The Oxford Gargoyles: Jazz a Capella!

Sun 14th – Mon 29th August 2011

reviews

Fen Greatley

at 13:37 on 17th Aug 2011

0agrees

0disagrees

The Gargoyles are without a doubt the coolest cats in town. Their jazzy numbers are always carried out with perfect charm and pure style; this year's run is no exception.

There is a real concert feel about the show, that it's not just a bunch of cobbled-together tunes. In choosing the material for their arrangements and then setlists, it is to the group's credit that they prioritise their own taste and quality music over populist choice, although they still offered a lovely range of sub-genres and created various different moods. The pieces are all introduced, as are most members, by confident and endearing interjections.

MD Alex looked exceedingly happy as the group wowed us with their ensemble singing and each member scatted their way to audience approval, and so he should be proud. The group moves and breathes as a unit, entrances in perfect unison, and the arrangements are fantastic. The choreography is fairly sophisticated, too. The balance between pure vocals and movement is struck accordingly.

The solos were more slightly more variable, however; while the male ones were beautifully sung - especially the opening number, Billy Joel's 'And So it Goes' - a couple of female inputs were pitchier, notably a Beatles song that came towards the end.

Much new material from their new album features in the concert but a couple of old favourites manage to work their way in, 'Kiss the Girl' standing out again as a highlight of the show.

To evaluate the Gargoyles was difficult this year. There just wasn't anything overwhelming about the performance to lift the Gargoyles head and shoulders over the other a cappella acts as I've seen before. They looked fantastic, were fantastic and their talent is blatant, so it is for that that they get four stars – I was just looking to give them five. Overall verdict: spick and span, but doesn't sparkle.

agree
disagree

Madeleine Stottor

at 15:13 on 17th Aug 2011

0agrees

0disagrees

The Oxford Gargoyles return this year for their sixth Edinburgh festival, bringing to the north an hour of upbeat acappella jazz. All of the arrangements performed, bar one, are the work of current or ex-gargoyles and the group deliver a smooth and enjoyable set.

Opening with a great performance of ‘Straighten up and fly right’, with an impeccable solo from Jack Cook, the Gargoyles grow in confidence as their set progresses. ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ is beautifully rendered, and with ‘Feeling Good’, with a solo by Lois Haworth, whose voice is perfectly suited to the song, the show really gains momentum. ‘September’ (originally by Earth, Wind and Fire) is when the audience really warms to the Gargoyles, as Euan Campbell’s lively and distinctive performance, coupled with pink lighting and energetic choreography, brightens the theatre. Later, ‘Kiss the Girl’ is a really fun performance, as David Kell lends his comic touch to proceedings.

There are moments (for example, in ‘Here, There & Everywhere’) when the group’s volume threatens to obscure the solo performances, though generally the balance is well-maintained. Occasionally, there are missed notes, or moments when a voice sounds as though it is about to go, and at times I wondered why certain singers appeared to be singing with American accents. For me, the best performers were Jack Cook, Alex Kaiserman, and Anjali Joseph, not only for their voices but also for their evident enthusiasm and enjoyment.

The Oxford Gargoyles are incredibly talented, and their Austin Powers encore was fabulous, for me making up for the previous finale number, which falls a little flat. Having seen the Gargoyles before, however, I was a little disappointed. They didn’t seem as energetic as usual, and some of the choreography felt stilted. They are still brilliant, but I felt as though they were tired, and only in songs like ‘Kiss the Girl’ did they really engage me. I would recommend seeing the Gargoyles, who are very talented. If they are worth four stars on an off day, then I can only imagine how incredible they would be if they were on true form.

The Oxford Gargoyles return this year for their sixth Edinburgh festival, bringing to the north an hour of upbeat acappella jazz. All of the arrangements performed, bar one, are the work of current or ex-gargoyles and the group deliver a smooth and enjoyable set.

Opening with a great performance of ‘Straighten up and fly right’, with an impeccable solo from Jack Cook, the Gargoyles grow in confidence as their set progresses. ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ is beautifully rendered, and with ‘Feeling Good’, with a solo by Lois Haworth, whose voice is perfectly suited to the song, the show really gains momentum. ‘September’ (originally by Earth, Wind and Fire) is when the audience really warms to the Gargoyles, as Euan Campbell’s lively and distinctive performance, coupled with pink lighting and energetic choreography, brightens the theatre. Later, ‘Kiss the Girl’ is a really fun performance, as David Kell lends his comic touch to proceedings.

There are moments (for example, in ‘Here, There & Everywhere’) when the group’s volume threatens to obscure the solo performances, though generally the balance is well-maintained. Occasionally, there are missed notes, or moments when a voice sounds as though it is about to go, and at times I wondered why certain singers appeared to be singing with American accents. For me, the best performers were Jack Cook, Alex Kaiserman, and Anjali Joseph, not only for their voices but also for their evident enthusiasm and enjoyment.

The Oxford Gargoyles are incredibly talented, and their Austin Powers encore was fabulous, for me making up for the previous finale number, which falls a little flat. Having seen the Gargoyles before, however, I was a little disappointed. They didn’t seem as energetic as usual, and some of the choreography felt stilted. They are still brilliant, but I felt as though they were tired, and only in songs like ‘Kiss the Girl’ did they really engage me. I would recommend seeing the Gargoyles, who are very talented. If they are worth four stars on an off day, then I can only imagine how incredible they would be if they were on true form.

agree
disagree

Audience Avg.

0 votes, 0 comments

Click here for more event information

cast involved

other events on

Version 0.3.7a