ADC Theatre – 2nd February 2010
The one time a lot of Cambridge students get to hear top-quality secular music is at four in the morning at a May Ball, and even then the singers often have to compete with a cheese mountain or a table of coffee and Kahlua for attention. This was different. For one night only, we were served a whole hour in which to savour the cream of Cambridge choirs, with nary a cracker in sight.
The blurb on the ADC website promised that we would leave ‘both fulfilled and flabbergasted’; like Tesco, all-male a-capella group Over the Bridge delivered. Their nimble-footed arrangements skipped across the musical map from Daft Punk’s ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ to Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, by way of ‘Everybody Wants to be a Cat’. Their dance moves were slick – I especially enjoyed the shapes they threw to ‘Help’. As the evening progressed, we got a sense of the various personalities in the group, and it became quite exciting wondering which one would step out of the line-up at the beginning of each song: would it be the perky Tom Keen, the leggy Nick Mogg, or the smouldering Johnny Langridge, who disappointed a lustful shouted request to ‘Take it off, Johnny!’.
This was a technically polished production, and featured some endearing ‘pyrotechnics’ (party poppers), followed by some bona fide fireworks. All of these tricks and quips, however, did nothing to detract from the true centrepiece of the show – the singing – which was superlative. From the sparkling countertenor top notes to the rhythmic bass support (including some impressive beat-boxing) this was an hour of aural delight. They were helped along by a raucously enthusiastic audience, who appreciated every little harmonic gag: when a joke about an English cadence gets a big laugh, you really know the crowd are on your side. By the end even my companion – who had not really understood what I meant by ‘a-capella’, eyeing the ten water bottles on stage with deep suspicion as we entered the auditorium, and asking ‘This is a play… right?’-was won over. A hugely enjoyable evening.