There are too many ‘Jukebox Musicals’ and ‘This Film had a Great Soundtrack, Let’s Make it a Musical’ Musicals in the West End for my liking. So you can imagine how excited I was to hear about a brand new musical that I didn’t recognise to be a movie first: ‘Loserville’! Then I found out it is based on an album: ‘Welcome to Loserville’ by Son of Dork. I’d only heard the one song: ‘Ticket Outta Loserville’, so I decided I could go and be ignorant to the forcing of songs to form a narrative in a number of productions I’d seen that shall remain nameless. MAMMA MIA and WE WILL ROCK YOU. Ahem.
Unfortunately, the show was delayed by half an hour, which I was quite thankfully for as works on the tube had really messed by my precision planned journey. I did what most single people at the theatre do (which doesn’t happen a lot as it’s rather pathetic), I avoided eye contact and read my programme. I was delighted to hear that Busted and Son of Dork member and co-writer, James Bourne and co-writer, Elliot Davis, only used five songs from the album, allowing the narrative to come through first and writing new songs if it was necessary. I wanted to hug them! A narrative driven musical in 2012?! 3.30pm came and I was ready, optimistic and more importantly, very fucking excited. (Excuse my French).
The story is simple, the race for the first email which takes place in a magical land called 1971. The design brings back nostalgic memories of teen movies of the 1970s and 1980s such as ‘Grease’. It opens with credits, the first time I’ve seen an actor named in any place other than the programme. The credits also give a hint to the understated spectacle of the set. The floor and moveable walls are computer chips and circuits, while the props are made of pencils and paper. Bringing these two juxtaposed images crashing together to create one glorious nerdy hiding away.
This musical is so hot, it’s cool. The 2010’s (Teenies? Naughties?) is the decade of the nerd! Geeks reign supreme left, right and centre, and ‘Loserville’ is the perfect, sweet, funny musical for the ‘Glee’ underdog generation. Although this culture of people may not venture to the theatre, they should. ‘Loserville’, as the poster boasts, is a game changer. It looks to bring in a younger audience in a theatre land dominated by, in my humble opinion, dated concepts and movies.
The reason the show was delayed was due to the disposition of Aaron Sidwell, who was to play the lead of Michael Dork. As is practise in theatre, a whole ladder of actors was bumped up and Michael Dork was to be played by Robbie Boyle. The fact he was an understudy was not evident, the whole ensemble are a tour de force. From small humble beginnings, each member is equally talented and driven, and that was my favourite thing about the credits idea, every member of the cast were named and given their moment. Even the band behind the Perspex dressed up and joined in at the beginning of act two which resembled the inside of Ziggy Stardust’s head.
James Bourne. Elliot Davis. These are names that should not be forgotten in a hurry. Both taking credit for book, music and lyrics, they have created something that the West End has been craving for a long time, or what I have been craving. A musical full of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek’ references, that I totally get by the way. A musical full of undermining bullies and redemption. A musical full of playful melodies and epic air guitar opportunities. Needless to say, I brought the Son of Dork album when I got home and ask in anguish: Where’s the ‘Loserville’ soundtrack? I wanna sing ‘What’s so Weird About Me?’ at the top of my voice in my car!