Book, Music and Lyrics: Craig Christie
Director: Max Bex Roberts
Due to be hosted last year in Rotterdam, The Eurovision Song Contest was one of the many casualties of event cancellations in 2020. After the decision to cancel was announced, fans took to the internet in droves to express their disappointment; and for the extra dedicated, their depression.
Enter Eurobeat – The Pride of Europe, the perfect antidote to fill the gaping void left by the cancelled Eurovision 2020. The West End show has been thrilling audiences since 2008 and has now been adapted for online viewing due to the current circumstances.
The fictional show is set in the host country, Liechtenstein. The MC, Marlene Cabana ( David O’ Reilly) kicks off the show with a song, setting the tone for the kitsch extravaganza ahead. Marlene Cabana is a pleasure to watch throughout the show, appearing between the acts with multiple costume changes and witty gags with just the right levels of crudeness and political commentary.
A select group of countries participate in this online take on Eurovision; Sweden, Ireland, Switzerland, UK, Lithuania, Ukraine, Portugal, Vatican City, Romania and Norway. A notable mention goes to Astrid Lungstromberg of Sweden with her rendition of Semaphore of Love which appears to pay homage to Sweden’s real life winning song from 2012. Swathed in blue glitter, Astrid begins her performance in a subdued manner before launching into an upbeat combination of power vocals and pop beats, much like Loreen’s winning 2012 performance of Euphoria.
The array of characters and their performances are a joy to watch. There is the Irish ex-boybander with dubious Irish dancing skills and Ukraine’s entry, Antichka, performing a suggestive rendition of Bang Me, complete with tassels and leopard print. Not to be forgotten, is the most bizarre duet ever witnessed from a chartered account and Viking from Norway… In parallel with the real Eurovision competition, the show sways between the more ‘serious’ singers and the downright bonkers, keeping the audience entertained from beginning to end.
The show plays on the common tropes of Eurovision, which gives the show a nostalgic, familiar quality. The show includes subtle references that only die-hard Eurovision fans would notice. For example, one of the rules implemented during Eurovision history, is the rule that songs must be in the entry country’s main language. Some countries used a loophole, entering songs that were in gibberish. During the show, this idea is played with in the entries from Ireland and Romania with excellent comedic effect.
In a creative twist, the audience is required to vote online for their favourite act post-show. The cast will film 10 alternative endings and a special results show will be available for streaming from 14-18 May. This interactive idea and element of suspense is a positive addition to the audience experience.
Real life fans of Eurovision will delight in this show, but the rest may find it to be too niche. One thing for sure, super fan or not, is that you will have at least 3 of the songs stuck in your head for days after watching.
Available here until 9 May 2021