The energy at The Alex Theatre to open Song Contest is unlike any I have ever felt before at a new musical, and is somewhat indescribable. On entering the theatre, you will be assigned your home country for your “Eurovision” style voting, and handed a flag and a clacker which you are strongly encouraged to use to make some noise, as loudly and as often as you like. The crowd have packed the house and proceed across the show to cheer, heckle, clap and dance along, waving flags proudly, cheering for their favourite competitors and engaging on a level not seen in a traditional musical format.
Song Contest nails the comedy, glamour and drama of Eurovision, being both the perfect piss-take and homage to the glorious European spectacle. It has everything we love, hate and love to hate, and Australian’s have been proven to be massive Eurovision fans over the years.
The show has gone all out on the technology, from a diverse and customizable projection and digital display to the app and website allowing for live voting to be completed during the show, it fits in well with the spectacle of the whole thing and allows an additional layer for the audience to continue to engage on.
The set and stage management makes great use of the Alex Theatre’s boxy stage set up, with its sturdy and glittering set creating multiple levels and cut outs in the stage and wings. Richard Jeziorny’s set and costumes have more sequins, glitter and fabulous flair than Mardi Gras,
My votes on the night went to Russia, Sweden and Iceland, and in particular to stand out cast members Dion Alexander and Bev Killick, who never miss a beat with their often improvised comedic timing. The entire cast of 14 is incredibly talented performers with wide backgrounds and credentials in Australasian musical theatre and the arts, so it’s no wonder that each performer commands the stage with grace, energy and poise.
The energetic choreography by Jason Coleman (Ministry of Dance) and bright bubbly voices, both bursting with energy, are a delight to behold and a feat of pure talent, almost exhausting to watch but so very entertaining. Special mentions also need to go to Italy and Germany for capturing the truly “what the” feeling we get when watching Eurovision as a non-European nation, but also capturing the more bizarre but beautiful performances we love so much.
Music by Dare Music is the smorgasbord of European inspired pop hits, from the ever catchy half time entertainment number for Belarus, to cheeky songs like Russia’s Vagabonds, music and lyrics are well thought out and executed by all involved. The only niggling part to it is that the show gets so big sometimes that we lose a few words here and there in the mix, but it’s unavoidable in a show this big and loud and proud.
Utterly hilarious and cringe worthy is spot on for this musical, this laugh out loud musical gem plays at The Alex Theatre for four weeks only.
For more information and tickets: http://www.songcontest-musical.com/