Review: Fitz Barbershop

Laura Pugh 16 May 2012

Fitz Barbershop

ADC Lateshow, Tues 15 May

Fitz Barbershop promised a night of “entertainment and delight”, which they certainly delivered. Confident and charming, these guys lit up the stage on Tuesday evening, providing a wonderfully enjoyable escape from the monotony of exam term. The all-male, “all-singing, all-dancing” a capella group performed a wide ranging selection of songs from old-school favourites to slick jazz and contemporary covers, providing some particularly funny transitions. Hearing the group slide straight from heartfelt melodies into our favourite cheesy barbershop classics not only showed their skill but added to the well-timed comedy that defined their act. Variety was what made this performance great. Watching the group switch from their rather endearing performance as sentimental lovers within ‘My Evaline’ to suddenly embracing the many sexual innuendos within “How Could Little Red Riding Hood (Have Been So Very Good)”- complete with uproarious matching dance moves – was especially entertaining. It would be safe to say this act was not one for children.

The energy Fitz Barbershop brought to the stage was infectious. In particular their adaptation of ‘Saturday Night at the Movies’ put a smile on every face in the audience. Having thought of them as a group predominantly concerned with vocals, I was not expecting the level of (albeit cheesy) dance moves and well-rehearsed choreography that pulled this off brilliantly. The Barbershop version of physical theatre embraced plenty of cliche and the enthusiasm of the performers kept the act well away from the danger of sliding into tediousness. That is not to say the vocals were dimmed by the excellent choreography. Their vocals lived up to expectation, with songs such as the beautifully performed “Wonderful Tonight” showing off the Barbershop voices at their very best. If anything, there could have been more variety among the soloists. While those repeatedly taking the lead were very good, songs such as an adaptation of Jose Gonzalez’s ‘Heartbeats’ revealed the potential of many other members within the group, such as James Frecknall and Oli White, who it would have been nice to hear a few more solos from.

The Barbershop won their audience over from their very first introductory song and received an enthusiastic response throughout their performance. Some may dread the words “audience participation” but Fitz Barbershop showed just how amusing this can be, getting audience members to text in chat up lines, which perhaps we won’t repeat. An encore meant the show closed with the song “I Take a Look at my Enormous Penis”, ending the night with yet more laughter. Providing audience members came ready to embrace the cheesiness of this act, they were rewarded with a fantastic evening out.

Laura Pugh