The Bristol Suspensions present: Love Aca-tually - Review
Just in case you did not understand the title, this is a cappella. I forget that some people still have not drunk the cool aid regarding a cappella music, You should, it really is great.
Love Aca-tually is a fun concert with dialogue*, which weirdly is something I have not seen before in polite a cappella society. Maybe I need to get out more. Even if it was very contrived, it was nice to see an a cappella concert with a difference and the 'plot' gave the majority of the show a welcome linearity. And even if it was very silly, it made me laugh a lot.
'Suspensions' are obviously very talented and have put a lot of work into arranging and choreographing their performance. Particular kudos goes to their vocal percussionist who shone with his vocal trickery. However, I did have some issues which made the show enjoyable instead of really fantastic.
I will be upfront in saying that the music choice was not my favourite. Obviously this is a personal preference, but it colours my opinion of the show. There were a lot of modern songs, RnB, rap and a gorgeous cover of Sara Bareilles' gorgeous cover of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
I think that the latter song was the musical highlight for me, partially because I love the arrangement, and partially because it was one of the calm moments in a sea of full-on, in-your-face a cappella music. I have to commend the groups energy and commitment but there were too many uptempo, riff-tastic, piercingly loud songs in the repertoire, which became a bit tiring after a while. I wanted a little more variety.
Moreover, I question the necessity of giving microphones to the whole group. Obviously, Fringe venues are difficult to work in and I am not aware of what technical difficulties the group faced. However, I have heard groups smaller than them fill similar spaces perfectly adequately without mics. It had a tendency to make everything a bit intense and occasionally seemed to throw them off, which resulted in a wall of sound masking their detailed work.
I do not think that this is a concert for people who are unsure if they like a cappella. However, If you are already invested, if you dig some cheesy lines and and if you love upbeat tunes then please go and watch them.
When all is said and done, I was entertained. Therefore, they receive a splendid fariywren. If you do not know what I am talking about, click here.
This makes me think of chilli con carne, but that might just be because I am hungry.