ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp London Review
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.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.