Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Review: Loserville at the Union Theatre

Union Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 27th March 2015

Back in 2012 I fell in love with Elliot Davis and James Bourne's musical Loserville when it transferred to the West End following its premiere at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Sadly the show closed after several months, but now the Union Theatre have revived it as part of their British Musicals season.

Following a group of geeks as they attempt to send the world's very first email, Loserville features an incredibly catchy and memorable score with a gentle pop/rock vibe (think Busted/McFly). Marking his directorial debut, Michael Burgen's new production fully embraces the show's wacky style; it is joyfully silly but still has heart.

Luke Newton leads the cast as Michael Dork, performing with charisma. Newton is certainly one to watch, a few little details in his performance really reminded me of Gavin Creel who Newton previously understudied in The Book of Mormon. His vocals are smooth and, most importantly, he has fun with the role.

Another of the evening's strongest performances comes from Jordan Fox as Lucas Lloyd. Fox's mannerisms are hysterical and his vocals are also incredibly smooth. The ensemble perform full out and fully embrace what the show is all about. I was blown away by Matt Krzan's choreography which fully utilises the intimacy of the Union Theatre; I forgot I was in such a small venue.

I was gutted that a Loserville West End cast album was never made and couldn't wait to hear the score again, but sadly as the band often drowned out the cast I couldn't always hear the songs properly. It was a shame that so many lyrics were lost, I often complain when mics are used in such intimate theatres, but perhaps for this production they are necessary. The highlight of the evening is 'Don't Let Them Bring You Down' which is performed acoustically with just a guitar; it is heavenly.

The pace tended to dip occasionally, particularly during the opening sequence which seemed a little clunky. Several technical issues are also holding this production back and the bad levels aren't ideal. It's a shame, but perhaps the production just needs a little longer to settle and find its feet. Nevertheless, I still adore Loserville and am thrilled to see it back in London! I may have to pop back later in the run to catch it again.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Loserville runs at the Union Theatre until Saturday 21st March 2015.
Please visit www.uniontheatre.biz for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Darren Bell

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