Chacapella: Vocal Point

Sat 9th – Tue 12th August 2014

reviews

Lucy Diver

at 10:02 on 12th Aug 2014

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Chacapella is an extremely pleasant way to spend an hour. If you're halfway through a rainy Fringe, tired of offensive stand up and emotionally harrowing theatre, a night out with this all-girl acapella group might be your best bet.

A group of eleven young women from London comprise Chacapella, and their show is in honour of the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation. Their friend Alexandea Wylie died from cancer, and the full price of the ticket goes towards bringing joy into disadvantaged childrens' lives.

The music is a happy mix of classics, like Queen and Aretha Franklin, pop like Florence + the Machine and Rihanna, as well as nostalgic childhood favourites like Bare Necessities and Teddy Bear's picnic. It would be a great show to take kids along to, depending on their bed time - it starts at 8.15pm.

Some of the mash ups are particularly clever, like a Handelesque Glory of the Mainstream, and a whistle stop tour of TV songs: I recognised The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, Adventure Time, Scooby Doo and Friends, but there were definitely more.

The group as a whole sounds excellent. They have a variety of voices and a depth and complexity to their arrangements which keeps the audience constantly entertained. Some particularly great performances come from Connie Lewis, Zoë Morrall and Suzie McDermott. A few of the others might benefit from relaxing and smiling a bit more - though I'm sure this is just nerves. When it looks like they were having fun, it is infectious.

There are some sly moments of humour in their choreography, and song choices that really did bring a smile to my face. They seem like such a happy group of friends, singing a happy bunch of songs - you can't fail to be cheered up.

Chacapella deserve a bigger audience. Although perhaps not as clinically slick as some of the more well-known acapella groups at the Fringe, they've got heart. Their music is interesting and well performed, their choreography is funny, and I emerged from my hour in their company smiling and humming.

My one criticism is that their nerves sometimes seem to be preventing them from having as much fun and smiling as much as I was, but I'm sure that will ease off in time. They really are very good.

In the simplest possible words, I had fun. I think you will too.

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Sarah GIlbert

at 10:44 on 12th Aug 2014

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Chacapella are one of the youngest groups of performers at the Fringe, consisting of eleven girls aged 15 to 18 years, and offer startling acapella numbers, which range from TV mash-ups to remixes of the club anthems. It is difficult for an acapella group to maintain an audience's attention, but these girls succeeded.

These girls are donating all of their proceeds to the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation. The Foundation supports disadvantaged children in achieving their dreams and goals, whether in academics, arts, or simply wanting a trip to somewhere special. Chacapella's interest in the trust stems from the loss if their friend Alexandra to leukemia at age 17, and the foundation is inspired by causes that she had supported and felt strongly about. ‬What makes this group special is the undeniable sense of community. The sense of pride – not so much in their individual selves but more reserved for one another – cannot be ignored, and is rare in performers so young and so passionate.‬

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The girls maintain high levels of energy throughout. Their impressive vocal performance is complimented by neatly illustrative actions and dances, which vary from subtle, to playful comedy. Each singer is given their opportunity both to star in a singing context and also introduce their fundraising journey, with the solos arranged to neatly compliment each individual voice.

Naturally it would be foolish to suggest that Chacapella have 'something for everybody'. They don't. But it is difficult not to be impressed by the sheer vitality that the girls' combined effort exudes. What they are slightly lacking in originality the group make up for in gumption and subtle confidence, enhancing each rendition in a way that can only be admired.

The show progresses into an interlude in which four of the performers, The Wandeeboos, take the focus and perform what they frame with the vague description "TV mash-up." This turned out to be one of the highlights of the show (who wouldn't love the themes to Scrubs, Orange Is The New Black and Scooby Doo rolled into one?), along with a slick and yet hilarious rendition of Carly Rae Jepson's 'Call Me Maybe'. ‬

Your average Fringe spectator knows what to expect from an acapella arrangement, and Chacapella certainly hold up their end of the bargain. For those in any way musically-boned and up for an evening first course of the sunny and sincere this production is worth your time. Only if you're pained by warmth and generosity would I suggest steering clear.‬

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