Two reviews in one day here! I really am spoiling the Edinburgh Fringe reviewing scene! Let’s be honest, the reviewing world, particularly for the shows in Edinburgh is so heavily saturated that everyone who uses social media can be a reviewing critic, however I hope that these blog posts have been noticed! So far, plenty of the people that I’ve reviewed have thanked me and shared their particular review, and I’m hoping this last group do the same. They were the only show that I saw on my last day of the Fringe, and it was such a wonderful way to close my time at the Fringe. It was Friday 14th (thankfully, this date doesn’t hold any unlucky connotations) and I was queuing in the GRIM Edinburgh rain to go inside the Theatre as part of the Assembly to watch my favourite acapella act. Fortunately, one of the performers in the group went to my Sixth Form, and it was delightful to see him perform for the last time as part of the group again. He’s got worldwide notoriety as Shakira’s male incarnation. You’ve probably seen the video by the acapella act, Out of the Blue. They definitely hold popularity at the Fringe, having successfully sold out the majority of their run, and my particular show was no different. The queue went on for ever; Out of the Blue are not Out of the Loop…
If you don’t know who Out of the Blue are, they are an all-male acapella group from Oxford and Oxford Brookes universities, however the majority of the group are from the former. They sing a wide repertoire of songs, and the show did not stray from this. They sang old classics such as I Have Nothing to Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk. Although they rehearse on British soil, their performances have seen them go international, having performed in Sweden, Norway, USA and Canada to name just a few countries they’ve starred in this academic year. They also competed in Britain’s Got Talent a few years ago, but none of the current members were part of that cycle – would Out of the Blue go again? However, their work all year leads up to the Edinburgh Fringe, even with releasing music videos that have gone viral. They came to attention when Shakira tweeted them after Out of the Blue’s (OOTB) cover of Shakira songs, featuring Hips Don’t Lie, Waka Waka and Whenever Wherever that raise money for their local charity, Helen and Douglas House. On the whole, you may assume that they’re a load of posh totties from Oxford Uni who are wasting their opportunity at such a prestigious university, they should be working hard to become the bankers of the future. But, all of them are such lovely people, and you can tell that they all just get on so well and really enjoy performing to audiences all around the world. Definitely much better than most of the pop-trash that has infiltrated the popular music markets.
Anyway, I got to the theatre, found a seat and realised that, because of the rain, I looked and felt like a drowned rat. My kimono over my head didn’t do much wonders of keeping my hair dry, but sitting in the theatre really did give me the time to dry off and thoroughly enjoy myself in a warm venue, singing along in the process. Whilst I was sitting waiting for the show to start, they were playing their recent albums with songs such as C’est La Vie. It was clear looking around that many people in the audience were big fans, and I heard from a woman in the queue that one girl in particular goes to every single show that OOTB do during the Fringe. Wow. I may not be that keen about anything, but many audience members were sitting and singing to myself. Then, the lights dimmed and the group run on to their first positions.
“Where’s all mah soul sistas, lemme hear ya’ll flow sistas”.
The show started with one of their recent songs featured in a music video. Jack, Ollie and Will happily took centre stage for the first number, but they didn’t steal the show. For an acapella group to work, all members must pull their weight otherwise a song won’t fully gel. Throughout each and every song, the harmonies were on point, the beatboxing by Joel was INCREDIBLE and the riffs by Jack and Ollie were so delightful that they could riff every line of a song and it would never feel out of place. Once Lady Marmalade had finished, the audience were successfully in the palm of their hands and Ollie Nicholls started talking to us all about the show. I had a massive flashback to upper school, as Ollie Nicholls is the member that I know from school and it was so lovely to see him on stage in his swansong, leading the group. He’s still the Head Boy that I know and love.
Throughout the show, Out of the Blue sang the repertoire from their most recent album, “Rambling Men”, which I purchased on an impulse buy after the show, and I’m so glad I did. Although I can’t remember the order, they performed songs including Bridge Over Troubled Water, an ABBA Medley where Ollie’s riffs went so high, I wondered if I would be able to sing them (and I’m a soprano!). There was also a delightful sextet performance of the song Colder Weather with a gorgeous first solo entrance from Huw, who is also a fresher like me. Throughout the song, it’s incredible to think that these performers are your age, and their talent just knows no bound. Plus, they’re all at Oxford, so they’re all extremely clever… the world really is their oyster.
As well as performing solemn numbers, Out of the Blue definitely know how to work an audience, performing crowd-pleasers such as The Lion Sleeps Tonight complete with a full on dance. When this song was being performed, I once again had flashbacks to when Out of the Blue performed at my school and did this number, and they did flashmob style performances at school that made you feel as if you were living in Glee. Similarly, Livin La Vida Loca and Proud Mary demonstrated all the cast’s vocal skills that they’re able to sing fast numbers acapella, as well as being slow and controlled. Yet, it’s when the vocals are stripped back and you hear their pure vocal talent that really demonstrates just why Out of the Blue are leagues above their competition.
The penultimate number, ‘I Have Nothing’ saw the cast stand in a triangle and let this year’s Pres, Jack Remmington sing solo for the whole number. I’d heard a tiny bit of it on their Snapchat and knew that as this number started, it was going to be something special. It truly was, which it’s why it’s definitely the song I’ll be ending this blog post with. I was nearly in tears, it was spine-tinglingly beautiful, and once the show was finished, I made sure I told him that he was wonderful. He then did his final address to the audience before the encore number of the show and his Yorkshire accent is miles away from how he sings, again demonstrating the talent of the members of this group. For a reviewing emoji, I’d give them a blue love heart AND a microphone emoji as they’re clearly an incredible group of people, with each year’s new cohort only adding to the talent that’s currently existing. I cannot WAIT to hear the 2015/16 lot!
Check out their website here!: http://www.ootboxford.com/
Now, listen to the glorious version of a Whitney Houston classic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOjG7AR-i0g
And that’s all my Edinburgh Fringe reviews DONE! I hope you’ve enjoyed them!
Why don’t you check out my last review, where I saw Katherine Ryan?