The Eurovision Song Contest is one of those must-see Saturday evenings on the television calendar. The voting is dubious, the songs are mainly awful and the costumes usually represent a country so stereotypically, that you usually die laughing as you quaff your pizza and pass round your pineapple and cheese sticks.
Thank heavens for Terry Wogan, your sardonic host who guides you through the good, the bad and the downright ugly. But now you can also thank Craig Christie & Andrew Patterson, the writers of the hilarious new spoof musical, Eurobeat for capturing the sheer lunacy of this crazy competition.
As soon as you see Wogan on video introducing the show, you are in, ready to wave your flag, cheer on your assigned country and wallow in the zany spectacle that awaits you. Your hosts for the evening are Boyka (Mel Giedroyc) and Sergei (Gareth Hale). In typical Eurovision style, these two think that they are bigger than the event itself and they have sly digs at the acts as they exit.
Highlights of the show include Iceland’s entry, a Bjork-alike singing “Love Ballad #3a” which is incredibly accurate and very funny, the United Kingdom with our usual dated love song called: “I Love To Love To Love (Love)” and a Nana Mouskouri-esque mousey singer from Greece who has some hidden secrets. Not to mention Ireland’s Ronan Corr who gets overwhelmed by the smoke effects as he sings his Johnny Logan style ballad, “La La La.”
What about the controversial neighbourly voting? Well, you get the chance to vote for your favourites, but as any Eurovision fan knows, you cannot vote for your own country. Before the votes are counted, you also get to see what musical artistry Sarajevo has to offer in the form of Boyka, dressed as a turnip, surrounded by camp dancers!
As, you can probably tell, this show is a complete blast. It helps if you are a Eurovision addict, but there is much to enjoy here even if you haven’t sat through the delights of the oddest show on the box.
Giedroyc is fabulous, capturing the diva within the hostess perfectly. Hale does not look quite as comfortable but he is very game and looks like he is having fun. The hard working cast play a multitude of roles, changing costumes, wigs and accents at the speed of light, getting it right each and every time.
Scott Garnham is excellent as a Russian boyband member and as Ireland’s clumsy balladeer, Ronan Corr. Likewise, Kay Murphy is wonderful as the Greek contestant with a Bucks Fizz style reveal.
But, the whole cast are brilliant as they encourage the audience to have fun with this thin, but highly enjoyable concept. Sure, the lack of a huge cast, complete with backing dancers is a missed opportunity at times.
But by sticking to its fringe roots, Eurobeat remains small but perfectly formed.
It’s worth seeing in Salford, Bradford, Bromley, Newcastle, Milton Keynes and Brighton for the glorious Giedroyc, alone.