A witty parody of the phenomenon of A cappella, Crapappella gives us larger-than-life personas, a hint of audience participation, and the best (and only?) song about diarrhea I have ever heard.
A cappella, once confined to American colleges, has had a recent renaissance, thanks to the likes of the Pitch Perfect franchise and Pentatonix. It’s usually portrayed as overly-happy, with an abundance of finger clicks and matching colourful costumes, and it has become almost predictable. Crapappella is anything but. The brain child of Joshua Young and Rebecca Rourke, the show follows the cast-offs of the world’s a cappella scene in an hour-and-a-half show full of songs about subjects one would not expect, such as Ballad to Beige, or ‘The Sound of Silence’ (a song which does exactly what the title suggests).
Having debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe last year to great reviews, the group recently supported Exeter’s award-winning a cappella troupe ‘Semi-Toned’, and are back in London at the Space theatre with a show full of new members and extra songs.
This show, with its slapstick humour and exuberant characters, such as posh bad boys Tarx and Crommers (Sal Morton and Reece Connolly) and wannabe rapper Shazzy V (Rosie Vincent, a great spoof of The X Factor‘s Honey G), is hilarious. Sometimes the sheer amount of people on stage can detract from some sort of a story line, and I wish I could have seen more from other characters.
From the deadpan humour to the facial expressions made when singing, this show uses a range of comedic techniques to ensure that you’re laughing throughout.
Despite the name, the singing isn’t crap – in fact it’s quite the obvious. The original songs themselves, from The Comic Sans Song to Ballad to Beige, are hilarious and well-written, and the harmonies and choreography accompanying them perfectly parody the cheesy routines a cappella groups churn out. The penultimate song, literally singing about what happens in songs, was genius. The singing itself is strong, particularly from Emily Collins and Mary-Elizabeth Quarshie. My only issue here is that sometimes it was hard to hear the lead vocals over the harmonies because they are a very large group, which was a shame.
The standout performance for me came from Terri-Anne (Georgia Mae Wilkinson) with her song ‘Swipe Right’, about her first Tinder date. Bringing up a, slightly terrified, audience member to be her date, she crooned to him, danced around him, and ruled the stage with both her vocals and facial expressions. With the audience member saying ‘no’ to her date (the wrong choice, sadly), she wasn’t phased, storming to the corner of the stage, and continuing to glare at him from the stage throughout the performance.
This show is perfect if you both love and hate a cappella, if you just want a laugh and a sing-song to some unconventional pop tunes (which are stuck in my head!). I’m excited to see where this show heads to next.
You can follow @crapappella on Twitter for all their latest information and upcoming show dates!