Assembly George Square
Sadie and the Hot Heads
New Town Theatre
THE SOIL begin in darkness so when the lights go up it's quite a surprise to see there are only three people onstage. Part of the reason for this South African a cappella group's ability to make a bigger sound than you might expect from three voices is their human beatbox, who combines the percussive effects with impressively rich passing notes that add to the chordal quality of their singing.
Beatboxing is a double-edged sword, though, and there are songs in an otherwise superb set where it would be preferable just to be able to feel the natural rhythm in their voices.
The threesome wear their vocal prowess lightly, one minute creating a sublime, perfectly measured sound, the next playing air violins and creating vocal guitar solos or joshing with the beatbox over his being dumped back home.
This amorous misfortune has at least proved inspirational and there are songs to prove it alongside a beautiful tribute to Miriam Makeba, some playful references to cows being given as a dowry and the unmistakably jubilant Joy. The party spirit continues with a dance round an imaginary camp-fire and a finale that has the audience on its feet and while only one of our number actually gets up onstage, somehow the feeling is that everyone's been included in the celebratory final huddle.
Run ends August 26.
A FAIRY-LIT concertina and a starkly strummed autoharp add to the eeriness inherent in Pumajaw's SOng Noir, a film-aided song cycle where Nat King Cole's I'd Rather Have The Blues Than What I've Got is reimagined against chain gang-like clanging guitar noise and Peggy Lee and Victor Young's Johnny Guitar emerges as a distant, darker cousin of Ann Peebles's I Can't Stand The Rain.
It's not without its fast-forwardable moments, but at their best Pinkie Maclure's severe sophistication and deep, breathy delivery and John Will's mysteriously aloof presence and electronic creativity make an interesting partnership and conjure up an atmosphere wherein something sinister may well lurk behind every shadow.
Run ends August 25.
FROM her refreshingly honest opening statement ("I try to be cool but this is the latest I've been up in 30 years") it's reasonable to assume Elizabeth McGovern's Sadie and the Hot heads aren't about to rock the blazes out of the midnight hour. And they don't. McGovern's music sounds like a gentle way of winding down away from her role as Downton Abbey's Countess Cora, a bit of a hobby, to be honest. Her songs are inoffensive and sung without much conviction and while her musicians are capable and support her through a country-rock to Latin jazz spectrum, there's little going on here that would justify spending £12 beyond the chance of seeing a familiar TV face in the flesh and helping her favourite charity on the way out.
Run ends August 25.