Barbershopera II is simply that: another Opera (they produced a show last year) performed in Barbershop Quartet style by three guys and a girl. It may seem a bizarre concept, but it works beautifully. The story behind the performance is utterly ludicrous (A Catalan Matador with more names than is possible to print returns to “Shavingham”, a small town in Norfolk, to claim his father’s Barber shop just after his funeral. Needless to say it doesn’t go as simply as all that otherwise there wouldn’t be a show.)
All four performers sing wonderfully, with some very technically difficult harmonies at times and perform, act and interact with one another fantastically well. They have chemistry, a wicked sense of humour and enthusiasm that they maintain throughout the duration. There are plenty of jokes within the lyrics, clever rhymes and visual gags to keep us entertained, and whilst their use of props and scenery is, in the main part, implied, what is used is charmingly lo-fi. There is also a great moment where they use shadow puppet theatre to convey an otherwise impossible scene and “Larry” makes a returning cameo appearance (people who saw their show last year will recognise him..) Moments like these assist the show and help underline the inventiveness of the whole project.
Shows based entirely upon song often aren’t for everyone, however even the most cynical of punter may be persuaded to change their mind if viewing a show like this.
Catriona Ruth Paterson