A Match Made in Harmony combines well known a Capella groups Ginger and Tonic, and Suade together in one hilarious show. The premise is similar to that of a speed dating evening. Apparently the Ginger & Tonic girl’s romantic situation hasn’t changed since last year’s Desperate and Dateless show, so A Match Made in Harmony gives them, and the guys from Suade, a chance to mingle and potentially pair up.
I have seen Ginger and Tonic perform a number of times, and have always been impressed by their tight harmonies, excellent pitch, and comedic talent. This was the first time I had seen the guys from Suade perform. The show included a lot of original numbers (all, I believe, apart from the closing medley), with lyrics that very specifically moved the story (and comedy) along. The harmonies were able to be more intricate with 8 voices and a wider vocal range, and also included a beatbox approach from the guys, which added further depth. There were however a number of pitch issues throughout the evening, from both male and female performers.
Normally when I see an a Capella group, the focus is all about the music – the purity of the sound. Often there is a comedy element, but it is the harmonies that are the reason for listening. A Match Made in Harmony is definitely more about the comedy. Not because the sound is bad – while there were some weak moments, overall it was very good. But because of the more involved storyline, the set and props, the detailed (and hysterical, if sometimes non PC) original lyrics, and the interactions between the 2 groups, the show is hilarious.
The plotline unfolds as the ‘characters’ mingle in various combinations. Laura Burzacott constantly bringing up the ‘ex’ Gary, Stefanie Jones warning the girls to ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Potential New Boyfriend’, Lawrence Blain explaining why ‘Everybody is Looking for that One Little Person’, Sava Djukic’s alphabetical womanising, Jane Patterson’s justified commitment issues, Emma Rules undertaking an ‘interfriendtion’, Chris Blain’s speed dating icebreaker questions and Luke Stevenson’s confusing transition from a complete lack of skill in chatting up women, to his rousing musical rendition about his love of promiscuity. That characterisation, and that of Djukic’s change from womanising mentor to guilt-ridden cheater, was extremely confusing and broke down the continuity. An issue that could have been largely resolved by swapping the songs those 2 characters sang.
Visually the show was a bit lacking. Simple subdued, coloured lighting effectively produced the atmosphere of a bar or club, including some mirror ball action, but the costume choices of matching charcoal grey suits and black shirts for Suade, and ‘little black dresses’ from Ginger & Tonic, against the black backdrop and dark stage was uninspired. Some splashes of colour, beyond Rule’s red belt, and the green candles on our tables, would have added visual interest.
Other than one momentary issue with a microphone not being turned on at the right time, the sound was excellent – from a technical perspective, and with the diction and clarity of the performers. I did not miss a single line of the often hilarious lyrics.
Overall, the show was fantastically entertaining, particularly from a comedic viewpoint. The 2 groups bounced off each other well, producing a very successful collaboration. Ending the night with a medley of well-known love songs, rather than another original song, really got the audience engaged and ended on a high note.