Reviewed by Dave Smith
Directed by Brian Godfrey, Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision certainly entertained the appreciative first night audience at the Shedley.
Act 1 was a showcase of some fine talent, representing a dozen European countries in a parody of the Eurovision contest, framed in a simple television studio style set.
There were some strong performances. As the Estonian entry, the energetic Steven Lewis, Sean Hilton Daniel Knowles and Nathan Quadrio performed with precise movement and diction. Elyse Batson, Kira-Marie Laverty and Kristy Willett provided an amusing contrast as the Hungarian Molnar Sisters, who were in turns severe and jolly.
The audience, armed with flags and glow sticks, readily engaged with the Eurovision theme and cheerfully sang along with Aaron MacDonald’s funny, fog-bound Irish anthem “La La La”.
Given the fact that many people already regard Eurovision as something of a self-parody, the writers of Eurobeat set themselves a hard task in trying to further satirise it. The most successful send-up in this production was Jai Cafarella and Sophie Clark’s smoothly choreographed and well-harmonised UK entry, the punk duet “I Love To Love To love”.
Act 2 opened well with the big chorus I’m Sarajevo (Taste Me), in which the focus on the big turnip worked especially well.
The show was hosted by Boyka and Sergei played by Paula Cooney and Brendan Cooney. They were polished, funny and entertaining in the first Act but lost some focus and concentration in the more difficult second half where the countries’ scores were beamed in by video link.