By Milan Perera, Arts Critic Columnist
The perfect Mean Girls x Pitch Perfect crossover
After bagging four CARA Awards (the equivalent of Grammys in the A Cappella universe), including the Best European Album, the Bristol Suspensions are making their first Fringe appearance after a three-year-long hiatus. This long dormition has not diminished their signature high-octane energy; instead only prompted them to write a sassy and sophisticated show with generous servings of toe-tapping numbers.
Founded in 2014, the Bristol Suspensions is a University of Bristol based, mixed A Cappella ensemble that has enthralled audiences with their slick renditions of popular songs and memorable beatboxing skills. Their live shows have become spectacles. Their song arrangements are anthems bursting with unbridled energy. The choreography is a rich melange of various dance traditions, which prompts you to stand from your seat and start dancing as if no one is watching.
The pandemic-induced lockdown hit them hard as they were reduced to their immediate surroundings. Even under these trying circumstances, they kept meeting up via Zoom links in order to try new materials. But that was just a fleeting consolation as they missed audiences and their on-the-spot interactions. Their year-end show in May at the 1532 Performing Art Centre was a sold-out event which whetted their appetite for new material.
They have just pulled it off: a Fringe-worthy show which pulls all the stops. The 55-minute show is a rollercoaster ride with generous lashings of Sam Smith, Jackson 5 and Little Mix thrown in to provide a burnished sheen to an already polished show. It is a rich pastiche where The Mean Girls meets Pitch Perfect. It repletes all the petty aggression, teenage angst, and chaotic energy. No one knows what is in store for them. Beware!
Directed by Aoife Beer and Cam Brown, the 17-voice ensemble is on their way to theSpace @ Niddry Street for the most enthralling, adrenaline-surging A Cappella spectacle of the Fringe.
Speaking exclusively to Epigram, the ensemble manager, Alessia Doyle, expressed her delight to be performing at the Fringe after what seems like “an eternity.” The rehearsals were never lugubrious or intense, although the material they undertook was nothing short of daunting. Their camaraderie was infectious.
“We have had so much fun writing and rehearsing the show”, said Doyle with a glint in her eyes.
ON WEDNESDAYS WE WEAR MAROON runs at the Edinburgh Festival from 15–27 August 2022 (not 21).
Featured Image: Bristol Suspensions
For tickets to the event, please visit www.edfringe.com.