Reviewer: Dave Cunningham
Although The Sons of Pitches shot to fame as a cappella singers on TV’s The Naked Choir they seem determined to expand their range from being simply vocalists. SOP TV sees the group nudging towards ‘all round entertainers’ with comedy sketches based around the theme of TV shows.
The group also show their ambitions by branching out into song writing and use SOP TV to promote their new release of self-penned songs Don’t Fret. The Sons of Pitches are not the sort of group who will disappoint their fans so room has to be found for the songs with which audiences are already familiar from their TV appearances. The result is a show that, while satisfying the audience, has a sprawling and lengthy nature.
It is easy to identify with the formula for SOP TV; most people will, at some time, have sung along to the theme for Dr Who or Match of the Day. The sitcom Ally McBeal even featured a nightclub singer whose entire act comprised TV theme tunes. But the group do not limit themselves to an opening run through of famous TV themes or the war songs from Game of Thrones. SOP TV features a series of comedy sketches that demonstrate while the group might be talented vocalists they are not yet decent scriptwriters as the jokes rarely rise above basic.
One of the regular set-pieces of The Sons of Pitches is a routine whereby they perform songs on a theme and in a style suggested by the audience. To fit in with the concept of SOP TV the idea is adapted to a Count Down style quiz sketch. The audience is so enthusiastic that it seems they are almost playing the quiz game for real and, as a result, the sketch goes beyond the point at which it could conclude while still being funny. This is a common issue throughout SOP TV – the sketches tend to go on too long.
The tongue-in-cheek performance style of The Sons of Pitches lends itself towards comedy. There is something inherently humorous in people making sounds with their mouths. But this approach does not suit self-written songs. Unless the songs are intentionally comic songwriting is a craft that is taken very seriously and the self-penned songs do not fit comfortably within the light-hearted format,
It is easy to see how The Sons of Pitches attract such an enthusiastic audience. Quite simply the group are the real deal and are able to create a warm sense of community in their shows. They chat with the audience effortlessly recalling routines that they performed the last time they visited The Lowry. Their commitment to community projects is so wholehearted that the show opens with a curtain raiser by Rock Choir drawn from members of local choirs.
Although SOP TV is not as funny as one might wish and the sketches go on too long the warm atmosphere and the sincere sense that the group are having as much fun as the audience makes this very easily the happiest show in town.
Reviewed on 4 July 2017 | Image: Contributed