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Eccentronic presents: Neurovision
Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013

Promotional Image

3 stars

Laughing Horse @ The Quadrant (venue website)
10-12, 17-18, 24-27 May, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 World Premiere.
 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

Imagine trendy musical parodists Frisky and Mannish, dressed in gold lamé trousers and unfashionable purple shirts, playing the theremin, singing songs which are mostly about public transit systems, and throwing crazy shapes while standing on a windowsill. You still haven’t come close to imagining the stark-staring-bonkers world of Neurovision. It’s bizarre, it’s chaotic and I still have my doubts about whether it’s actually any good; but I laughed my way solidly through the whole 60 minutes, and I laughed for entirely the right reasons.

The wafer-thin premise of Eccentronic’s two-handed show is that they’re composing a guaranteed British Eurovision winner, by mashing together classic Continental hits with their somewhat-idiosyncratic perspective on our sceptred isle.  So, for example, there’s a version of Autobahn dedicated to the Croydon Tramlink.  You now get the idea.  The whole show is basically just variations of that one joke, with hand-made props and dodgy puns and lots and lots of glitter.

But, you know, it’s fun.  It’s fun because we all get flags to wave.  It’s fun because, halfway through, they crack out a game of Twister.  Most of all, it’s fun because the male half of the act descends from the stage to roam the back of the room – which does mean a lot of wriggling around in your seat, but lends the show an upbeat, energetic vibe, a sense that there’s madness all around you.

It’s not entirely without subtlety.  There’s a surprisingly erudite tone to a lot of the banter between the tunes, and I enjoyed the one unexpectedly downbeat number, which addressed genuine questions of national identity through the medium of Eurovision lyrics.  But I felt that a few of the gags peaked too soon, leaving the song itself seeming like an afterthought, and – despite cracking out the party poppers – the whole show doesn’t quite manage to end on a high note.

Plus, they can’t really sing.  And they keep vanishing behind the curtains to push buttons on their laptop.  And there was a really long bit with some puppets which I absolutely didn’t understand, though I realised halfway through that I was giggling maniacally anyway.

Make no mistake, a lot of Neurovision is firmly into so-bad-it’s-good territory – entirely deliberately so – and for much of the hour I was battling against a stentorian inner voice, telling me in no uncertain terms that I should definitely know better than to be enjoying this kind of thing at all.  But I was defeated, you won the war.  It’s not quite douze points – but it’s a cheery thumbs-up from the FringeGuru jury.

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