A confession right at the beginning – I am a bit of a Eurovision fan. As in, I’ve travelled to Europe to be in the audience for the final four times in six years. One of which was in Azerbaijan. I’ll wait while you Google it. So I was always either going to gush over a Eurovision parody show like a love-struck teenager or hate it with the fire of a thousand suns.

Spoiler alert: it’s the first one.

The show opens with a sequined dance routine to a medley of Eurovision hits which really gets the crowd amped up, and features just enough Eurovision references to keep the trainspotters amongst us happy (dancing ape anyone?). We’re then joined on stage by our brilliant hosts, Heidi and Christos, together with former host Uri “live” from Portugal. I need to say here that Heidi’s gown is the most amazing Eurovision outfit I have ever seen, and I have seen Conchita Wurst’s winning dress (in a glass cabinet in Vienna, but still). For Eurovision tragics, even at this point the show is already worthwhile, and it’s barely started.

Given that so many fantastic performers are in Adelaide for the Fringe, many of whom include song and dance acts in their shows, it was inspired to think of putting on what amounts to a live karaoke contest featuring an assortment of what’s on offer. To an extent, any of these “guest appearance” shows are only as good as the acts that are available and can be persuaded to perform, but given the embarrassment of riches in town right now that was never going to be a problem. That said, the acts that present their songs every night in their own shows are a different class to the “one night only” performances, but they were all entertaining, even if you sometimes scratched your head about how their national allegiances were allocated.

A unique treat were the postcards introducing each country, naturally via interpretive dance. It was great to see that Mark had his own story arc this year, as he is a special talent. His introduction for Greece, in particular, was eerily similar to most of the Greek Eurovision acts I have seen since about 2009 (think silver pom-poms and lots of groin thrusting).

The Vagabond was an ideal venue for the show, meaning everyone had a great view with no bad seats. It’s also one of the bigger venues in the Garden, though, and these performers deserved for it to be fuller than it was. Admittedly, to avoid clashes with the performers’ other shows, Eurowision is on pretty late, but you’d have hoped more of Adelaide could have made an effort for a one-off show the day before a public holiday.

So, for all the excitement and sparkle of being at Eurovision, without the experience of having to constantly produce your passport to paramilitary police officers in a former Soviet republic who are freaking out at the tsunami of Europe’s most flamboyant gay music fans taking over their country while ticket scalpers make brisk trade in the confusion, Eurowision is hard to beat. Much like many a Eurovision winner’s career, it’s gone after one brief night, but make sure you get along next time; you won’t regret it.

Five Stars

Fringe Review by Peter Caporaso