KATE MASON kneels before ‘all the aspects of the best Fringe shows: comfortable audience participation, singing, unusual costumes and bongo drums’
Edinburgh Fringe: C Central
Performed by Nick Goodwin, Hal Munby & Charlie Cotton
We’ve seen their mandolin-based flirting up and down the Royal Mile for days now, so it comes as no surprise that eighty percent of Truly Medley Deeply’s audience is female. I am cynical. How can three geek-chic Cantabs dressed as comedy superheroes occupy an hour-long set with a few pop covers? True, they tore up every May Ball going this year, but hyperactively drunk exam-free undergrads are a fairly forgiving crowd. And C Central’s Cabaret Bar appears rather a boozing than a bopping venue.
But the bar is perfect. Perched on stools, we are cluttered closely together near the stage, cosying up to the trio. As for the outfits, they are unthreatening and cheerfully childlike, not unlike the group members themselves.
This is central to Truly Medley Deeply’s appeal. They are so far from cool – with their enthusiasm, dodgy dancing and single, cheesy joke – that they become, somehow, cool. The group’s delivery taps into the zeitgeist that made Glee Club so popular. More than once, hordes of dancing audience-members leap unannounced onto the stage, liberated by the affable trio’s lack of self-consciousness. Indeed, the enthusiasm in the Cabaret Bar audience wouldn’t be out of place in America, which is saying something.
Close to the front sit TMD’s core audience: a bunch of devout-looking girls, bobbing and mouthing nervously. These are probably the same lot that go crazy for male Oxbridge a cappella groups, but this trio’s pre-worked medleys are far more impressive and amusing. They act as a kind of musical word search: you become dimly aware of some Gaga minutes before the fully worked Poker Face finally arrives from within Summer of ’69. It has the same impact as if they had played a song you’ve had in your head all day.
The ‘Medley Book’ is a bold move. The trio pass it round the audience, asking for song suggestions to improvise a new medley. True, there is some heavily un-slick faffing when the book reaches the stage – and they didn’t do my song – but the childlike excitement of each when their song arrives is more than worth the wait. Even the esteemed editor of this section, Toby ‘too cool for audience participation’ Parker-Rees emits a (coyly) excited exclamation when his song (Next Episode by Dr Dre, Parker-Rees fans) is played.
Truly Medley Deeply’s set has all the aspects of the best Fringe shows: comfortable audience participation, singing, unusual costumes and bongo drums. Most importantly, you leave with a glow of enjoyment that more than makes up for the free one-man revival of Evita you misguidedly attended earlier that day.