Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue are something of a Fringe staple by now. It’s their thirteenth consecutive year here, they tell us, and judging by the roar from the audience when asked if anyone’s seen them perform before, some of the crowd might be here for the thirteenth consecutive year as well. They’re an all-male a cappella troupe from Oxford who went viral a couple of years ago with their cover of Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie, and since then it seems like they’ve moved commercially from strength to strength; Shakira’s endorsement rings out loudly on their promotion poster.

There’s real talent here and it's under-utilised

The musical arrangements are in parts very impressive, and to a man Out of the Blue are seriously good singers. This is most evident during moments when the soloists (by my count every member of the 12-strong troupe has a solo at some point in the show) take a step back and the group sings together as a collective. A cover of James Blake’s Retrograde is particularly good. Aside from their lovely voices, Out of the Blue have a good understanding of when the tone and tempo of a performance needs to change, and they manage to vary the pace of the show well. The dancing arrangements are more sketchy, and a bit corny in places (members of the group all wave to each other when they sing the word ‘farewell’), but that can easily be forgiven. Out of the Blue are primarily musicians, and that’s the way it should be.

More seriously though, one can’t help but feel that this show is something of a missed opportunity. Out of the Blue don’t play a single song that you wouldn’t expect them to play, to the extent that sometimes the show feels like an introduction to the last fifteen years of pop music for a slightly older audience. They open with American Boy, move swiftly on to Justin Timberlake and Destiny’s Child, and even find time for The Lion Sleeps Tonight in their 45 minute set. It all feels very safe and comforting, which I suspect is why many people found the show so enjoyable. But it also feels like they’re performing with the handbrake on, and unwilling to try anything really daring - we've seen and heard all this before. There’s real talent here, and it is under-utilised.

I suspect you already know whether or not you want to see Out of the Blue. If you’re a fan of a cappella, you’ll enjoy the show. If you’re not already a fan, I’m not sure they’ll win you over. They offer an hour of singing and smiles (and £10 CD’s - £15 if you pre-order their new album now) with the sweetness turned up to 11. They hand out stickers at the end, and at one point they even sing that they’re ‘sticky sweet’ and ‘saccharine’. Many will judge it an hour well spent. I suspect others will find the sweetness sickly.

Reviews by Matthew Bradley

The Jazz Bar

The Great Hipster Songbook

★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Mixtape

★★★★
The Jazz Bar

Nick Harper

★★★
Gilded Balloon at the Museum

The Beatbox Collective

★★★★
Quaker Meeting House

The Sorries

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Embarking on their 13th run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Out of the Blue will captivate you with their unbeatable mixture of vibrant vocals, outrageously unprofessional choreography and often unintentional comedy. With their recent online hits, these floppy haired Oxford undergraduates conjure up a relentless level of energy and enthusiasm that has left audiences beaming around the world. 'If you don't enjoy yourself you're officially the curmudgeon of the Millennium' (Scotsman). Out of the Blue is proud that their show is supporting Helen & Douglas House, the world's first children's hospice, based near their Oxford home.

Most Popular See More

Wicked

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £22.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Witness for the Prosecution

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets