As the drums begin to roll for the only event not even Brexiteers want to miss, the Union Theatre opens its stage to this new comedy where life goes by through Eurovision galas. Guillermo Nazara gives us his thoughts on this show currently playing until the end of the month, to let us know where his 12 points go to.
Congratulations and celebrations! No, I wasn’t being cheerful – just a gentle Spaniard thinking that Cliff Richards may read this at some point… Anyway, carrying on with my kind intentions, let’s start reviewing! (awkward beat) Here comes a show about Eurovision fans, probably (I don’t know why I’ve said that) created by Eurovision fans and aimed (or at least, marketed as) at Eurovision fans. I can already hear the straight guys jumping off the boat…
Get your charts ready and your bitterness sharpened… And keep them for when you’re scrolling down Gr—… I mean, just keep them! Because this is not the show you probably expected to see – or listen to. There are no musical numbers or renditions of your festival’s favourite tunes. Eurovision may be the lead’s life purpose (ish), but it’s definitely not that important to the play. Working primarily as a framing device, we’re instead presented with a plot revolving around struggling new actors, and also their relationship with an overwhelming, bitchy, destructive -take a deep breath…- mother.
Despite its Euroskepticism, its storyline is actually quite entertaining: a lighthearted comedy where we see the evolution of these young artists as they gather each year to watch the contest’s next edition… and how the UK never makes it to the top (no hard feelings, I know how that feels like from before I was born – they made their point in the play too…). The performance does guarantee a nice small bunch of laughs, but at the same time, a great deal of dialogue needs reworking – as many of the jokes seem predictable and, way too often, rely on the overused mechanism of wordplay and double entendres (I just love it when I go hardcore…).
The tale’s development suffers from a similar problem. Though appealing (truth is I was, in fact, engaged during the whole performance), several twists seem either unnecessary or difficult to believe – as the plot is packed with too many elements that prevent us from establishing a deeper bond with the characters. Instead of caring for them, we just witness what’s their next move, which doesn’t allow them to jump off the stage and become a friend in the viewer’s hearts.
The cast does manage to deliver the script with great stamina and presence. Sometimes, a bit too well orchestrated, but still highly praisable for actors these age. They are also well guided by Adele Anderson’s theatrical maturity, showing off her elegance and subtle hilarity through her role as the “lovely mum” (to be fair, she’s adorable at some moments… some).
Nul Points does not mirror its title – it does get some recognition thanks to a well attached company and its fun, enticing story. But it’s still far away from becoming the must-see comedy it could have been. A simpler plot (as for the number of elements) and some reshaping as either a jukebox musical or play with songs would not only contribute to its improvement – it will also give their potential audiences what they are hoping for after seeing the ads. After all, the key lies in what The Producers said – just make it f*cking gay… er.
Nul Points plays at London’s Union Theatre until 20 May. Tickets are available on the following link.