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A CurtainUp London London Review

Women will never talk to us Geeks, Nerds. "Michael
Ensemble in Loserville (Photo: Tristram Kenton)
Loserville is a new British musical designed to appeal to the High School Musical generation but without the massive clout of the television series will it find its junior public? The music is pleasing, light rock and the voice over of the opening scene reminded me of Starlight Express. Billed as the musical about geeks, it has a good heart and exactly the kind of ethics we would like to convey to our young. Written by Eliot Davis a young and prolific musical writer in conjunction with songwriter and founder member of Busted, James Bourne.

Set at the dawn of the internet when computers filled whole rooms computer fans Michael Dork (Aaron Sidwell) and his friend Lucas Lloyd (Richard Lowe) are at high school. The vain pretty girls are attracted to the sportsmen jocks led by “perfect me” Eddie Arch (Stewart Clarke) whose father owns the local computer company. Holly Manson (Eliza Hope Bennett) has the reverse problem, a pretty blonde with a stunning figure she wants to be respected for her intellect, appreciated for herself rather than sex pestered by boys. When she moves to a different school, she dons a serious pair of glasses and dresses in a more frumpy style and meets fellow computer fan Michael Dork. That is all you need to know about the plot which sees Holly and Michael working on email communication between computers in 1971.

I was blown away by the originality of the low tech design. Using pre computer and mobile phone sources, spiral notepads and pencils cleverly improvise the set. Binary calculations fill the stage. Giant flip charts are held by the cast and flicked over to provide the door to the principal’s office or the bus stop. The originality and the slick changeovers are pleasing. The design is colourful and brash. When one character is threatened with the army, the uniforms are provided by the boards below chin level.

There is comedy from the two other “geeks” Marvin Camden (Daniel Buckley) and Francis Weir (Lil’ Chris) as well as Lucas’ embryonic novel he’s writing with inspirational characters based on word plays of the characters from Star Wars. You will learn how he was inspired to name C3PO and Obi Wan Kenobi. In the scene set in the Planetarium it is laser lit and giant pencils are used in the choreography.

I liked the way the arrogance and self confidence of the body beautiful are mercilessly ribbed. Most of the cast have been with the show since its inception and a summer run at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. The principals act and sing well but the plot gets rather incredible when Holly is poached for Arch Industries. There are pretty ballads as love songs and lots of more upbeat gentle rock, with good melodies. The advertising bill boards are equating Loserville with Glee and Grease but I think Loserville will be most at home with the school age audience. The night I went I could see junior geeks having been brought by grandparents having a great time and the applause was resounding.

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by Eliot Davis and James Bourne
Directed by Steven Dexter

Choreography by Nick Winston
Starring: Aaron Sidwell, Eliza Hope Bennett, Charlotte Harwood, Stewart Clarke, Richard Lowe, Daniel Buckley, Lil’ Chris
With: Jade Albertsen, Sophia Ayers, Laura Bennett, Robbie Boyle, Matthew Bradley, Daniel Buckley, Olly Buxton, Andrew Carthy, Segun Fawolw, Freya Field, Nathan Graham, Daniel Hall, Lauren Hall, Ollie Hannifan, Dan Krikler, Duncan Leighton, Ashley Luke Lloyd, Megan Louch, Heather Scott-Martin, Andy Shaw, Shane Walsh, Sarah Watson, Witney White
Set: Francis O’Connor
Costume: Francis O’Connor and Stephen Snell
Musical Supervision, Orchestration and Additional Music: Martin Lowe
Sound: Simon Baker
Lighting: Howard Harrison
Musical Direction: Jim Henson
Additional Orchestrations: Elliot Davis and James Bourne
Running time: Two hours 10 minutes including one interval
Box Office: 0844 482 9673
Booking to 26th January 2013
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on October 18th 2012 performance at The Garrick, 2 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0HH (Tube: Leicester Square, Charing Cross)
Musical Numbers
Act One
  • Living In The Future Now
  • Don’t Let ‘Em Bring You Down
  • The Little Things (Pre-Reprise
  • Brains and Looks
  • Slacker
  • Brains and Looks (Reprise
  • The Little Things
  • Slacker (Reprise)
  • We’re Not Alone
  • Ticket Outta Loserville
Act Two
    • We’re Not Alone (Reprise)
    • Holly I’m the One
    • Long Run
    • What’s So Weird About Me?
    • Holly I’m the One (Reprise)
    • Sick
    • Genius
    • Slacker Finale
London Theatre Walks

Peter Ackroyd's  History of London: The Biography

London Sketchbook

tales from shakespeare
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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Our Review

©Copyright 2012, Elyse Sommer.
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