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Edinburgh Fringe 2015

PDA: Public Displays of A Cappella


Genre: A Cappella, Music

Venue: Spotlites (Venue 278)


Low Down

“PDA: Public Displays of A Cappella is the debut show for Bath’s premier mixed a cappella group, Aquapella. Featuring original arrangements of contemporary music often in the form of mash-ups and quirky arrangements, this show has everything from the hilarious and absurd to the tear jerking and beautiful. New to a cappella music or a hard-core fan of the genre, there’s something for everyone in our varied set, which includes cheesy dance moves and chart topping hits in this high energy show.”


A Cappella fuelled by a lot of vocal beat boxing comes to Spotlites in the form of an impressive young ensemble from Bath University.

The group seem to have limitless energy and they clearly love doing this. That love manifests in a show full of variety, playfulness, cheeky humour, and enough movement to allow the audience to sit forward to watch and not just listen. Songs vary in style, tempo and mood, though much is beat-based, back by a talented mouth beat box master.

Everyone performs well together with a natural rapport. the audience gave the show a well deserved cheer and an warm, appreciative ovation at the end, clearly wanting more. We wanted an encore and didn’t get one !

I was impressed with the tightness of the singing, the genuinely inventive interpretations of songs you will recognise and a few you might not. Movement shifts during the pieces and there’s a teasing unpredictability to the proceedings. A Cappella has become a more crowded market in recent years, and this troupe more than hold their own in offering their own confident style, unafraid to lace a bit of dance and theatre into the songs. Visually, its an engaging spectacle. Faces were lit up in the audience. Solo singers were on top of the material and no one under-delivered within their abilities.

Comedy moments are many but the company know when to tone that down and let a bit of heart-breaking music come through. I think there’s more work to be done in pushing out some of those songs; lead singing is full of heart, always totally in tune and integrated with the supporting ensemble, but there’s scope for more projection and “oomph”. In places,  spoken intros were less clear and less confident.

But I am more than happy to warmly recommend this group. You’ll be glad you spent an hour with them and feel better for it. It’s entertaining, occasionally moving, and always accessible and uplifting. Catch them if you can – you won’t regret it.