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Review: Axiom: The Fundamentals of A Cappella at Paradise at Augustines - Ed Fringe

Review by Carly Fisher

The Edinburgh Fringe scene is not short of an A Cappella group! Attracting singers from around the UK, and sometimes beyond, if A Cappella is your thing, you’re certainly spoiled for choice in August at Ed Fringe. So when rumours of this being ‘the best of the best’ start to spread, of course, you want to check it out!

I will admit that I only caught 2 A Cappella shows this Fringe so am in no position to comment on which group could earn ‘best of the best’ title. I can say though that the sophistication of Axiom’s ‘Fundamentals of A Cappella’ would make them a hard group to top.

The experience in this group is clear in both their stage presence and in the complexities of the arrangements themselves. Comprised largely of graduates of A Cappella university groups around the country, this group does not let their full time jobs or the fact that they rehearse mainly on zoom as they are based all around the country, detract from their creativity, ambitiousness in song and precision in movement.

The solos here hit! When a group member goes for a riff or a truly challenging high note, they go with confidence and execute expertly. As a group, their harmonies are tight and their choreo considered.

I really appreciated the concept of this show. Not trying to create a storyline that wasn’t there, instead, the group breaks down for the audience what goes into an A Cappella group’s success - what are the fundamentals of this art form. It’s entry level information that could probably have been expanded on more for those with a deeper interest but as an introduction, it is great fun and as a show’s narrative concept goes, it was a great choice!

With only 11 in the group, I do wish that they’d taken a minute to introduce themselves - we had time for it without them going over their slot’s limit and it would have been wonderful to firstly acknowledge them as individuals as well (especially as I cannot find a program with names, etc) and also to learn more about where they fit in the group. In one of the fundamentals, some of the group raised their hands as the sopranos, the altos, the beat boxers, etc but we didn’t get round to the whole group and I would have loved to know.

The performance that I saw was musical director Charlie’s final show and the respect that the group has for Charlie and their bond as a group was palpable. I imagine there were many tears shed as they stepped off that stage. It was beautiful to watch.

The group has two beatboxers which we are informed is not the norm and they are excellent! Specialising in different vocal tones and skills, the two compliment each other fabulously and support every song with such unique and complex beats and sounds! I was thrilled that they pulled this out as a fundamental of A Cappella - I could have watched a whole song of the two of them playing off each other!

I wish that there had been a few more songs that the audience would really have known - I just found myself so much more impressed by the rearrangement, and creativity in achieving them, when I knew the song. It was a good balance and certainly there were enough that were well known that you had opportunities to really recognise this skill, I just would have loved even more.

As far as vocalists in the group, it was Meg (I’m sorry I couldn’t find your surname) who stood out for me the most with a beautiful alto voice and such well developed form. Georgia is clearly the belter in the group and shines throughout the show - gorgeous vocals but also such stage presence!!

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my hour at Axiom’s show, set in the beautiful Paradise at Augustines venue - a perfect choice!

I believe that this group performs around the UK and I would absolutely recommend seeing them when they are in a city near you.

Image Supplied


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