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festmusic&cabaret However, puncturing the rarified—not to mention competitive—world of barbershop singing with couplets such as “Let’s live together like two peas in a pod / Let’s love each other like the Christians love God” has served to make the foursome enemies as well as friends. “We’ve annoyed some hardcore barbershop people! They don’t like what we do with the form. Apparently, we’re flippant in what we do, and disregarding in the way we approach the timbre and the voicings and the harmonies. Things like that. “But it’s not about that. For me, anyway, and I hope for audiences it’s about comedy, and the entertainment factor that you’re having everything sung at you a cappella. The harmony is there. You know, the harmonies are nice and we’ve got great singers in the group. But it’s never set out to be a barbershop quartet. That was just our nice little way of packaging up our little thing. You know, it’s a comedy show.” It’s a fair point: it is comedy that has remained the constant through three shows of increasingly eclectic musical adventurings – that and joyously silly plotlines. Since Toni and the Guys (a Eurovision-style barbershop contest victory is jeopardised by the recruitment of a woman into the barbershop quartet), through The Barber of Shav-

ingham (the Shavingham Shantymen find themselves short of a tenor when Johnny Johnson jumps—or was he pushed?—to his death in Norfolk) and Apocalypse? No! (the four horsemen are dispatched; they get lost on the way), nicely-lofted gobbets of satire can’t diminish what is essentially a lot of fun. In a slight change of tack, however, their fourth outing attempts an adaptation of The Three Musketeers. One might reasonably expect, however, a much modified outing for Dumas’ heroes: “It’s a much sillier version of that story. But the basics are still in place: you know, D’Artagnan arranges a duel with the other three musketeers; then they get together; then they have to go and save the king; and the evil cardinal’s there. It’s a real joy, actually, doing an adaptation. Really, really fun.” Plus, one presumes, plenty of scope for preposterous French accents? “Well, I don’t want to give too much away,” demurs Castell. “We can’t really get away with having the whole show in outrageous French accents, but we wanted to have some fun with it.” f

Barbershopera: The Three Musketeers @ Pleasance Courtyard

11:05pm – 12:05am, 1–27 Aug, not 13, 20, £6 – £12.50

“Now’s the time to bow down at the altar of four-strong a cappella group FORK” METRO


edinburgh festival preview guide 2012 fest 77

Fest Preview 2012  
Fest Preview 2012  

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