King’s College London's All the King's Men return to the
Edinburgh Fringe with
All the King’s Men show an unexpected versatility of range and tone. In Down to the River to Pray, the band are stripped down to just four members, evoking a soulful, gospel style resulting in a intimate and powerful experience.
All the King’s Men show an unexpected versatility of range and tone. In Down to the River to Pray, the band are stripped down to just four members, evoking a soulful, gospel style resulting in a intimate and powerful experience. Meanwhile, imaginative vocal arrangements and influence from the English choral tradition transform Ed Sheeran’s Afire Love in a surprisingly touching and beautiful way. Bass singer Jonny Stewart has a beautiful resounding tone that brings heart and spirit into Sheeran’s lyrics. The Bare Necessities has the band prancing about and grooming like monkeys, lifting and bending to suit the music, and features the “percussionist”'s fine swing-infused voice. Their version of Alicia Key's If I Ain't Got You brings tenderness leading to a crescendo that is unexpected and powerful. The band are strikingly and slickly polished – as they duck, dive and weave through each song to suit the music, never too proud for any mimes or finding sassy moves too silly or boyband grins too cheesy. The arachnid-themed finale makes children in the audience squeal with pleasure and transcends into a fine jazzy number skilfully adapted with passion and a sense of humour.
The group's in-between-song banter is as polished as their music and choreography, but it lacks spontaneity. This makes it feel overly programmed. Something more improvised might be less wooden and a touch more rock and roll.
If you’ve heard about tap dancing at All the King's Men's previous shows, you’ll be disappointed by its absence here. The show is also a little short, running at around 45 minutes and an encore would have been appreciated by the audience, warmed up and not yet ready to leave. But despite the brevity and the lack of tap dancing, the incredibly talented All the King's Men present a show that is slick, charming, creative and fun.