Cell Block Soweto: An A Cappella Gang Show
- Arusa Qureshi
- 14 August 2017
A light-hearted musical journey into South Africa past and present
When the five prisoners of Cell Block Soweto enter in their orange jumpsuits, they are surrounded by the most basic of staging with a projected image of the inside of a cell setting the scene. This is inconsequential though because as the show unfolds, their light-hearted, cheeky anecdotes and buoyant songs prove that nothing else is required.
The South African a capella show by After Freedom uses incarceration as a theme to interweave a number of songs with stories about escape, captivity and ill-fated love. Their opening medley of numbers, which includes Queen's 'I Want to Break Free', and Miley Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball', is unexpected in its make-up but their stunning vocal harmonies mesh perfectly together, creating versions that are lush and original. Along with pop songs, they sing African tunes, adding energetic and perfectly in-sync step dancing routines to mimic instruments.
A cappella can certainly be a hit or miss affair but here at Ghillie Dhu, Cell Block Soweto is proving to be an exception to this. The five performers deliver a show that is simple in its premise but executed with great flair, boundless energy and a sense of musical synergy, ultimately facilitating an uplifting experience that is truly good for the soul.
Ghillie Dhu, until 23 Aug (not 18–20), times vary, £12 (£10). Also Bar Bados, 20, 25–27 Aug, 2pm.