Eurobeat is atrocious. Gaudy staging; garish costumes; stilted dialogue. Each song more excruciating than the last. Frivolous and forgettable. Which makes it uncannily like watching the real Eurovision. And loads of fun as a result.
Eurobeat is less a piece of musical theatre, more an immersive life experience. Resistance is entirely futile.
The audience is handed the flag of their newly-adopted European nation on entering the theatre, along with an obnoxious clapping device, and instructed to cheer like the contest depends on it. And it really does – the audience votes on their mobile phones, votes are tallied on stage (complete with Eurovision-style painfully funny ‘live’ crosses to each country) and a winner is declared.
On opening night that was the “funkadelic” four-piece Russian boy band KGBoyz, crotch-grabbing their way to victory with their annoyingly infectious pop hit ‘Ice Queen’.
“She’s the Ice Queen and she tore me apart / She’s the Ice Queen and she’s frozen my heart / She’s the Ice Queen – she is beautiful and cold (so cold) / She’s the Ice Queen and I’m covered in frost / Oh, Ice Queen – now I know all is lost…”
Sexual innuendo and culture cringe abounds, from flamboyant Pol Toomas Jerker and the Hard Pole Boys singing the homoerotic ‘Together Again’; Iceland’s Bjork-inspired whack-job Gert Brollmersdetter and the truly bizarre ‘Love Ballad #3a’; the “post-industrial, post-post-modernist” minimalist German trio Nepotism and their lyric-less think-piece ‘Be-Bop for Veronda’); and the nothing-like-ABBA Swedish band AVLA’s inventive ‘Same Old Song’ (“It’s a brand new day but it’s the same old song / As soon as it begins you have to sing along…”). Colin Lane, he of Lano and Woodley fame, even made a special guest appearance (Wilbur Wilde and Glenn Shorrock will perform on other nights) as Irish crooner Ronan Corr with the homesick hymn ‘La La La’.
You get the idea…
Eurovision is a pop-cultural cult ripe for the picking, and writers Craig Christie and Andrew Patterson barely miss a target. It’s relentlessly silly stuff, but much more clever than it could have otherwise been. The choreography (designed by Natalie K Marsland) is simply hilarious, the songs awfully perfect and the enthusiastic cast of local talent is terrific.
Comedy veteran Glynn Nicholas directs a tight show after just a fortnight of rehearsals, and as Bosnian heartthrob Sergei is one half of the hysterically awkward hosting team. But Rhonda Burchmore just about steals the show (or at least her indefinitely long, shapely legs do), hamming it up as the “face of modern Bosnia-Herzegovina” Boyka. (This goddess from Sarajevo apparently hosts national current affairs show ‘Some Of What Happened Today’ and popular lifestyle program ‘If Only You Could Afford This’ – spend the $5 on the program, which is just as hilarious as the show itself). Watching Nicholas and Burchmore murder the English language is a treat.
If you love Eurovision, go and see Eurobeat. Go and see it if you hate Eurovision, too. Whether you laugh with it or at it, either way I defy you not to have fun.
QPAC in association with Eurobeat International & No Mates Productions presents
Venue: Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Cultural Centre, South Bank
Dates: 25 November to 5 December
Times: Thu 26 Nov + 3 Dec 7.30pm, Fri 27 Nov + 4 Dec 7.30pm, Sat 28 Nov + 5 Dec 1.30 + 7.30pm
Tickets: $69 - $39
Bookings: www.qpac.com.au or 136 246