Neurovision

Rarely do you come across a show that is so bad, it’s good. A description of Eurovision itself perhaps, but for now we’re just talking about Neurovision – ‘Eurovision for brain surgeons’. What exactly this means is anyone’s guess and whether it is a success or not is also up for debate. However, somehow none of this matters.

Eccentronic hails from Croydon and is composed of electronic music producer John Callaghan and singer and Theremin (1920’s electronic non-touch instrument) player, Ms Hypnotique. Popular on the Brighton cabaret circuit, the duo has previously performed at the Fringe with We Won’t Rock You. An anthem also appropriate for this year’s show.

Amazingly, there is a plot. Our hosts have written several ‘songs’ (in the loosest of terms) which they offer to us, the audience, as potential UK entries in the Eurovision Song Contest. In the interests of national harmony and world peace, the songs have been chosen to represent different regional interests, in styles which will appeal (!) to different Eurovision countries. Unfortunately, not only are the songs terrible, the regional interests (the Croydon tram service, people from the Midlands, the Common European Currency and something faintly amusing about Wales) fall a bit flat on the crowd. Again, this doesn’t really seem to matter.

The performance is very much like something put together at the last minute in Callaghan’s back room. Whether this is deliberate or not is anyone’s guess. Nothing quite goes to plan, there’s a lot of horsing about, the games fall flat and the voting is lacklustre. The props are another thing altogether. On stage are a spectacular set of things one might find languishing in a dusty trunk in someone’s attic somewhere. A sort of linear Twister game on a crumpled plastic sheet, some hand-made flags (complete with bad handwriting on the back, such that audience members can’t actually read out what’s written) sellotaped to well-chewed straws, two ugly dolls that are caricatures of themselves. Even the costumes look like they’ve been in a dressing up box for years, with Ms Hypnotique wearing shoes three sizes too big for her.

What makes it good, is the simple fact that Callaghan simply doesn’t seem to care whether the show is any good or not and is completely oblivious to audience awe or apathy (it was difficult to tell which). While Ms Hypnotique tries to add some glam and sensibility to the performance, expertly playing the Theremin, Callaghan doesn’t even attempt to be professional. From telling the audience beforehand what to expect in the show, to commenting on what’s gone wrong, he’s simply enjoying himself doesn’t care if we do or not. It’s the kind of show you wouldn’t admit to enjoying. And nobody does. But, be assured, you’ll be talking about it afterwards. A great, terrible, mind-boggling 100% Fringe show – and it’s all absolutely free. Though it’s probably better if you’ve had a few beforehand.

Reviews by Carolyn Mckerracher

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Performances

The Blurb

Electro-comedy duo Eccentronic enters Eurovision. It's boom-bang-a-bang to world peace, avant-garde Eurodisco and award-worthy theremin and musical mash-ups from ABBA to Kraftwerk via Croydon Tram. Unleash the Neurovision hit machine! 'Warp Records version of Frisky and Mannish' **** (TimeOut.com).

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