CapellaJuice describe their show as a ‘clothes-based musical revue’. I’ve not scanned the entire Fringe programme, but I’m going to make the wild assumption that that’s a genre of one. Indeed, after watching the show, I’m still not absolutely sure which section of the programme I’d stick this in, although Musicals & Operas wouldn’t be my first choice.
The six-strong group open their set motionless and dressed in skin-tight black. One of their number proceeds to put hats on the other five and they spring into life with an a cappella version of You Can Leave Your Hat On. So commences a strangely original mix of sketch comedy and music.
The ‘clothes-based’ aspect of this show soon becomes apparent. Each sketch brings a new brace of mufti from the dressing-up box, providing a theme and then sometimes-cringeworthy link to the song that follows. Umbrellas lead to the Friends theme tune; Sagger gear leads to Skater Boy; Bras to You Raise Me Up. Yup, the last one gives you a pretty good feel for the humour. It may not be sophisticated, but it raised a titter (see, now even I’m joining in).
Some of the sketches were more successful than others. Postman Pat and Bob The Builder was probably their funniest, if a little over-milked. Overall though, the comic side of their show lacked direction and suffice to say these guys are much better singers than they are actors. Highlights of their musical talents included a beautifully harmonic version of The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond, although at times I felt the six voices didn’t have quite enough texture to do some of their numbers justice when half the troupe were also beatboxing.
Comic sketches providing a segue between a cappella songs is a new one on me and I’m not sure it entirely works. CappellaJuice should be applauded for trying something bravely original in the vocal orchestra space, but could probably use better material to really make this stuff sing.