by Milan Perera , Critic Columnist
There is the box-standard A Cappella and there is the Bristol Suspensions. It was only few months ago that they bagged four CARA awards (equivalent of the Grammys in the A Cappella universe) including the coveted Best European album, the Bristol Suspensions are definitely not resting on their laurels as they penned Fringe-worthy musical routine which sold out each performance during its first week. The second week was no different as I was queued along Niddry Road, outside theSpace, the people behind me were turned away as the show was sold out again.
Written by Emily Hall with contributions from Rosa Witts, Madeleine Morgan and Nathan Cave, the storyline is guaranteed to warm the cockles of the hearts of both Mean Girls and Pitch Perfect fans. The curious amalgamation of Mean Girls and Pitch Perfect works a treat as the school-yard passive aggression, scheming, double crossings and riff-offs were deftly captured in this 50 minute routine which is brimming with unbridled energy. It features song arrangements of Jackson 5, Bruno Mars and N Sync as you have never seen or heard before. The beatboxing skills of Ben Morris and Oscar Andrusier slick and sophisticated. It is not all about belting out numbers either. The poignant rendition of If You Don’t Live Forever by Ben Platt brought the audience to a stunned silence as the silky soprano line of Madeleine Morgan was embellished with a humming chorus by the rest of the ensemble.
The choreography devised by Mikey Galvin and Ryan Blyth was sassy, sensational and genuinely funny. The interaction between the ensemble and the audience was immediate and spontaneous where they joined the action with rhythmic clapping. The riff-off between the Beatboxers and the Pitchers was so fierce that you could not put a Rizla paper between the two. To workout the winner they were compelled for a sing off of favourite childhood numbers, Eurovision songs and showstopper hits of the Bristol Suspensions. You will be the jury. You decide the winner.
The direction of Aoife Beer and Cam Browne has been nothing short of extraordinary as the final product of the seminal idea was polished into a glistening sheen. The change of numbers is seamless and beautifully woven into the storyline without the slightest whiff of foisted upon.
Speaking to Epigram after the performance, Alessia Doyle, the ensemble manager, said that the group could not be any happier as months of blood, sweat and tears were given their due reward. If you happen to at the Fringe, miss this at your own peril.
Check out The Bristol Suspension's music here:
Featured Image: Milan Perera
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