UK: The Musicians' Union has criticised the use of recorded music in West End show Eurobeat, writes David Davies. According to the MU, the production - now running at London's Novello Theatre - breaches an agreement with the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) that explicitly forbids the use of recorded music as a substitute for live musicians without the prior permission of the MU. The controversy follows the organisation's similar campaign earlier this year concerning another West End production, Peter Pan el Musical (read here).
Promoted as "a hilarious musical spoof of the Eurovision Song Contest", Eurobeat recently transferred to the Novello in the wake of a successful Edinburgh run last year. Starring Les Dennis and Mel Giedroyc, with original songs by Craig Christie and Andrew Patterson, the show has received generally positive reviews - in sharp contrast to Peter Pan el Musical, which was berated for its "mind-boggling awfulness" in a memorable Guardian critique.
Although the production does involve live vocals, the MU says that the use of backing tracks conflicts with the terms of its SOLT agreement.
Diane Baxter, the MU's national organiser for live performance and teaching, tells PSN-e: "The MU has already expressed its disappointment at the use of recorded music in Eurobeat. The problem in this instance is that the proper procedure was not followed and so we were unable to come to an agreement with the production company. We will therefore follow the issue up through the correct channels, by talking to SOLT and the theatre. The vast majority of theatres and productions play by the rules, and we cannot allow a minority to endanger the tradition of live music in the West End."