The Bristol Suspensions in: Netflix and Trill

Fri 5th – Sat 13th August 2016

reviews

Grace Calvert

at 11:38 on 18th Aug 2016

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I’m probably not who the acapella group Bristol Suspensions want reviewing their show. Acapella tends to make me cringe: I'm too cynical for all the earnest head bobbing and eager smiles. And there’s plenty of that in the Bristol Suspensions show, ‘Netfilx and Trill’, but somehow after I leave the hot theatre, I’m both immensely impressed and, dare I say it, charmed.

The show begins with a voice over from a guy who has asked a girl round to ‘Netflix and chill’. They decide to watch the Bristol Suspension’s show on Netflix, a set up that seems slightly unnecessary. After a surprising but slightly disorganised opening number to The Simpsons theme tune, the Suspensions show off what they do best: mash-ups.

These mash-ups are beautifully arranged, taking songs you feel you know very well, and twisting them into something new and unanticipated. They mainly draw from current pop songs, but there are older, classic hits selected as well, like the mash-up of Jackson 5’s ‘Want You Back’ with Iggy Azelea’s ‘Trouble’. They also use mash-ups to rework songs in a different style, for instance transforming Britney’s ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ into a ballad. The group are clearly incredibly in sync with one another, and I don’t think I hear a wrong note for the entire show. It’s a pretty remarkable experience.

Midway through the show, they split off into girls and boys, each having their own number. Without the full ensemble, they lack punch. However, this move enables the Suspensions to showcase their other talents. While the women exhibit some phenomenal singing, their male counterparts show off their ability to make the crowd laugh.

Back all together, the Suspensions perform their competition pieces. The audience are expecting something good from the winners of Voice Fest UK, and we are not disappointed. These songs are beautifully intricate, and the highlight of the entire set, as can only be expected.

There are numbers that I like less. The internet mash-up does not really endear me, as I don’t recognise a few of the references. This is also the case with some of the nods to children's television. For someone in the know, however, I can see these would be an entertaining and unexpected blast from the past. I just wish the Suspensions would perform a few more straight songs, as that's where most of their impressive talents lie.

'Netflix and Trill' is an hour of acapella, with a great amount of comedy on top. This humour almost disguises how hard the Bristol Suspensions are working underneath. Ingeniously arranged and sung with talent and precision, this acapella group from Bristol University utterly nail it.

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