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Russian entry kicked out of Orange showbiz event

February 28, 2022

Flags representing the Eurovision nations. Copyright: Glynn Nicholas.

By Peter Holmes

The Russian team in The Pinnacle Players' forthcoming production of SONG CONTEST - The Almost Eurovision Experience has been turfed out of the production in response to Russian president Vladimir Putin's invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

"The show is a lighthearted look at Europe and the eccentricities of certain cultures, and we couldn't in good faith include Russia in that," director Peter Young told The Orange News Examiner.

"The script portrays Russia as this playful bully, and it's too close to home; in consultation with the show's writer and company, we chose to remove Russia and add Ukraine instead."

The song the Russian entry was going to perform is Vagabonds.

A scene from another production of "SONG CONTEST - The Almost Eurovision Experience". Copyright: Glynn Nicholas.

Young said it was about "gypsy culture", was not lyrically specific to one country, and would now be given to Ukraine to perform.

Young has had to update the website for the show and is keenly awaiting a shipment of Ukrainian flags to replace the Russian flags.

[We should note that this alteration will not result in Russian people actually being ejected from Orange. The local cast of amateur performers who were to play the Russian team will now simply change allegiances and pretend to be Ukrainian.]

For the uninitiated, the Eurovision Song Contest is an annual event that throws romance; cheese; dramatic key changes; more cheese; lavish, over-the-top sets and props; absurd costumes; music often created on computers; unspeakably awful ballads; and lots more gorgonzola into a big sequined blender.

What is disgorged can be quite enjoyable, when taken with quantities of alcohol.

Orange's The Pinnacle Players are returning from a pandemic hiatus with the production.

The Norwegian entry in the musical. Copyright: Glynn Nicholas.

SONG CONTEST - The Almost Eurovision Experience was co-written by veteran theatre and comedy entertainer and actor Glynn Nicholas (Here's Humphrey, Kissing Frogs, The Big Gig, The Glynn Nicholas Show).

It's not the first time he's dabbled with this kitsch entertainment horror - he co-wrote a show titled Eurobeat - almost Eurovision that played from 2006 to 2009.

The show is described as being a cross between a musical comedy, concert and sporting event. During performances each table of attendees is assigned a team to barrack for, and can vote via smartphone (but not for their country). They are given flags to wave and applause clackers.

The Pinnacle Players' production of SONG CONTEST - The Almost Eurovision Experience is directed by Peter Young and choreographed by Monique Haigh.

Not sure what is happening here, but this is the Icelandic entry. Copyright: Glynn Nicholas.

Glynn Nicholas told The Orange News Examiner recently that smaller community theatres can afford to have more performers play the roles of the Eurovision contestants, whereas touring versions of the show are more likely to have 12-14 professional musical actors playing a number of roles each.

Young said the final weekend's performances were close to selling out, the middle weekend was selling well, and that the best seats currently available were for this weekend. performances.


SONG CONTEST - The Almost Eurovision Experience

March 4 - 19 2022

Heritage Hall, Orange Public School

Tickets on sale now via

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