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August 16, 2008

Barbershopera take on a hair-raising performance

Metrolife (UK): (Edinburgh Festival)

Yearning for a delicious hour of light entertainment complete with boaters, bow ties, false beards and a toy cow? As long as you have a high tolerance for a capella singing and four-part harmonies, this sublimely silly yet smilingly sophisticated musical might be the answer to your prayers.

Barbershopera is a lovely example of a show that hopes to please and knows how to do it. The story couldn't be simpler. With the Eurovision Barbershop Contest looming in Ljubljana, our manly heroes find their outfit is a singer short. Step forward Toni Soprano (Lara Stubbs) and the result is Toni & The Guys, the only barbershop quartet to feature a female opera singer in its ranks. Add a dastardly Swiss quartet and the internal ructions within Toni & The Guys when Toni and Hugh B Doo (Tom Green) fall for each other, and that's pretty much it.

But that doesn't do justice to the comic timing, witty words, terrible puns, wonderful singing and the barbershop versions of everything from The Marriage Of Figaro to Bohemian Rhapsody.

Highlights include Waltzing Duet, when Al Legro (Mark Hole) and Frank Sonata (Rob Castell) form a partnership of their own, Freudian Slip, where rude words find their way into the most innocuous sentences, and Toni & The Guys, in all their barbershop finery, giving it loads with their arms in the air when they win.

Some of the funnest times I have ever had working in the entertainment business were the years I was involved as a producer and talent manager with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We have nothing at all similar here in the US, the closest probably being the Montreal Comedy Festival. The Festival is such a wonderful way for new talent to get national exposure and I can attest first hand how success at the Festival can result in instant reward for artists!

Posted by acapnews at August 16, 2008 12:47 AM


Sounds like great fun! Is this being streamed anywhere?

Posted by: Michelle Nikolai at August 18, 2008 9:52 AM

NY has a fringe festival -- going on right now. Minimum Wage has been a big hit and this year Jeff LaGreca has produced the musical Gargoyle Garden.

Posted by: NAN at August 18, 2008 7:39 PM

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