A ticket out of loserville – that is the ultimate goal for the lovable cast of characters of Elliot Davies and James Bourne’s fun-filled and energetic musical, brought to life by the company of Stafford Gatehouse Theatre’s Summer School. Instead of conforming and fitting into the clichéd stereotypes of a typical US high school, in the vain and hopeless pursuit of girls, the only way out of Loserville is through acceptance of who you are.
The story revolves around a young group of computer nerds who are trying to change the world – specifically by inventing the internet. Despite the fact that they are shunned at school, they are essentially happy in their own bubble of programming, Star Trek, and coming up with the script for a certain other space-based entertainment franchise. Their world is turned upside down, however, when Holly (Cassie Curno) walks into their life, who has both brains and looks. Obviously, both the young programmer Michael Dork (Charlie Bishop) and would-be Star Wars creator Lucas Lloyd (Sam Simkin) fall hopelessly in love with her, despite being best friends. Despite the nervousness and tension around her, they allow her to join their project as they work to complete what Michael started at the nefarious Arch Industries.
They are on the brink of completing their project when the heir to Arch Industries, Eddie (Thomas Oakes) instigates a scheme to steal the credit for himself, using Lucas’s jealousy and writing ambitions to drive a wedge between Holly and Michael and steal their work, whilst blackmailing Holly to fill in the missing pieces and finally invent the internet. Little does he know, that Holly has been scheming from the start and has engineered the whole situation. Flushed with their success, the geeks now find themselves the most popular kids in school with everyone trying to emulate them. They have well and truly left Loserville for good.
This production is very much led from the front with some outstanding performances by the principals. Charlie Bishop as Michael was innocent and sweet yet brimming with youthful energy in equal measure and commanded the stage well. Cassie Curno had depth beyond her years, as well as spot-on vocals throughout. Sam Simkin was both hysterically funny yet gave a heartfelt performance, especially during Holly, I’m the One. The supporting characters were all excellent as well. Thomas Oakes was the perfect spoilt brat, and had wonderful chemistry with his cronies. The other 2 geeks in the show, Marvin (Josh Labron) and Francis (Gus Espinosa) were wonderful Trekkies and Lucy Palmer also shone as the ditsy Elaine.
The huge chorus was also used to excellent effect and at no point did it feel as if anyone was being shoehorned in. The dance corps created some beautiful moments, telling the story using beads of light which looked stunning. My personal highlight was the joy on each and every one of their faces as they bopped and bounced from one number to the next.
Packed with really catchy tunes and riotous dance routines, Loserville is a fantastic night out – get yourself a ticket whilst you can. Loserville runs from Wednesday 10 August until Saturday 13 August at the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.
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