It’s 1971 and a group of high school computer geeks are on the verge of discovering both a technological breakthrough destined to change the world and, equally as importantly, girls. That’s if the unscrupulous jocks and vacuous “mean girls” don’t scupper their plans first.
Loserville is billed as an original new musical which is perhaps true in content if not in form. It’s a well-trod story and every standard musical and high school coming-of-age convention is fastidiously adhered to, often to a highly facile level; popularity is represented by great hair and a Letterman jacket, ugliness is defined by wearing glasses and ill-fitting trousers.
However, Loserville is not pretending to be something it isn’t. It has a very assured sense of self and makes absolutely no apologies for it. From the outset the production is a tidal-wave of kinetic energy. No matter how hard you may try to swim against the tide eventually you’re going to be swept away by the sheer force of the wave. Every time I started tiring of the Glee-style clichés my cynicism was ambushed by a ridiculously catchy song or high-octane dance number.
Here-in lies Loserville’s great strength. The infectious, if somewhat anachronistic, songs of Elliot Davis and James Bourne are great and each one is hit out of the park by the tireless and perfectly cast ensemble who are clearly relishing every moment of being on stage.
Ultimately, Loserville is one of those annoying shows which are almost impossible to review objectively. It’s like being mugged by Rolf Harris, you have a suspicion something bad might be happening but its so much fun that you just don’t care.
Loserville runs at the West Yorkshire Playhouse until 14 July.