Thursday, 18 May 2006

Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision, May 18, 2006

Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision 
by Craig Christie and Andrew Patterson by Glynn Nicholas Group
Where and When: The Palms, Crown Casino, from May 18, 2006
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on May 18, 2006

If you have never seen the Eurovision Song Contest, its parody, Eurobeat, directed by Glynn Nicholas, will still tickle your pop song nerve.

Eurovision is as notable for its screaming failures as for its few successes. For 51 years, Eurovision spawned trashy Euro-Pop songs, the most famous being ABBA’s Waterloo.

The real Eurovision is a sparkling calendar item for the cool set that celebrates Eurovision parties annually.

It is difficult to parody an event that is already so over-the-top absurd but Eurobeat does it with panache – and lots of lycra.

Most of the twelve Eurobeat songs are better than the contenders in the real contest. Twelve countries are represented on stage while flag wavers support them in the audience.

A highlight of this “spangly show” is Julia Zemiro as Bronya, one of two cheesy Bosnian hosts. Zemiro, swathed in a ridiculously pink, sequined gown, grins and poses as Bronya, Bosnia’s top pop and television starlet. Zemiro’s wit, energy, throaty accent and faux glamour maintain the hype for the entire evening.

Jason Geary, playing her dim-witted, smirking co-host, Sergei, is a perfect foil for Bronya with his quirky English language malapropisms and sexual innuendo.

The script (Craig Christie, Andrew Patterson), originally written for a pub show in 2004, crackles with satirical Eurovision references and glib jokes about Bosnia’s lack of sophistication.

But it is the songs that make our little Eurovision fans’ hearts tremble with delight.

They encapsulate core Eurovision principles: meaningless pop lyrics, power ballads, lycra, lame’ and sequins, key changes, superfluous choreography, kaleidoscopic lighting, trashy stage design, excruciating lyrics, camp dancing boys, big hair, folkloric touches, lots of teeth and, oh joy of joys, the alarming costume reveal.

Winner on opening night, Greece, had it all. Singing “Oh Aphrodite,” Zoe Ventoura’s Nana Mouskouri clone transforms into the sex goddess herself when her brown caftan is torn off to reveal a skimpy, white vestal virgin outfit.

Russia’s KGBoyz, a white lycra boy band, sang Ice Queen, with bump and grind and plenty of pouting.

The UK duo was wildly clumsy and Estonia’s sexually explicit, boot-scooting gay cowboys tickled the audience. Hungary’s folkloric Magyar song was a hit. Iceland parodied Bjork while Lichtenstein’s post-modern Plastic Bertrands didn’t even sing.

Ireland got lost in a fog of dry ice, France blended food with classical mime and Germany sang about beer. Sweden’s answer to ABBA just sang ”The Same Old Song.”

Get the tele warmed to watch the real Eurovision on May21 - then go see Eurobeat. It is a hoot.

By Kate Herbert

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