The tickets may have been highly coveted, but were they worth it? Danielle Rayner reviews All the King’s Men: Knight Fever for us.
Returning to the Fringe for their fourth successive year and attaining their second consecutive official sell-out, the all-male a cappella assemblage from King’s College London was certainly back to Edinburgh with a bang.
It can be difficult to compile a repertoire which pleases teens and grandparents alike, but the Men didn’t seem to have any problems. Starting with an excellent arrangement of Chris Brown’s ‘Forever’, the group moved seamlessly from pop hit to 1960s classic and from Eric Clapton to Carly Rae Jepson. Moments of comical choreography created a fine contrast to the more emotive numbers, and the addition of a tap dance break from vocalist Rory Hill in Olly Murs’s ‘Dance With Me Tonight’ was a particular crowd-pleaser. The up-tempo numbers were attacked with boundless energy and the rhythmical intricacies in John Mayer’s melancholy ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ were handled with impressive flair. With dynamic soloists and a consistently strong bass section, All the King’s Men maintained vocal precision throughout.
Unlike the semblance of many other collegiate a cappella groups, which conformed to the Glee stereotype, All the King’s Men was not annoyingly hubristic but rather alluringly homespun. The Men connected superbly with the audience and executed Knight Fever! with a modest charm which left the audience begging for more.
At their final show, fringe-goers were literally queuing around the block to get a ticket. All the King’s Men have asserted themselves as the cream of the collegiate a cappella crop, and I have no doubt that they’ll be back next year for a longer run.