A light-hearted musical about sci-fi geeks in the ‘70s, Loserville is upbeat and yet at times incredibly touching, as we see the difficulty of maintaining friendships and romantic relationships when at the bottom of the social ladder. Michael Dork is obsessed with computers, and has been working secretly for two years on the problem of communicating between two different terminals – once he gets banned from the school computer room, the only thing for it is to ask new girl Holly, who claims to know computer code, to help him. As Michael and Holly get closer, as well as becoming more absorbed in their work, we see the cracks begin to appear in Michael’s relationship with his best friend, while the most popular guy in school schemes to get Holly’s brains for himself.
The back wall of the stage was covered in drawings and equations, which conveyed the high-school setting nicely, while two small blackboards set into the wall were used to indicate the changing scenes, keeping the mood light throughout the evening. The props were also basic, mostly consisting of boxes with rough pictures drawn onto them (such as a walkie-talkie or floppy discs) – again, this worked nicely, maintaining the light-heartedness at the very centre of this show. The playful choreography was often used to reinforce the comedy element, and the cubes that stood in for chairs, desks, computers and so on were put to creative use, keeping the production lively. The singing was strong throughout, although sadly often drowned out by the music – a disadvantage of staging musicals in smaller theatres.
Luke Newton’s Michael Dork was a perfect mix of shy and charming, getting every audience member to root for him early on in the evening, while Jordan Fox gave a great performance as the neglected and jealous best friend. Lewis Bradley’s Eddie Arch was wonderfully smug, oozing wealth, and his two cronies, played by Ryan Ridley and Charlie Kendall, were hilarious throughout the show. With top-notch acting, singing and dancing, this production of Loserville is riotous fun, reminding us of the pains of adolescence, quoting more Star Trek than you would have thought possible, and reminding you above all that sometimes, it pays to be a slacker.