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Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Toned Up


Genre: A Cappella

Venue: Space @ Symposium Hall


Low Down

Exeter University’s all-male a cappella group are back in Edinburgh after their huge success at the festival last year. Their new show, ‘Toned Up’ promises original arrangements and zesty choreography.


 Semi-toned perform a variety of different musical genres, ranging from Pop to Jazz, with even a little Disney thrown in. This twelve strong unlikely boy band deliver charming, or as they put it ‘questionable’ choreography, broken up with audience interaction and theatrical moments. 
Since the Glee phenomena a cappella groups have become hugely popular, and as you can see from walking down the Royal Mile, the Edinburgh Fringe is no exception. Many of these groups deliver strong vocal harmonies with tight choreography, but on top of this Semi-Toned’s incredibly likeable personalities also provide the audience with hilarious comic moments. 
After an exciting opening number, the boys introduce their new show; ‘Toned Up’, and demonstrate their new and improved "manly" physiques with the theme tune from Rocky. The charm in this group lies within the fact that they don’t take themselves to seriously, and that each member brings their own quirky style to every number. This individuality is a breath of fresh air from the traditional show choir set-up, as they relate to the audience as people, not just shiny, stagey, Glee cut-outs. In an art form that relies on synchronicity, some would find this mix of characters distracting, however it only added to the excitement and aesthetic of the piece. The group worked so impressively together, that sometimes, in comparison the solos fell short in energy. If they brought as much individuality and animation to the solos as they did to the group numbers, the show can only become stronger. 
It is essential to praise the vocal abilities of this group. The variety of their different vocal ranges and styles meant that the group performed each genre with ease, using their strong technique to switch from one vocal style to another. This was evident in the finale of the show, a Muse Medley, in which their vocals powered through this challenging composition and the quality of their falsetto and bass notes never wavered. 
On leaving the show I felt thoroughly entertained and could sense that the audience felt the same. What these boys lacked in brawn, they certainly made up in vocal agility and I would highly recommend this show to anyone looking for brilliant music and a lot of laughs.