I am a self-confessed Eurovision geek! The annual contest is almost like a religious ceremony to me. So, I jumped at the chance to watch the Alternative Eurovision Song Contest by The Showstoppers.
Given that social distancing is still part of our daily lives, the entire production was filmed according to the guidelines. With some of the contests taking part from their bedrooms. Clearly it is a challenge to produce any kind of show when the cast are not all physically in the same location, but The Showstoppers did a wonderful job.
The show had a mixture of live and pre-recorded segments, which slotted together brilliantly. A few things here and there would have made it even better – but nothing that would distract from the enjoyment of the show as a whole.
I think it’s fair to say that although this is called the ‘Alternative Eurovision Song Contest’, it does have a very British feel to it. The humour is subtle and at times some of the performances from the individual countries did rely on stereotypes.
Our hosts for the evening were Andrew Evans and Pippa Evans – who had a very canny resemblance to Clare Balding, not just in appearance but in her presentation too. However, both did a great job of keeping the show moving.
Much like the real Eurovision, we were treated to a live commentary in the form of Marcus Brigstocke and Rachel Parris. Given the names I had high expectations here, they were satisfactory but never really gave me belly laughs.
The acts themselves were the highlight of the show for me. While some of them did rely on stereotypes, most of them were very creative and managed to mix the two. The performers from Ireland and Italy seemed to rely on stereotypes more than the others.
In total there were 14 entrants, plus an interval performance from last year’s winner (Rama Stein – Germany). Unfortunately, I can’t mention them all in the space of this review. However, all did a great job and it was clear a lot of work went into each performance.
The contest got underway with Marti and Marta from Austria, with their song Yo-Yo-Delling, played by Lucy Todd and Jonanthan Ainscough. The song began with some traditional Austrian sounds that wouldn’t be out of place in The Sound of Music. However, they soon broke out into rappers while still managing to keep the Austrian characters, and completed the performances using actual yo-yos as props. A great start to the show.
My personal favourite was Montenegro’s Marco Fallatio, with his song Pirate of Love (or should I say Parrot of Love?). The performance was aiming to be all slick and modern by using voice recognition technology to display images of the lyrics Marco was singing. As you can imagine this didn’t go to plan and provided some laugh out loud moments.
The show has everything you want for a night in – laughs, naff music and questionable costumes. It was very clear that the performers had a great time putting the show together. They also managed to raise over £2000 for The Care Workers Charity, which is a fantastic achievement in itself.
If anyone would like to watch the show, it can be accessed by visiting https://showstopperthemusical.com/alternative-eurovision-2021
Reviewer: Brian Madden
Reviewed: 15th May 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★
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