Eurobeat

By John Nathan, September 12, 2008
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Novello Theatre, London WC2

There is no accounting for taste. Not only has this trashy Eurovision song contest show become a touring hit, but, on the night I saw it, Poland, easily the best act, came fourth. Eurovision Song Contest addicts are used to the whiff of corruption and scandal, but the sheer injustice of Toomas Jerker & the Hard Pole Dancers failing to win the worst music competition on earth is an affront to democracy.

The bands in this funny spoof may be fake, but the votes - by text message sent by the audience - are real. This is the only show in London where the public are instructed to keep their mobile phones on. Set in Sarajevo, our hosts are the gold lamé clad Boyka (Mel Gierdroyc) and Les Dennis's Sergie. She looks like the Statue of Liberty, he like Liberty's pimp uncle.

You would think it impossible to spoof something as ridiculous as Eurovision. But Australian writers Craig Christie and Andrew Patterson hit their easy target with a fair degree of wit, and Giedroyc and Dennis have down pat the oily narcissism of small-country celebs. Like the real thing, Eurobeat loses its charm as the show stumbles to its voting climax, which on this night saw Ireland win with La La La. It's just not right.

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    Last updated: 4:17pm, September 11 2008