Beatboxing and hand-jiving their way into Fringe 2012, Oxford University’s female a cappella group adopt the peppy enthusiasm of cheerleaders, thankfully sans pompoms and wobbly human pyramids. Occasionally giggle-inducing and saccharine, there are similarities between Oxford’s Belles and the New Directions of high school sitcom ‘Glee’, but in contrast to their onscreen counterparts, there’s no diva on a mission to steal the limelight. The ladies make a powerful ensemble in troupe colours of black and green, marching as one, signalled only by the key-calling harmonica. That said, jazzier costumes and tightening of harmonies might render ‘Belles Amies!’ less am-dram. Belles of the ballads they undoubtedly are, though, with the chillingly beautiful ‘Jar of Hearts’ raising goosebumps throughout the audience.
Spotlites @ The Merchants’ Hall, 1-18 Aug, 5.25pm.
tw rating 3/5 | [Christy Brown]