Not really a review of Loserville…
It’s undeniable that popular culture is having a geek chic period. The Big Bang Theory with its lovable geeks on television, the vast amount of superhero movies, and now Loserville, a new musical about geeks in the early 70s.
Loserville is your fairly standard jocks vs nerds story, with the ultimate message that you should be who you are and someone will love you for it. It’s hardly subtle, with a lead character named Michael Dork you can’t really expect the finer points of nerd life to come to the surface. The jokes centre around Star Trek and Star Wars jokes, with a plot thread of sending the first message between computers.
There are some really creative and exciting things in this musical, from a really cool set design that includes beginning and end credits with the names of the performers (actors and band alike), the musical numbers are catchy, the characters likeable, the choreography super tight. The show is filling a gap of silly joy left by the departure of Legally Blonde, and is a really good night out. Just don’t go to the show expecting a musical for geeks.
I admit that I am unable to remove myself from my own bias and background when watching Loserville, as someone who works in software development and admittedly a huge nerd. When presented with a story that involves development of technology, I expect it to be mostly factually accurate. When the plot came to fruition and our heroes solved the development problem, my friend (also in the industry) and I looked at each other and laughed, because it was vague at the point of ridiculous.
We were fortunate enough to attend a Q and A with the writers after the show and asked about this, and they told us the show did initially contain thoroughly researched material with regards to the plot, but it didn’t work well as a show and the decision was made to keep it simple as it didn’t really matter. I have no problem understanding that cuts are made to improve the flow of a show, but a part of me would love to see a musical with nerds that are a bit more specific than “I like coding, too”.
There’s a certain sadness seeing a show that wants to embrace the weirdos end up with characters that are mainly stereotypes we’ve seen many times before. With such a catchy and fun show that Loserville is, it’s a real shame that at the very core it fails to represent actual geeks, but instead falls back to the US teen drama/sitcom characters that are easily forgotten. It tries so hard to do more, and I must commend them for having a strong female character that at no point succumbs to the traditional “makeover” plot, but is who she wants to be without any shame. It just doesn’t entirely ring true with most of the characters.
I suppose a real geeky musical isn’t ever going to be lucrative enough to go beyond the realms of the internet (with Dr Horrible’s Singalong Blog as the prime example), but a geeky girl can always dream the impossible dream.
By Tori Jo Lau
Wednesday 17th October 2012