The Fringe is often praised for its glorious variety but there are some things listed in the Fringe guide that exceed the proper constraints of a show. Rock and Pop on the Fringe is one such show. Its raison d'être is essentially to advertise the exam board at Trinity College London, their new Rock and Pop exams syllabus and songbooks. The syllabus itself sounds great, encouraging aspiring musicians of all ages to develop their skills by learning the songs they listen to daily on the radio or their iPod, but why does it need a show?
The show showcases five different musicians each day, allowing them to perform some of their favourite songs from the Rock and Pop songbooks. This sounds like a nice idea but very soon reality beckons and the audience is reminded that these are, as mentioned, aspiring musicians each of different musical ability.
First up was sparky vocalist Juliet Wood whose vocals were generally quite good. She gave mediocre performances of Dido’s ‘White Flag’ and Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ but it wasn’t until Wood’s last song, Jessie J’s chart-topping ‘Price Tag’, that she gave a far more comfortable and confident performance. Next was young guitarist James Robson whose performances of Pink Floyd’s 70s hit ‘Money’ and Green Day’s punk ballad ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ were ruined by crippling nerves. The eager audience sat waiting for him to pick it back up and show his true talent but when this didn’t happen, they still met his poor performance with warm and encouraging applause.
David Bobby treated the audience to a sweet, smooth performance of Oleta Adams’ ‘Get Here’ on keyboard before bassist Mike Rice gave careful and focused deliveries of Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’ and Cream’s ‘White Room’. This didn’t quite suit the funky, old R&B style of his chosen songs but still worked. Last up was the very animated and theatrical Daniel Falber who gave a confident performance with classic swing numbers ‘Cry Me A River’ and ‘Moondance’, ending the show on a positive note. Overall, it definitely felt more like exams to be graded rather than a show to be enjoyed but if anything, it was a great way of finding out more about the syllabus and what it has to offer. Not to mention the free goody bags.