Good evening, Eurovision fans. And what a show I have to review for you tonight.
Who doesn't love Eurovision? If you don't count down the days to it each year, arrange your entire calendar around it and make it the social event of the year, well... then you're not me. For all of its camp ridiculousness, the joy it creates is definitely much needed given these currrent times where joy is so much harder to find. Ahead of the return of Eurovision later this month, a new virtual show has been created in its honour, celebrating the very best, and yes, the very worst of the show. I give you Eurobeat!
Already gathering a cult following, Eurobeat - The Pride of Europe has been revised from its original West End run to this new online production featuring new songs and new dialogue. Held together brilliantly by David O Reilly's Marlene Cabana, a glamorous mistress of Ceremonies with a wig for every occasion and isn't too dissimilar to a Drag Jane McDonald, this sets the tone perfectly for what is about to unfold over the next 75 minutes.
Like a slimmed down Eurovision, in Eurobeat 10 countries perform for their right to be crowned the winner. The entries explore every type of offering Eurovision is prone to seeing - from overly emotional ballads, nonsensical lyrics, unnecessary and reletless key changes, a lot of sparkle and some very weird performance choices with some subtle (and not so subtle) nods to past Eurovision entries. One thing that often gets overlooked with the madness of Eurovision is how brilliant some of the songs actually are (I'm not including the UK's entries in recent years obviously). This is no different for Eurobeat. With songs written by Craig Christie, the songs are consistently fantastic whether they verge on the more hilarious or serious side of things. All of the songs present in this are better than half of the entries for this years contest!
The performers feature a who's who from the world of musical theatre and TV. The United Kingdom feature television sweetheart Tom Read-Wilson team up with sitcom legend Harriet Thorpe for an overly dramatic 'Why don't you love me' - brilliant in itself, but like the real contest, the UK has no place being at the top of the board when so many better entries are around.
Highlights include the always incredible Aisha Jawando killing it once again representing Switzerland for 'Tick Tock', Drag Race UK star Tia Kofi emphasisting the suggestiveness of 'Bang Me' in an Ofcom complaint worthy performance, Claudia Kariuki coming straight out of Sister Act representing the Vatican City, Christine Allado channelling her best Loreen to represent Sweden and Sooz Kempner's hilariously titled 'Listen' which gets increasingly harder to follow with crazy lyrics.
Special mentions go to the terribly outdated but total earworm 'Diddly Dee' and Scott Paige forming the ultimate double act with Andy Coxon for the completely over the top 'We're the Vikings'. With such brilliant performers and performances, it was definitely hard to pick a favourite - however my favourite performance of the night had to be Joanne Clifton and George Olney's hilarious 'This is how I dance' with such enthusiasm anyone would think they were being held at gunpoint to perform it.
As well as genuinely brilliant and hilarious songs, the dialogue holding the show together is just as hilarious - with the obligatory references to Brexit and social distancing, my favourite line of the night had to be "Grab your towels and come together" - if that doesn't sum up Eurovision, I don't know what does. Andy Coxon also gets a brilliant character of Boring Sven - far more interesting than the real life equivalent.
Filmed at the Clapham Grand, Eurobeat does a great job of not just making you yearn for Eurovision but for theatre as well. Brilliantly produced, it takes you on an immersive journey really making you feel like you are actually there. The immersiveness continues with the genius touch of allowing you to vote for your favourite performance. 10 different endings have been filmed and the results show will be sent out to everybody who votes later this month. What a brilliant and inspired touch!
Hilariously funny and brilliantly perfomed, Eurobeat won't fail to put a smile on your face. If you're not a fan of Eurovision, sit back and enjoy the fantastic songs on show. This will please lovers of Eurovision, musicals and comedy alike. If you don't like any of those, what the Hell are you doing here? The perfect tonic for a difficult year, Eurobeat is not only the Pride of Europe but the Pride of online theatre as well.
And the scores from All That Dazzles are...
Douze points (That's ★★★★★ obviously)
EUROBEAT – THE PRIDE OF EUROPE is streaming on https://www.stream.theatre/season/85 until 10 May 2021.
For more information, see https://www.fw-live.com/eurobeat-home
Still need convincing? Here's the trailer: