Loserville

“One day every company will fear a geek in a garage,” we’re told early on in Elliot Davis and James Bourne’s Loserville. This show’s been described as “a Grease for the 21st century”, albeit with its typical US High School tale – of rich, beautiful and cool kids who humiliate the clever, nerdy uncool kids – shifted to 1971. Arguably, the most important point of Loserville is that it’s the “uncool” kids who ultimately come out on top, finding love and success by not only remaining true to themselves but also inventing Star Wars – oh, and the internet – along the way!

this particular production deserves good crowds; it’s bright, energetic and spirited, a production which sparkles with energy and some real talent.

Edinburgh-based Allegro are an amateur musical theatre society which aims to present “lesser known musicals to Edinburgh audiences”; a noble ambition, albeit not always a guarantee of sold-out performances. Yet this particular production deserves good crowds; it’s bright, energetic and spirited, a production which sparkles with energy and some real talent. While many of the characters are overt stereotypes, this cast brings them to life with some real panache.

Matt McDonagh excels as computer-nerd hero Michael Dork, attempting to find the means of enabling a network of computers to communicate with each other; physically and vocally, you feel that his shyness (particularly around girls) is physically painful. Tim Pearson as best friend Lucas Lloyd – whose novel “Galaxy Battles” might just sound a tad familiar – successfully never loses our sympathies despite the hurtful consequences of his character’s jealousy. And Rachel Aedy as new girl Holly Mason – sadly “cursed with brains and looks” – brings both stage presence and a powerful voice to proceedings.

Admittedly, this production isn’t perfect; it’s difficult not to smirk at the costumes and choreography during a scene set in a planetarium. Also, some of the casting seems slightly awry; the likes of Cameron Kirby (as arrogant jock Eddie Arch), and Andrew Halley and Matthew Cleator (as Michael’s nerdish friends Francis and Marvin) appear almost cast against type; they’re good in their roles, but something doesn’t feel quite right. On the plus side, Andrew Knox as rather dim jock Wayne and Alison Wood as über top girl Leia excel during those relatively rare moments when they’re given the audience’s attention.

To be honest, the Allegro staging is fairly basic, with abstract props and indicative flats rolled on and off in an occasionally distracting manner. When it comes to telling the story, a lot of the heavy lifting is actually down to Ross Imlach’s excellent lighting design. His bold choices when it comes to colour and layering light – for example, us seeing action further back on stage through silhouetted characters front of stage – ensure that what we see is never boring, always eye-catching and an active aspect of the narrative.

Nevertheless, with a sharp live band in the pit, some excellent singing and effective dancing on stage, you won’t be wanting a “Ticket Outta Loserville” – you’ll be wanting one to see this excellent amateur production.

Reviews by Paul Fisher Cockburn

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

The musical is set in the town of Loserville, USA, in 1971. Michael Dork, in his final year of school, has been working at Arch Industries, trying to develop a method to allow computers to communicate with each other. He is aided by his friend Lucas, who is writing a novel called Galaxy Battles.

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