Patience is a virtue: this proverb was particularly fitting during this afternoon of a cappella hosted by all-female a cappella group In The Pink from the University of Oxford. Everything about this set improved from start to finish: the beat-boxing, the choreography, the blend, the soloists - the list goes on.
This is not to say that the first half of their set was weak, but it was not quite up to the standard expected from this well-established group, in that faults could be picked from all of the earlier numbers. There was too much step-clapping, repetitive backing, tuning issues, under-rehearsed choreography and lack of real oomph. All of these issues may well be resolved further into their run. However, there were distinct positives early on too. One particular highlight was their beautiful arrangement of ‘The Blower’s Daughter’, with Suzie Merchant entrancing us with her pure, angelic solo that pierced the heart.
The turning point was Miranda Essex’s silky-smooth solo on ‘Save Tonight’, which set up an almost flawless finish from the girls. They introduced some effective bell tones during ‘Put Your Records On’, which led into the two best songs of the night: One Direction’s ‘That’s What Makes You Beautiful’ and ‘F*cking Perfect’ by Pink, which contained a delightful duet. For the first time during the set none of the girls looked nervous and they actually started to really enjoy themselves on stage. Credit must go to Musical Director Becca Nicholls, who was thoroughly animated and grinning throughout the set: she was a real inspiration for the rest of the girls who at times looked like rabbits caught in the headlights. The girls do have some seriously good arrangements of familiar songs, and their strengths lie in dynamics, close harmony and group blend. Their entire set lives up to their almost cutesy, girly image, but there is definitely a lack of real meat within the set; there is no powerhouse soloist to take songs by the scruff of the neck and belt them out. While the beat-boxing did gradually improve, it left quite a bit to be desired: an age-old problem for all-female groups.
The audience left the show with several catchy songs bouncing around their heads and with smiles fixed on their faces as the mental image of the hilarious choreography of their final song, a mash-up of ‘Holdin’ Out For A Hero’ and ‘I’m A Survivor’, was ingrained upon the brain.