Teatro will sell bucketloads no matter what anyone thinks...
Michael Quinn 2007-11-23
Teatro follow the tried-and-tested formula that has delivered a seemingly unending conveyor belt of machine-assembled acts into the public arena with scant regard for originality or the incrementally numbing effect of so many soft-edged, air-brushed, over-produced, monotonously anonymous voices on the hapless listener.
Except that there is the germ of an idea here: Teatro isn’t just another crossover opera act; it's a crossover music theatre act! So instead of opera lollipops, we’re treated to standards from popular musicals.
Teatro's website gleefully declares that the 'outstanding vocal talent of four good looking young men' (don’t be bashful lads, say what you mean!) has already earned them the epithet of 'Theatreland’s First Supergroup' although they forget to credit their admirer. (Take a bow, you backroom boys and girls in Sony/BMG’s press room.) The review copy of their eponymously titled debut arrived without biographies of the foursome or any indication of who was singing what when, but in truth such detail is wholly incidental to what's on offer: a blend of inoffensive voices in arrangements that err on the side of soupy sentimentality.
That said, the whole is carried off with a pleasantly laid-back, close-harmony confidence that eventually begins to charm. Vocal performances operate within a broad enough tonal and dynamic range to find sufficient degrees of emotion and drama without ever diluting the material or, happily enough, bloating the delivery of it.
All four singers have a theatre background which they put to competent use, occasionally pulling a plum out of the pie by doing the unexpected, not least in a thumping version of "Luck Be A Lady" that verges on the sacrilegious but succeeds precisely because of its winning conviction.
While it all self-evidently smacks of one-size-fits-all production and selling-by-numbers packaging, on its own terms this pleasant enough debut succeeds, and does so with a touch more integrity and honesty than some! Whether it’s authentic music theatre is another matter altogether and, largely, neither here nor there. Four pretty young boy-men, production values as silky and smooth as they are calculated and cynical, and a hefty marketing campaign gearing up for the Christmas market. Teatro will sell bucketloads no matter what anyone thinks or says about their creative credentials.