Edinburgh Fringe 2012: The Magnets – Homegrown


★★★

Claire White

The Magnets have earned the title as a ‘Fringe household’ name and we were yet to stumble across the 6-piece throughout their Fringe ventures in years past.

This year, the group brought their show ‘Homegrown’ to the Assembly Hall on the mound for two weeks only. The hour provides a showcase of British music – very fitting for this year’s Olympics closing ceremony and the ‘symphony of British music’.

Unsure what to expect, the massive queue was a good place to start with people all around discussing how their previous shows were excellent – an obvious good sign that everyone had returned.

The 6-piece harmonise together fantastically showcasing the human voice is a great instrument, and who needs a band when you have your voice.

With clearly rehearsed slick dance routines, matching outfits and even the added touch of silver chairs; they project the boy band image from the start – despite technically not falling directly into that category. This to us was a slight downfall, as watching grown men carry out dance routines whilst singing felt more like a ‘boy band reunion’ concert.

The group take known songs and make them their own; in some cases this meant the songs felt like they had lost their touch a little as they become almost unrecognisable, but this does showcase the band can completely change classic songs into something new and refreshing.

Our favourites in their show have to be their re-take on Emeli Sande’s ‘Next To Me’, Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’ and Elbow’s ‘One Day Like This’. In particular, the Elbow track showcased their talent with ease adding all the instrumental elements using vocals alone.

As the group described ‘everyone’s favourite Magnet’ Andy Frost proved exactly why he holds that title. It’s extremely hard to believe that one man can do so much with his voice alone. With the drum kit sketch, it was very clever and an amazing way to showcase his insane talent. The audience was quite literally sat with their mouths open in amazement at his vocal skills.

Letting the audience put together their own song was a great idea, this also added a tongue-in-cheek element with categories like ‘boyband’ meaning Take That and ‘Stadium’ Coldplay.

Overall it was a great show, but some members in the group over-shine the rest and do not get the time to show off their unique skills. It was more suited to a slightly older crowd, as a few children in the crowd seemed lost at the ‘older’ British classics. The boy band factor was a little over-played for us, but for an acapella group they did use the entire space throughout. Another show that made us realise just how great the human voice can be when you know how to use it. Never-the-less the crowd gave the group a standing ovation!

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