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Barbershopera (Plymouth)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Kick-starting Christmas silliness and cheer, Barbershopera bursts onto the stage in a fast and furious fun frolic with superb vocals.

A capella musical with a difference, four talented singers portray the British entry’s journey to the coveted Eurovision Barbershop Christmas Medley crown. When Tony the tenor drops out to find himself in Rome, the boys make do (with varying depths of commitment) with diva on the dole, Toni the soprano.

There follows a chaotic mix of beautifully sung harmonies, tributes to famous films, young love, treachery and betrayal, cross dressing, Keystone Cop-like chases, slo-mo, quips and audience participation. All in all just daft.

Writers rubber-faced Rob Castell and bass Tom Sadler are accomplished performers and with stalwart professional singer and actor Lara Stubbs and relative newcomer (Spring 2009) Pete Sorel-Cameron prove a formidable crew with impeccable comedic timing.

Reaching almost cult status after its award-winning debut in 2007, Barbershopera is now on its third incarnation under the direction of Sarah Tipple in collaboration between Barbershopera Productions and Seabright Productions, and with Castell and Sadler still writing. Barbershopera II (The Barber of Shavingham) and Barbershopera Apocolypse No! have done the rounds to rapturous reviews but here the quartet return to the starting blocks (having recorded the piece for Radio 4 earlier this year).

At just 90 minutes including an interval for top-ups at the bar, it’s ideal for tipsy office parties!


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