FRINGE REVIEW -Bellissima. All-Female A Cappella – Oxford Belles

*****

Our junior reviewers were in for a treat of the musical kind this afternoon as we headed off to the Edinburgh College of Art to seek out the Main Theatre, the venue for the Oxford Belles who are performing their current show ‘Bellissima’.  This gave us the opportunity to take in some of the exhibitions which are currently running there too.

One of our junior reviewers had been to see another of Oxford’s a cappella groups last year (In the Pink), and we were happy to see more.  As there are several groups from Oxford performing this genre of music at the Fringe this year, we wonder whether there’s a huge appetite for a cappella in that particular area of the country.

Although the roots of a cappella music are in church music, there was no religious chanting in this particular performance, which started off with ‘It’s Raining Men’ and continued with ‘Hot Stuff’ before slowing down a little to an older standard ‘Stand by Me’.

At one of the brief intervals between the songs, it was explained to us that this particular troupe owed its origins to a visiting student from the United States, who wanted to bring this format of singing to the University, and founded the group in 1995.  The members have between 2 months and 2 years of singing together at the moment, but are lucky enough to have taken their singing to New York and Los Angeles in the past and perform regularly at Balls and Charity Events in Oxford and the surrounding area.

The second half of the set was more to our junior reviewers liking, with more up to date renditions of popular chart songs, including a particularly beautiful rendition of Snow Patrol/Leona Lewis’s ‘Run’.  The songs in this part of the set were also more tightly choreographed, with the girls moving well together.

A perfectly enjoyable afternoon’s diversion to keep old and young amused.  The only slight criticism would be the dress of the performers.  Their ‘uniform’ consisted of a cardigan and hockey-skirt-length skirt and white t-shirt, and it would have been good to see them a little more smartly dressed, or at the very least all wearing the same casual uniform, with perhaps a touch of colour in there somewhere as it did look a bit drab on stage.

Added comments by Helen (13): I enjoyed this and there were some strong singers amongst the girls.
Added comments by Alex (9): It was amazing how they made the noises of the rhythm as well as the singing.

Dates: Until 29th August 14:35 @ http://www.edfringe.com/venues/c-venues-c-eca

By The McNaughton Family Review Team

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