We sat down with any company/artist presenting at Ottawa Fringe (starting June 19th!) who wanted to chat about their upcoming shows. We gave them three minutes (approximately) to make their best case as to why we should pick them. We called it speed dating. From now through the day before Fringe starts we’re choosing one local, one national, and one international artist from those we talked to and previewing them here. Today’s local pick is Les Cherries’ Cherry on Top.
In Cherry on Top, three beautiful young women take the stage in a non-narrative show that’s part lighthearted comedy and part a cappella concert. Les Cherries drew inspiration from the film Dreamgirls and the parallels are obvious: a harmonizing trio sings popular songs in glamorous, custom-made dresses. Like many singing acts of yore, these women bring variety, a captivating stage presence, and humor to their show to make it much more than just a concert. Cherry on Top has been a hit across the river and this is its debut outside of Quebec, with an added fifteen minutes of material.
Founded in 2011, Les Cherries consists of graduates from the musical theater program at Collège Lionel-Groulx: Élise Corbeil, Camille Bourdeau, and Nathalie Niesing. Although they only perform covers (from Michael Jackson to Daniel Belanger), their arrangements are original and promise to bring a fresh sound to old favorites.
What I Liked About Cherry on Top
Ever since Glee hit the airwaves, there’s been renewed popular interest in contemporary a cappella music. For longstanding fans like me, this is both a blessing and a curse: more a cappella groups are emerging but not all of them are high-calibre. A quick peek at their YouTube videos will show that this is not a worry with Les Cherries. These girls have amazing harmonies and interesting approaches to well-known tunes.
Although the dialogue between ditties is in French, the jazzy songs are a mix of French and English as well as classics and modern hits. Anglophones need not worry as the power of music transcends language, as does the charisma and charm of the performers.
The simple staging and lighting will focus the audience’s attention on their performances, and offer a pared-back show that contrasts with some of the more over-the-top Fringe fare. Les Cherries describe the show as “a very simple show… three girls on stage singing a cappella and making people laugh”. Sometimes a cute, family-friendly, feel-good show is the best way to unwind or top off an evening of frantic and frenetic Fringe frenzy.
Les Cherries assured us, however, that there is an emotional range to the show: audience members can expect to feel happy, sad, irate, and energized throughout the evening. As much as I appreciate musical talent and enjoy a simple, feel-good show, it’s nice to hear that there’s something more to “Cherry on Top” than just three girls singing and telling jokes.
At the end of the day, however, it’s the three girls who sold me on “Cherry on Top”. It’s plain to see that these ladies have been friends for a long time as their interactions radiate an easy, natural warmth and love. Whether singing, cracking jokes, or just passionately talking about their show, each of the performer’s personality shines without overshadowing the others. Their playful teasing never comes across as forced or staged; clearly these women are just having a great time being together and that sort of energy is delightfully infectious.
For more information on Cherry on Top including show time and how to buy tickets, visit their show page on the Ottawa Fringe Festival website: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/cherry-on-top/