Eurobeat (Wellington College)

I’ve been lucky enough to see Eurobeat twice before. The first time, a friend of mine was over from Ireland for a few days, and we were sitting drinking in the Pleasance courtyard when we were accosted by a leafleter. Fairly well oiled, and both Eurovision fans, it didn’t take much to persuade us to give this Eurovision spoof a go. And we loved it. I loved it so much I went back to see it again at the Festival theatre, with more or less the same professional cast. Today’s show was an amateur production, and what it lacked in polish it made up for in enthusiasm and effort.

Eurobeat is a spoof/pastiche/parody of Eurovision. I am a devoted Eurovision fan – I love the naffess, the kitsch, the terribly political voting, the whole thing. But my-sun-and-stars  came with me to this today, and he is absolutely not a Eurovision fan, and he really liked it too. The show proceeds as if it was the actual Eurovision song contest, in Sarajevo, hosted by the glamorous Boyka and slightly creepy Sergei. A number of countries take part – Poland, Italy, Germany, Royaume-Uni, Russia, Hungary, Sweden, Ireland, Greece – performing their songs, and then there’s an interval while the audience get to vote by text for their favourite, and the hosts perform the traditional Eurovision voting entertainment (in this case, a song about a turnip). The professional version has Iceland as well, but Fringe shows are limited for time and so Iceland were missing today.

Writers Craig Christie and Andrew Patterson are geniuses. SRSLY. The Eurobeat songs are such brilliant pastiches that they could almost be genuine entries. Russian boyband, Irish crooner singing “lalalalalala,” terrible UK entry, surreal German Kraftwerk-pop, Hungarian folk song about killing a chicken and eating its entrails, Swedish ABBA rip-off with a piano line ripped straight from Waterloo – it’s all perfect.

Eurobeat has quite a small cast, maybe 20 or so, so they take turns being singers and dancers for each of the countries. They have to work hard, learning several songs and interpretive dance routines each. The couple doing the UK song probably have one of the easiest jobs as going slightly off-key is just part of the act. This cast manage the songs well, although the dancing could be better, and the sound mix sometimes drowns the singing out with the music. After the songs comes the voting. Tonight Ireland won, but on both the previous times I saw it, Poland won.

If you love Eurovision for its own sake, or you enjoy laughing at it for its awfulness, then Eurobeat is worth a look. This wasn’t the best production of Eurobeat I’ve ever seen, but it was still utterly enjoyable and a whole lot of fun. 6.5/10

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