging massive productions like this, having worked in many of Europe´s prestigious entertainment venues such as the Lido in Amsterdam, Casino de Paris and the Royal Palace in Strasbourg.
In total there are 28 dancers – a mix of Spanish, Russian, British and Belgian. It is up to the 4 choreographers to bring them all together in a coherent and organised fashion, which can be a real challenge for them as well as for the dancers, as they are very diverse! The key to a successful show is to have something for everyone and to come up with new and original ideas. You have to stir the imagination and arouse the curiosity to create a new audience, and once again they have most certainly succeeded. You will not be disappointed – it is 3 hours of sheer creative brilliance