Reviewed by Shevaun Pope
For 2 and a half hours, the audience was transported from Geelong, to Belarus complete with the competing countries oversized flags hanging from the rafters of the theatre. Each audience member was welcomed into the theatre by being allocated a European team to cheer for with their very own country flag, badge and clacker… what's not to love! Accomplishing this fun transformation was none other than the iconic set up of the Eurovision stage, completely with a talent show like stage, giant screens with animations and flashy lights.
The opening number 'Beauty, Understanding, Music & Song', or 'BUMS' for short, was beautifully performed by the Belarusian ensemble and strong leading vocalist Dylan McBurney, setting the audience up for a fantastic evening. It was everything you would expect from a Eurovision opening number with giant flags, flashy lights, tight pants and dramatically daggy dance moves. Throughout the whole show the cast worked well together with beautifully balanced vocal parts and hilariously extreme accents.
The show moved quickly, led by Terri Powell playing Bettina Bitjakokov, Jocelyn Mackay playing Katarina Vogbogalov (from Slutsk) and Jeremy Withers playing Ivan Ädrinkalot who carried the show as the three hosts with cringe worthy on stage conversations, awkward moments and flashy, over the top, Versace inspired, glittery ball gowns and shiny suits. The three actors worked well together to carry out good moments of comedic timing and audience interaction. Special mention should go out to Jeremy Withers, playing Ivan Ädrinkalot, who had fantastically funny moments of improvisation and conversation with the audience which was truly a highlight within this show and further made the audience feel like we were in Belarus attending Eurovision!
The show consisted of eleven performances from countries Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Greece, Italy, Iceland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Russia and Norway. In typical Eurovision fashion, the performers varied from Celine-Dion type divas to daggy parents (sorry Poland). All performances had a unique flare to them, a highlight particularly being their outrageous and wacky costumes designed and co-ordinated by Heather Dillion and Marilyn Clarke, as well as their flashy choreography by director and choreographer Kai Mann-Robertson.
Kai Mann-Robertson used the space well through his scenes and within his choreography which although was simplistic at times was quite affective, yet also in Eurovision fashion, sometimes quite painful and awkward to watch… United Kingdom I'm looking at you. Eric Von Ahlefeldt's band strongly supported all the performances and Brenda Clarke's vocal direction was superb with beautifully blended and balanced harmonies in many of the numbers, a highlight particularly being in the songs 'Save me' and 'Beauty, Understanding, Music and Song'.
The beauty of this show was the voting system! Before intermission the audience was given a link to the Eurovision Song Contest voting website, allowing them to vote for their favourite team of the night and determining the winner for the evening. The interactive aspects of this was so engaging as an audience member and was lots of fun for the whole family, especially finding out the winner of the show live along with the performers! The use of technology within this show was completely unique and really allowed for further engagement of audience interaction.
Geelong Lyric Theatre Society's production of this show captures the essence of Eurovision in a hilariously dramatic, cringe and fun filled way which creates a perfect night out and unique experience for the whole family.