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. Set in Sarajevo, the show is hosted by eccentric duo Boyka, a former Olympic pole-vaulting champion, lifestyle programme hostess and cabaret performer, and children’s TV presenter Sergei.
The production is currently on a 17-venue regional tour, starring a rota of celebrity guest stars including Les Dennis (pictured), Mel and Sue’s Mel Giedroyc, Hale and Pace’s Gareth Hale, Coronation Street’s Sally Lindsay, leather kilt-wearing comedian Craig Hill and Heartbeat’s Billy Pearce. Dennis and Giedroyc will play the competition's Bosnian hosts Boyka and Sergei in the West End.
The show, written by Craig Christie and Andrew Patterson, premiered at last summer’s Edinburgh Fringe, where it won Best Musical Production in the inaugural Musical Theatre Awards (See News, 24 Aug 2007). It was inspired by songwriter Christie's ineligibility to write a song for the real contest, due to his Australian origin.
The tour opened on 19 April 2008 at the New Wimbledon Theatre and is in Belfast this week. It continues to Salford, Bradford, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Norwich, Newcastle, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Brighton, Southampton and Aberdeen, where the tour concludes on 23 August. The musical also recently confirmed a limited international run in Korea, in tandem with the UK tour.
Currently at the Novello, another previous Edinburgh Fringe hit, hip-hop dance extravaganza Into the Hoods, has extended its schedule through the summer and is taking bookings through to 30 August (See News, 15 Apr 2008).
- by Theo Bosanquet