Your country needs you!

All heart: Emma Townend and Adam Walker fly the flat for the UK in Eurobeat
All heart: Emma Townend and Adam Walker fly the flat for the UK in Eurobeat

“Danny Boyle, eat your heart out”, murmured a spectator as a parade of flags formed a whirling kaleidoscope of colour.

The opening carnival didn’t quite measure up to Olympic proportions of extravagance and expenditure but it was a triumph of teamwork and imagination.

The Iceland entry, in which Sue Claydon channels Bjork and Lady Gaga.

The Iceland entry, in which Sue Claydon channels Bjork and Lady Gaga.

Performers appeared from behind flags as if by magic to dazzle with dynamic dancing, spurred on by whooping, hollering, cheering spectators waving flags and rattling clackers.

Noisy, funny, unpredictable, this week’s production of Eurobeat Almost Eurovision at Sheffeld’s University Drama Studio is every bit as good as watching the real deal.

Splinters Theatre Company must have blown the equivalent of several students’ budgets for the year on the weird and wonderful costumes. Glittering headdresses and feathers for Hungary’s contestants, circus outfits for the weird German entry and an eye-catching collection of gowns for the contest’s glamorous hostess.

Chesterfield’s Mark Harris, who directs the show, has put together a winning cast which defies the audience not to play a game of spot the looky-likey. Italy’s entry resembles Britney Spears, Poland’s is a dead ringer for 70s porn star Ron Jeremy, minus the flab, and the Greek contestant is Nina Mouskouri channelling a foxy Aphrodite.

Antoniia Gallagher and backing dancers portray the Italian entry for Eurobeat

Antoniia Gallagher and backing dancers portray the Italian entry for Eurobeat

Everything which Eurovision fans hold dear is there - the big reveal where performers whip off clothes covering skimpy outfits, the out-of-tune, out of step contestants, the language barriers and technical difficulties at results time….not to mention the sobbing, snogging and spoiling for scraps which is relayed via camera to spectators from the backstage Green Room.

Company newcomers Laura and Gareth are superb in their roles of cheesy comperes, the frisson and friction flowing between them is enough to power up the whole of Sheffield. She lights up the stage with her megawatt smile, Shirley Bassey-style gowns and convincing foreign accent, he’s like a young Peter Kay in a colourful checked suit.dispensing enough cheese to put Edam makers out of business.

Ireland won the competition last night, September 20, after contestant Ronan Corr worked his Blarney on spectators and bribed them with spuds.

My vote saved Hungary from gaining nul points as they languished at the bottom of the leader board.

Eurobeat

Eurobeat

Who will win tonight and tomorrow? Best get down to Sheffield’s University Drama Studio where your country needs you…just don’t forget to take your mobile phone to vote.

GAY BOLTON