Wednesday, 26 November 2008

No Limits: The 2 Unlimited Musical

Fresh from the success of Mamma Mia! - the film of the show of the song of the thing Italian stereotypes say – comes No Limits: The 2 Unlimited Musical. With a story penned by Alice Munro and featuring the Europop band’s biggest hits, there can be no doubt that this comes with a great amount of expectation. But will it succeed?

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.


Red said...

It can't be worse than Mamma Mia!

Clippy Mat said...

"tickets are white, with black writing."
that line alone is worth the 20bucks you charged me to leave a comment here.

words...words...words... said...

I've been looking for a tasteful show to take my grandmother to, and I need look no more! This will tide us over until the release of Macarena And Cheese, the musical based on the ouvre of Los Del Rio.

Distributorcap said...

i cant wait for the movie using the music of Barry Manilow or Debbie Gibson

BeckEye said...

Wait, how did I miss that Teenage Dirtbag musical?

Oh, I think I had tickets to Iron Maiden that night.

Unknown said...

At the risk of being purient...

Teenage Dirtbag inevitably reminds me of the time I was invited to a Royal Marines ball and they all got their kit off to the eponymous track. From then on in I've not been able to hear it without the image of tackle bouncing up and down in time to the music.

Not quite sure how you can work that into a crowd pleasing show (indeed should you want to...)

Gwen said...

It was the threat of the free baby that kept me away from the theater.

Dale said...

This baby, are the eyes still blue?

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

Red: Really? Isn't it the biggest selling film ever, or something? Yeah, it's probably crap.

Clippy Mat: Don't tell everyone! I gave you a special deal!

WWW: That sounds pretty damn sweet. "Didn't want him/couldn't stand him/he was no good so I....[laughter]"

DCap: Or both!

Beckeye: I see what you did there! Damn, you're good!

GP: I'd pay to see that...

Gwen & Dale: If you want a baby so badly, well...I'm just sayin'...