The production opens this month at London’s New Wimbledon Theatre where it launches a four-month, 17-venue regional tour on 15 April 2008 ahead of a West End transfer. On tour, the musical is fronted by a rota of celebrity guest presenters: Les Dennis, Mel and Sue’s Mel Giedroyc (who appear in Wimbledon), Hale and Pace’s Gareth Hale, Coronation Street’s Sally Lindsay (pictured together), leather kilt-wearing comedian Craig Hill and Heartbeat’s Billy Pearce.
Songwriter Craig Christie was inspired to write the musical after being denied the chance to write an entry for the Eurovision Song Contest because he lives in Australia. Hailed as the world’s first interactive musical, Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision assigns audience members to one of ten competing countries and, as with the real Eurovision, invites them to vote for their favourite contestants via text message.
Former Olympic pole-vaulting champion, lifestyle programme hostess and cabaret performer Boyka (played on tour, depending on venue, by Giedroyc or Lindsay) and children’s TV presenter Sergei (played, depending on venue, by Dennis, Hale, Hill or Pearce) host the competition in sunny, safe, secure Sarajevo. One after another, the contestants do all that they can to win the love and the votes of the audience (some of them will stop at nothing) and, while the votes are being tallied, marvel at the half-time entertainment spectacular as Boyka captivates the audience with her moving rendition of “I’m Sarajevo…Taste Me!”
The Australian-originated interactive pop comedy won Best Musical Production in the inaugural Musical Theatre Awards at last summer’s Edinburgh Fringe (See News, 24 Aug 2007). It’s written by Craig Christie and Andrew Patterson and presented in the UK by Glynn Nicholas Group, the Touring Partnership and Michael Watt Productions in association with No Mates Productions.
Following Wimbledon, Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision will tour to Glasgow, Cardiff, Stoke-on-Trent, Belfast, Salford, Bradford, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Norwich, Bromley, Newcastle, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Brighton and Southampton. No date or venue has yet been announced for the West End transfer.
- by Terri Paddock