If the crowd at the preview shows is anything to go by, the answer is, emphatically, “yes”. Or maybe even “emphatically, yes”. Or possibly “yes,” but said emphatically, with a nod of the head, so that the emphasis is inferred, rather than said outright.
The story of No Limits revolves around Anita, a young Dutch shoe shop employee who falls for her boss, a young go-getter called Ray. But how will she capture the heart of her hard-working employer who seems to have no time for romance? Enter Cloggy, a mysterious wooden shoe creature who befriends Anita and sets out to help her find true love.
It’s a clichéd story, to be sure, but what brings it all together is the music. Like the Abba songs in Mamma Mia!, the Queen songs in We Will Rock You and the Wheatus songs in Teenage Dirtbag: The Musical, the sheer brilliance of 2 Unlimited’s music really does ensure a quality time for all.
Take the scene in which Anita is bemoaning Ray’s lack of social life because he’s always at the shoe shop. What better way to exemplify this than with 2 Unlimited’s excellent top ten hit Workaholic? This song had everyone dancing in the aisles, especially with its brilliant lyrics such as “Drinking drinking like an alcoholic/That guy is just a workaholic”! Why, it’s nearly as good as when Turbo D of Snap declared that rhythm was a dancer, and did so with all the seriousness of a terrible illness. Lyrics like this only come once in a lifetime.
Anita (left) and Ray, the main characters of No Limits. Cloggy not pictured.
Another excellent idea by the producers of No Limits was to have a screen behind the stage projecting the lyrics, like a giant karaoke machine. None of the viewers watching could resist joining in with Get Ready For This, and it was a joy to hear a huge hall full of people all singing along: “Are y’all ready for this?/ner ner ner neh neh neh ner ner ner ner neh neh neh ner ner ner ner/neh neh neh ner ner ner ner neh neh neh ner ner ner ner/nernernernernernerner yeah!/nernernernernernerner yeah!”
Of course, nothing is perfect, and No Limits does suffer occasionally from being a little too reliant on the songs in order to propel the story forwards. Magic Friend, one of 2 Unlimited’s least popular hits, seems to be the only reason why Cloggy is in the show at all. Also, an entire scene in which Anita finds herself trapped in a strange world where catchy European pop music doesn’t exist is only there so the producers can fit in the song Twilight Zone. But then, who am I to gripe, if the alternative is no appearance by this excellent piece of music? All together now! “This is the Twilight Zone/And you’re not on your own/Gonna take you to the Twilight Zone!” Hooray!
Oh, and just in case you were worried, the eponymous world-wide smash hit for which 2 Unlimited are most famous – No Limits – does appear in the show. Did you really think they’d leave it out? No, no. No, no, no, no. No, no, no, no. No, no. There’s no effing way they’d leave it out.
In summary, then, No Limits – The 2 Unlimited Musical is the best musical I’ve ever seen based around the songs of a much missed Europop band of the 90s. Well, not counting Pump up the Jam! The Technotronic Musical and The Culture Beat Beat Beats on: Featuring Mr Vain and all the Rest of Culture Beat’s Hits in the Form of a Stage Play Set to Music with the Songs Related (Sometimes Spuriously) to the Events Occurring in the Story. But then, those two musicals really are the benchmark for 90s dance-influenced musicals.
No Limits: The 2 Unlimited Musical begins December 1st at the Glasgow McUpChuck Theatre. Tickets are white, with black writing. The first 20 customers receive a free baby.