REVIEW: EUROBEAT (Pleasance Grand) ★★★★
Entering a stifling, but impressive Pleasance Grand on the opening night of Eurobeat, I had more apprehension than you could wave your complimentary Vatican City flag at!
A musical based around the idea of Eurovision, set in the Republic of Moldova. Although a country with a population around the same as Manchester, it is still able to boast possession of our typical Eurovision presenters Nikolai Nikovsky and Katya Kokov, played by Steps superstar Lee Latchford-Evans and actress Rula Lenska. Their commentary of the night’s events’ is both intentionally dire, and hilarious. A typical euro presenting duo, with bad jokes, mis-timed cues and fluff-ups!
As you enter the large, perfectly suited, ‘arena-esque’ Pleasance Grand, you are met with the music, noise and atmosphere that I can only imagine you are greeted by at each years’ legitimate competition.
As we are taken through an hour and a half of new Eurovision hits, written by Craig Christie and Andrew Patterson, there is something far too pleasurable about this show. From Poland’s epic love ballad, to the annoyingly catchy ‘get your finger out of that dyke’ from the Netherlands, each song oozes the nostalgia of that mid-May Saturday night party we all love so dearly.
The cast here have talent in abundance. Each adopting various roles as they lead their ‘country’ in one song, and then return almost immediately to play a half dressed Ukrainian, a flamenco dancing Spanish love interest or something equally as absurd, yet appropriate. Whilst you have to understand your favourite performers are clearly decided upon based on how much you personally enjoy their individual song, some performances are outstanding. Particularly, Jessica Crowl as Miss Sweden, who opens the show with precision, punch and pizzazz, Cherelle Jay as a cheeky, yet perfectly suited Morocco, and Hans Rye who’s vocal gymnastics transport us through Northern Africa, all the way to a scantily clad Scandinavian in Norway.
As we approach the finish line, the audience are asked to vote for their winner, by way of a text message, with all money going to Waverley Care – a relationship which this year celebrates its 25 year anniversary between the Scottish HIV and Hepatitis C charity and the Pleasance Theatre Trust. Each evening, a different country will take the Eurovision crown, and we are of course rewarded by a reprise of the winning song.
This production feels at home here in Edinburgh. It is simply an accessible, vibrant and thoroughly entertaining evening at the theatre, that allows you to reminiscence about the good-old-days before politics took over our beloved singing competition.
Grab your flag, choose your side, and head on down to Moldova!
Reviewed by Matthew Ryan
EUROBEAT plays at the Pleasance Courtyard until 29 August 2016