Loserville follows the story of Michael Dork (Luke Newton) and his friends who are about to change the world… but nobody knows it yet. Michael is on the brink of something that could change the computing world, but will girls, Star Trek and their arch nemesis Eddie (Lewis Bradley) get in the way?
Here’s some background of the musical Loserville: Busted’s James Bourne formed a band named Son Of Dork back in 2006, and they released their first album Welcome to Loserville. Bourne then joined forces with composer Elliot Davies and created Loserville for Youth Music Theatre UK; it transferred to the West Yorkshire Playhouse and eventually had a West End run. Now it has been revived at the Union Theatre, marking the directorial début for actor Michael Burgen.
Loserville sparked a huge debate when it first headed into London, but all the criticisms aside it seems like the musical has found its home in a smaller venue. Not having the glitz really has its advantages, and the gimmicky cardboard computers and videotape props only make the show more lovable. Being a show that has clearly found influences in cult classics (even paying homage to Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy, who passed away on press night), it is only fitting that it works well with a smaller audience, feeling like our own great little secret.
The show does have its teething problems. Sound issues aside (which can be forgiven within a show’s first week) it seems like the show is not created for a smaller venue. The main cast is 11 strong, while the ensemble is eight, meaning that 19 people are on stage at one time. It could have easily done with a cut in a couple of places because at times it feels claustrophobic. But if overcrowding is the only issue this production has, then I will take that any day.
While everybody plays their parts well, we have to give special mention to our four nerds on stage. Newton’s Michael Dork embodies a character somewhere between Jim Carrey and Michael Cera and clearly understands what the source material is looking for. The most lovable out of the bunch is Jordan Fox as Lucas Lloyd, the strongest vocally, who brings some of the show’s most genuine moments (and my personal highlight with the song ‘Holly, I’m The One’). Lastly our dynamic nerd duo Francis and Marvin (Sandy Grigelis and Matthew Harvey) give the American-based musical its clichéd nerdy virgin gags and animated over-the-top moments. While the cast are incredible, the nerds do prevail in the end.
Overall Loserville is a happy-go-lucky musical from beginning to end, and you will leave the show with a big grin on your face. It is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but we need to appreciate this production for bringing original work to the stage. Embrace your inner nerd and go see this little gem.
Loserville is playing at the Union Theatre until 21 March. For more information and tickets, see the Union Theatre website. Photo by Darren Bell