Friday, 5 September 2008

REVISIT: "Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision" / "The Harder They Come"

Last night was first preview in the West End for Eurobeat: Almost Eurovision. The RZ already reviewed this show from its touring run a few months ago, and his opinion is pretty similar. The songs are still what you’d expect from a camp-fest, and while one character’s nationality has been changed from Estonian to Polish, little else is different short of an all-too-occasional ad-lib regarding contemporary issues such as the Olympics. Unfortunately, touring to a series of half-empty houses has taken its toll on the cast, and the comedy wasn’t quite as sharp as it was back in Wimbledon nor were the songs as tight, as though everybody expects the laughs to hit regardless (they did, but not consistently). With luck some good reviews will come in from the press and the tour will play out, but the RZ suspects that everybody is coming to work under the threat of being on borrowed time.

And, speaking of borrowed time, The Harder They Come closes next week at the Playhouse, and the RZ is making his mandatory return visits as this one already toured and is likely to end its life-span here. It’s still excellent stuff, if not a bit slower and more mournful than before, but the shift in tone works and the RZ had the good fortune of catching Matthew J Henry covering as main character Ivan.

In short: Two shows worth making a last-chance effort to catch, and two of the cheapest shows in the West End to attend, even before discounts, which are available in abundance.

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