Out of the Blue is an all-male youth a cappella group from Oxford. But no, they aren’t the well-mannered, clean-cut type of a cappella group you may have seen before. These are fist-pumping, roof-raising, body-shaking school boy rockstars.
Their 60-minute set has a variety of popular songs including remixed versions of Queen’s ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, ‘Remember Me’ from Moana and Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. As they begin and you hear their complex musical arrangement, you are served with a collection of outstanding voices and often find yourself trying to seek out where exactly a particular ear-catching sound is coming from.
The all-male group defy expectations by including a selection of songs which aren’t typically sung by men such as Ariana Grande’s ‘God is a Woman’ and Beyonce’s ‘If I Were a Boy’. Not only are we treated to the falsettos of the tenors but the fun and sexy choreography that goes along with it. When one member struts out in red high-heels, this is met with a resounding cheer by the audience. It’s uplifting to see that these boys are comfortable with pushing boundaries and challenging gender norms in their own way.
One of my favourite numbers was the solo by the beatboxer who does a special menu of sounds imitating those created by drums and a turntable. He has remarkable vocal agility as he slides between each sound with impressive speed.
The idea of Fringe typically conjures up thoughts of struggling artists scraping by to share their work. But with ‘Out of the Blue’, I’ve discovered a whole other side of the Festival. This year marks Out of the Blue’s 16th at the Fringe which I suppose gives them resident performer status. In the packed out 500-seater Gorden Aikman Theatre, there’s a palpable love and enthusiasm for the group on stage. Simply put, if you love a cappella or are looking for family friendly fun, Out of the Blue should not disappoint.