by Chris Craddock and
I fear I may be turning into a 13-year-old girl.
How else to account for my wanting to scream and whistle when the four cute boys of the band BoyGroove do their singing, dancing, pouting thing? How else to account for my wanting to go back and see this show yet a third time? I just love these boys.
A big hit on the Fringe Festival circuit since its 2003 Edmonton premiere, BoyGroove has been remounted at the Waterfront as the second show on a double-bill with the nationalist satire The Canada Show, opening tonight. What a killer double-bill this will be.
BoyGroove is a “mockumentary” in the vein of This Is Spinal Tap, tracing the rise and fall of a boy band something like The Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block or NSYNC. George Michael, Richard Simmons, a Britney Spears clone, and an Eminem-style rapper named Hypetastic also make appearances along with a dozen or so other characters, all played by the four talented and adorable actors who comprise BoyGroove.
There’s Andrew, the sensitive one (Andrew Bursey), who prays to John Lennon to help him use his celebrity to make the world a better place. There’s beautiful, gay Lance (Scott Walters), who prays to Jesus for a bigger penis “that matches my stature in the world of pop music.” John (Jon Patterson) is the angry one, the bad boy, and really cute Kevin (Matt Alden) is the great dancer.
We see how the cynical music industry types pick them, “the best our nation’s modeling schools can supply,” shape them, choreograph and orchestrate them, and provide them with a constant supply of songs, ecstasy, groupies, and banal, pseudo-journalistic, star-making publicity.
Yet we also see how talented these kids actually are, and how catchy even their insipid material can be when the whole package is put together. When they perform BoyGroove’s mega-hit, “You Make My Hips Buck, Baby,” with lines like “Get close to me, muffin/Cause then we can start stuffin’,” they are dy-no-mite, as we used to say in the generation before boy bands.
When Lance is outed as gay, the band’s fortunes collapse. They even become the subject of a homophobic Hypetastic rap video, “BoyGroove Sucks Dick.” (“No matter what you say/You can never say/That Hypetastic is gay.”)
But things turn around in a great sequence of events involving a fight between Lance and Hypetastic caught on an MTV video camera. The satire is both outrageous and utterly credible, and the performances and staging, the choreography, vocal harmonies and musical arrangements are all superb.
The mature subject matter and language of BoyGroove make it inappropriate to bring along your adolescents, although they’ve seen and heard it all. My inner 13-year-old girl will just have to stand in for them when I see this show again.