Revv 52 in review

“I’m not allowed to swear ‘cause this is a church” remarked British consul-general Tony Kay at the start of Revv 52’s British Rhapsody Thursday evening .

“But this show is f….antastic!”

Kay was definitely correct In the sense of “fantastic” being unrestrainedly extravagant and mostly right about it being wonderful and remarkable. Performing the best of British pop from the 60s through today Revv 52 was clearly having a ball and it couldn’t help but rub off on an almost-full house at River Park United Church.

Although the 50-voice ensemble can sing quite well their sheer gusto was the standout quality. In the concert’s first half the choir was competent on “There’s a Kind of Hush” “Yesterday” and “A Whiter Shade of Pale” but they fared much better on songs that lent themselves to some hamminess.

Their performance of Tom Jones’ “Delilah” was the standout. Soloist Jory Rusnack brought the house down contributing both a soaring voice and an amusingly deranged stage presence as the song’s scorned lover. Other highlights included a suitably zany version of Bohemian Rhapsody and a James Bond Medley that opened Act 2 with the choristers exchanging their colourful wardrobe for more stylish black evening wear.

The only disappointments in Act 2 which featured more recent music were Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” overly familiar overplayed chesnuts that can’t yet claim to be classics. Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” however deserves to be remembered and soloist Robyn Hauck evoked the late singer with soul and sass.

While enjoyable musically however the concert’s scripted intervals mostly fell flat. A segment on the origin of women throwing their underwear at Tom Jones was cringe-inducing and an intro to Lily Allen’s “The Fear” that recounted growing up in a small town made little sense.

Less would have been more here since all the segments suffered in comparison to the music.

But Revv 52’s music seldom suffered in comparison to that of the original artists. Fantastic? There were a few missteps but in the parlance of Britain it was still a bloody good show.