The Harmonettes Go Into Orbit, Gryphon Venues at the Point Hotel, Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The Harmonettes is such a sparkling love letter to the era, Edinburgh is at risk of overflowing with a boom of vintage aficionados.
This romp of a show is set in 1956 and packed with hits from the period. It’s an expertly crafted feel-good musical laced with charming self-depreciating humour and a sprinkling of tongue-in-cheek feminism. An intricately woven script includes plenty of nostalgic references, high-energy dance numbers and the potential for the most amusing scripted audience participation at the festival.
Bringing together three very different girls; a homely newlywed (played by Sarra Cooper), a glamorous rich girl (Charlotte Jones) and an intellect with a sad secret (Georgina West), the script lightly pokes fun at the values of the era as the ladies dance in and out of character and ultimately come together to do what they all love – sing.
Audience members who can relate to the more specific gags had a ball and the three ladies’ harmonies were pitch-perfect on songs like ‘Rock Around the Clock’.
A balance and momentum to the merriment is perfectly achieved by author and director Janys Chambers; references to today’s current affairs and the Fringe festival itself are expertly executed.
What most impressed aside from the script was how the energy of the performance never faltered throughout the show and allowed for one laugh to tumble endlessly off the back of another.
The professionalism and modesty of the three actresses is undeniable and makes the Harmonettes a must-see show. When forced to handle one scene completely snatched from under their feet by an enthusiastic audience participant, they do so with grace and improvise even more laughs into the script (“Eddie darling – you’re stealing focus!”).
The Harmonettes Go Into Orbit, 5pm, Gryphon Venues at the Point Hotel, Bread St
By Heather O’Donnell