The Oxford Gargoyles are making their debut appearance at the Fringe this year, in their show which, as the title suggests, brings Jazz and a-cappella together.
It's not just about jazz though, as their programme of musical numbers includes pop, calypso and even Disney. Their arrangements are clever and well performed, the five girl, five boy line up making best use of their considerable range.
There's only two things wrong with the show, and they're both the location. We're in the church - literally, pulpits and all. The acoustic in here, to my mind at least, is just too overpowering to get the full subtlety of their voices - particularly when they get into jazz scat and the brighter areas are muffled by the intense reverb. At the back of the hall, their spoken words were completely lost in the echo. This also means every cough or splutter in the audience equally bounces around the room.
The other location issue is lack of 'dressing' for this space. In the 3pm show, we're in bright daylight in this room, and there's simply no atmosphere being created by subtle lighting. There were many latecomers in (and no tardy notes, I might add!), and it can be quite distracting in a fully-lit echoing venue as people are shuffling into seats 10 minutes into the performance.
Ok, so I realise at this point I'm coming across as a grumpy old man, but the venue really didn't do this group any favours. If they had been in the main C too space rather than the church above, I can't help thinking they'd have scored a couple of extra stars.