Barbershopera – Cabaret Sauvignon at the Trafalgar Studios
Cabaret Sauvignon is a witty, silly, brilliant tribute to the Barbershop Quartet, applying styles from rock to reggae, pop ballad to parody, to the four-part harmony format with aplomb.
The audience were quickly charmed with the group’s natural banter, and the opening number, Could Have Married Kate, was an instant hit, mixing pitch-perfect a capella vocals which delivered excellent harmonies and entertaining lyrics alongside accomplished comic acting. This song was featured in the group’s well-produced video version (available on YouTube), but it was good to see it at close range armed only with minimal props and some neat choreography. The song set the bar high, and the standard was maintained throughout the show, along with consistent energy and pace. Each of the songs had a storytelling element, typical of the group’s other narrative shows (such as The Three Musketeers), just in miniature, and it worked nicely as a cabaret hour.
While the superb voices and personalities of the four performers were evenly balanced, each clearly had a role. Writer and founder Rob Castell easily anchored proceedings (and impressed with improvised rapping); Will Kenning underpinned with a solid bass line and a latent talent for hip hop; Pete Sorel-Cameron was charmingly funny and knowledgeable about newts; and Lara Stubbs added a cracking voice and a touch of glamour.
The audience were genuinely disappointed as the finale was announced; even more genuinely delighted to get an encore, and still could have wished for more. With its Edinburgh vibe this show suits cosy venues like the Trafalgar Studios, but now that the group are so well established they are almost too big for the venue. There’s definitely potential for something more substantial, and perhaps it is time the show was somehow evolved to achieve this. But, for now, catch it while you can to see it up close, and expect to be thoroughly entertained.
Cabaret Sauvignon is on at the Trafalgar Studios from 18th September-6th October. Tickets are available here.
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Watch Could Have Married Kate here: