Loserville is the new musical opening at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, created by Elliot Davis and James Bourne (of Busted and Son of Dork). Set in 1971, it tells the story of computer geek Michael Dork as he sets out to crack communication between computers while falling in love.
The show has an interesting aesthetic, with a metal frame set complemented by boards carried by the ensemble. While distracting at first, this technique was often used effectively to represent everything from a house to a QWERTY keyboard. All the cast gave enthusiastic performances, but while Gareth Gates’ casting has been used to pull in audiences it is Aaron Sidwell as Michael, Eliza Hope Bennett as Holly and Lil’ Chris as Francis whose performances stand out.
The production aims at a wide target audience, from teenage fans of Gareth Gates to those who remember the ‘70s, and the night I went there was a variety of people in the audience. While the musical would be entertaining enough for anyone I think that it will probably be most appreciated by those who were a fan of the Busted/ Son of Dork music of the early noughties. You can certainly tell that the music is by an ex-member of Busted, and roughly half of the songs are taken from the album Welcome to Loserville by Bourne’s band Son of Dork. While cheesy the songs are easy to listen to, and have been growing on me since I saw it (partly due to the fact that I haven’t been able to get them out of my head for the last couple of days).
This is Bourne’s first venture into writing for theatre, accompanied by veteran Davis, and while Loserville is not ground-breaking it has a certain charm about it. I only saw this at a preview, but it definitely has potential.