Review: Showstoppers’ Alternative Eurovision Song Contest (online)

This weekend sees the long-awaited return of the Eurovision Song Contest after it was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But for those who just can’t wait for the events in Rotterdam, improvisation group The Showstoppers have once again come to the rescue with their Alternative Eurovision Song Contest full of music, fun, sequins and drama.

This 90-minute livestream, which was raising money for the Care Workers Charity, was once again presented by the Showstoppers’ own Pippa Evans and Andrew Pugsley (who also directed). They introduced 14 contestants hailing from countries including Austria, Russia, Italy, Iceland, Germany and Australia, who all gave memorable performances. The Alternative Eurovision Song Contest is a tongue-in-cheek love letter to the real Eurovision, poking fun at the contest, and the more quirky performances. This year’s event featured a yodelling pair from Austria, a YouTube prankster from Germany (prank!), Meatloaf’s estranged cousin and an Irish performer with a secret. Eurovision expert Tony Cordial (Philip Pellew) was once again on hand to share fascinating facts about the competition, while this year’s guest judges Rooselle (Russell) Kane, Les Dennis, London Hughes and Le Gateau Chocolate gave their opinions on the performances. The highlight of the ‘real’ Eurovision, along with the iconic performances, is of course Graham Norton’s commentary, and the Showstoppers’ contest had comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Rachel Parris taking the helm, amusing as they passed judgments on the contestants and their performances. Members of the public who donated to the charity were able to cast their votes for their favourite entry before the performers had their own say. Unlike the actual show, the results were thankfully brief and entertaining, with grudges and, of course, country politics coming to light.

The songs were just what you would expect from Eurovision, with a mix of heartfelt ballads, pop, rock and techno hits. All entertained, but some of the more memorable performances included Marti and Marta (Jonathan Ainscough and Lucy Trodd) from Austria with ‘Yo-yo-delling’; the Czech Republic’s Yana Novakovakova’s (Jordan Gray) political ‘Non-Political Happy Fun Time Song’ with an important message about the penguins; Latvia’s number ‘Fish and Chips’, a glittertastic performance from Swedish defector Hej (Justin Brett) and his love Kristina Jansons (Ali James). Melody (Grace Mouat) from Cyprus gave a dramatic performance about saving the environment while using her hairdryer as a wind machine; while there was a timely interval performance of ‘Social dis-dance’ from last year’s winner Rama Stein (Heather Urquhart). And although he wasn’t the winner on the night, Montengro’s Marco Fallatio (Adam Meggido) threatened to steal the show with ‘Pirate of Love’, a performance plagued by hilarious technical difficulties. But the highlight of the show was the final number performed by the Showstoppers crew, a particularly touching video about lockdown and ‘coming out of the darkest night’. With a message that ‘we’re going to be alright’, this song was a much-needed message of hope as we’re taking a step out of lockdown towards normality.

The Showstoppers have been working hard to keep audiences entertained over the past 14 months, and the Alternative Eurovision Song Contest is just what we need right now to keep our spirits high. With catchy numbers and spirited performances to rival the real thing, the Alternative Eurovision Song Contest is fun for all the family and well worth a watch. Twelve points!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Showstoppers’ Alternative Eurovision Song Contest is available to watch for free until 29 May 2021. To view the show visit https://showstopperthemusical.com/alternative-eurovision-2021/

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