Dundee University Operatic Society take the stage once again, with their dazzling production of Loserville The Musical.
Dundee Opsoc, the musical theatre society at the University of Dundee, have been putting on high quality performances on a shoestring budget for 56 years. As an avid musical theatre fan and ex-member of the society, it is an absolute pleasure to review the Opsoc show every year.
Opsoc have set high standards for themselves in recent years, with first-class performances of 9 to 5 The Musical and the European premier of Heathers The Musical under their belts. Their 2019 production, Loserville The Musical, showed the same level of flair and enthusiasm that I’ve come to expect from this talented bunch.
Loserville, written by James Bourne (of Busted) and Elliot Davis, is based loosely on the album Welcome to Loserville by Bourne’s second band Son of Dork. The story focuses on the struggle of a group of teenage geeks in the 1970s navigating their way through the pressures of high school. Fans of Busted or Son of Dork will recognise Bourne’s musical style throughout, with many of the songs having a distinct What I Go To School For feel.
The show opens with leading man Michael Dork (Ross McNeil) and his best friend Lucas (Ryan Harper) mopping the floors of technology firm, Arch Industries. They find their way into the company’s computer room, where Michael has been secretly working on a digital language that will allow computers to communicate with each other for the first time. They attempt to transfer his work onto a security device but before they can complete the transfer, an alarm sounds and they are forced to flee the premises. This sets the premise for the rest of the show: the race to computer communication.
After a strong opening chorus number (“Living in the Future Now”) we are introduced to Michael’s group of friends. All four actors perfectly capture the typical high school nerd but, special mention must go out to Justine Matthew who gives a hilarious and incredibly convincing portrayal of her male character, Francis Weir. Ryan Harper also gives a touching performance as Lucas, particularly in “Holly I’m The One”.
Of course, every high school musical needs a love interest and Loserville’s comes in the form of leading lady Holly Manson, played by Helen Hunter. Helen gives a sweet yet feisty performance, which contrasts well with Ross McNeil’s shy and awkward portrayal of Michael Dork. Their planetarium scene and rendition of “We’re Not Alone”, complete with gorgeous choreography from the featured dancers, was my favourite in Act 1.
Anyone who has seen a high school drama knows that for every group of nerds, there is group of popular kids to make their lives a misery. This show is no exception. Elayn Fraser and Rory McDowell both give superb performances as head cheerleader Leia Dawkins and arrogant jock Eddie Arch. Elayn has a seriously powerful voice and wowed the audience with her high notes in “Sick”.
However, I have to say that the ensemble absolutely stole this show. With tight harmonies and lively choreography, numbers such as “Ticket Outta Loserville”, “Slacker”, “What’s So Weird About Me” and “We’re Not Alone (Reprise)” were without a doubt the most enjoyable songs of the night.
?? ANNOUNCEMENT: OpSoc is thrilled to share with you our teaser trailer for this year's main stage production LOSERVILLE! ??Loserville, the smash-hit musical from London's West End is a blast back to 1971 and follows the lives of Michael and his friends and their break into a world-changing discovery. Through the obstacles of computer codes and harrowing love interests, will the dorks be able to get through their own life-changing stories? Or will they be stuck watching on the sidelines?Hitting Bonar Hall from the 6th to the 9th of March, tickets are on sale NOW and available at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/dundee/bonar-hall-university-of-dundee/opsoc-presents-loserville
Posted by Dundee OpSoc on Saturday, 29 December 2018