Review: The Magnets - Homegrown
The Magnets - Homegrown *****
Last year I remember reading a fellow critic talking about being disappointed in last year's showing by Fringe mainstays The Magnets. They asked if the a capella group “still cared” about the festival as they retread a lot of older material. The thing is, The Magnets don't need to sing new stuff to keep a crowd happy. It may be a show at the Fringe, but people like to hear what they know and sing and dance along with them. Regardless, this year The Magnets have hit back with an entirely new show, jam-packed with new materials and laughs galore.
Now, if you're not familiar with The Magnets, I'll break it down for you. They're an a capella group, they perform music you're familiar with, and frankly, I question whether anyone is better at what they do than they are. They manage to hook their audiences in the space of a song, they're effortlessly cool and funny, and have some of the best live singing voices I've ever heard.
This year's show from the group is called “Homegrown.” The reason for that is it's paying tribute to British music from over the past few decades. The content is almost unimportant – often when I realised what was going to be sung I found myself thinking “I hate this song” - but I actually enjoyed almost every version that was performed on the night. It might be a song you know and hate, I found, but the arrangement, phenomenally fun choreography and humour meant they were still excellent.
My only criticism is that the show is billed as the best of British, but some key acts of that period end up relegated to a medley at the end. It means the show finishes with a crowd-storming end, but the likes of Coldplay, The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Queen surely merit a “main song” over the likes of Emili Sande, for example. During their end medley they begin songs you just want to hear more of, but unfortunately don't get the chance.
However, this is a relatively minor criticism and certainly doesn't stop me from heartily recommending this show. It's slick, funny and at times goosebump enducing. One of the best shows you'll see at the Fringe this year – and one of the best acts that are currently gracing the world scene. Simply incredible.