Actress and singer Kate Robbins was the perfect choice for 80s pop musical Club Tropicana

Kate alongside Joe McElderry in Club Tropicana
Kate alongside Joe McElderry in Club Tropicana

Having contributed so much to ’80s pop culture, Kate Robbins is the perfect fit for Club Tropicana, a new musical set in the decade.

She spent nine years as the chief female voice artist for Spitting Image, voicing everyone from The Queen to Janet Street Porter.

Kate began the decade by representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest, finishing third alongside her sister Jane in pop group, Prima Donna.

The following year she joined the cast of Crossroads and had a No.2 hit single, More Than In Love.

She was part of a sketch show on ITV alongside her brother and three sisters, and even wrote the theme song to Surprise Surprise.

So when Kate says the ’80s was “her time”, it’s hard to disagree.

“I had a one-hit wonder when I was young which sold half-a-million and I got into acting and did more of my comedy stuff,” recalled the 60-year-old, who is mum to I’m A Celeb runner-up Emily Atack. “I had a perm to die for. Everything was massive back then – including the perm!

“We thought our shoulder pads were normal looking but you glance back at pictures and they are absolutely huge.

“I think people have these lovely memories of a time when there was no internet and when the first mobile phones were like bricks.

“Back then, if you arranged to meet someone you went out and didn’t change your mind.

“People are so flaky now, but in the ’80s if you arranged to meet someone you did, because you couldn’t text or call at the last minute.”

Kate realised she had a talent for voices while working on adverts.

“Voiceovers were lucrative and the work suited me when I had three babies,” she continued.

“Everyone secretly loved being sent up on Spitting Image.

“I met Princess Anne once. She didn’t know who I was and when I told her I was an impressionist she thought I was talking about painting.”

Club Tropicana

Kate gets the chance to perform a number of voices in Club Tropicana.

Set in a hotel of the same name, it sees a bride and groom with cold feet abandon their wedding and fly off on holiday – without realising they each booked into the same hotel.

Also starring X Factor winner Joe McElderry and former Sugababe Amelle Berrabah, the songs include pop classics such as Take On Me, The Look Of Love and Relax.

“My character is Consuela, the Spanish cleaning lady, and she’s a joy to play.

“She does impressions, so in order to make the hotel look busy she comes out in lots of different guises. Basically it’s just an excuse for me to show off!”

With her siblings all in the business, Sir Paul McCartney as a cousin and daughter Emily a successful actress, it’s no surprise that mum-of-three Kate jokes “you have to audition to get into our family”.

Kate recently appeared with John Cleese in his sitcom, the latest of her comedy heroes – which includes Victoria Wood, Peter Kay and Harry Enfield – she’s worked with.

And she’s looking forward to coming back to Edinburgh.

“I love the city and I always come up for the festival, even if I’m not working at it.

“With all the Brexit rubbish going on, people want to go out and have a laugh, and that’s what we give them with Club Tropicana.”


Club Tropicana, Edinburgh Playhouse, June 11-15

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