The lockdown and its aftereffects have hit Benidorm particularly hard – a resort reliant on tourism. Media scaremongering - both from UK tabloids and even those here in Spain do little to help the situation either. Despite being in the middle of summer, the beaches are earily quiet when they should infact be heaving.
Sadly a number of bars, restaurants and hotels still remain closed, realistically waiting until the UK´s 14 day quarantine is lifted and more tour operators and airlines start bringing holidaymakers back here. Flights that are still arriving into Alicante airport are virtually empty as a consequence.
Aqualandia and Mundomar opened, but last week regretfully announced that due to poor visitor numbers that it is unviable to remain so and therefore will be closing their doors early on Sunday 23 August. Let’s hope that they can weather the storm and be open again next year.
It almost felt like the final nail in the coffin…. but like a knight in shining armour Benidorm Palace, the jewel of our crown reopened last Friday night. It was great to see the lights of this iconic venue twinkling again after closing on March 13 – five long month ago.
Under normal circumstances the palace would change the show every year – but sadly as we all know, there is absolutely nothing normal about 2020.
Rehearsals for the new show should have started slap bang in the middle of lockdown which for obvious reasons couldn´t so a new look AQUA is running again, but with changes. Also, there are a number of new acts in between the dance routines so even if you have been lucky enough to see the show before, it is certainly no less enthralling.
From the onset, health and safety protocols are number one. Floor markers leading up to the box office to purchase or collect your tickets, hand sanitizing stations everywhere and shoe disinfection mats upon entering. There are no photographers at this time and everyone has to be masked upon entering.
You are escorted to your table, which have all been well spaced apart – it looks like every other table has been removed. Once you are sat down, you can remove your mask. All the waiters and service staff wear their masks at all times. Whenever you get up to use the facilities, or want to nip out for a cigarette, then the mask goes back on – it´s become second nature now to be perfectly honest.
The show commenced with a short video which is absolutely fantastic, starting on the first day of lockdown up until the dancers and staff were all told that the doors would be re-opening. It was so well put together and visually showed the impact of lockdown of those in the entertainment industry.
David Climent performed his stunning illusions which never fail to draw huge gasps from the audience, no matter how many times you may have seen them and the acrobatic acts always impress.
There is no audience participation this time which is usually a key feature of the show due to the restrictions on social distancing and also no photographers, who take memento shots of you and your party at the table.
Once big difference is the spectacular new technology installed during the lockdown, with mega screens behind the entire stage giving the show an entire new dimension. The changes had already been planned but under normal circumstances would have been installed gradually around the shows – this is probably the only real positive to have emerged from the lockdown.
During that time, the costume department were kept busy and made PPE equipment for frontline workers in the health serve and public sector, so a huge well done to them all.
The dancers as always were spot on… quite how after months of not rehearsing together goes to show that they are indeed first-class performers. With a cast of some 40 talented international artists, you can join them on the luxury cruise liner which sets sail from Benidorm with stops in Venice, the Nile with the Egyptian pyramids and onto New York.
Congratulations to all at the Palace for bringing life back to the resort. They are currently only opening on Friday evening and as capacity is restricted, booking is recommended.