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Review: Testostatones, Totally Christmas

second from left is stephen amer, he is in the barber shop quartet the testosta tones.

Stephen has been told he can no longer click his fingers as he performs due to repititive strain injury.

In pic are other members 
Brother paul
And cousins bim and richard.

CREDIT: Ferini Art Gallery   

For: Tony Carroll

second from left is stephen amer, he is in the barber shop quartet the testosta tones. Stephen has been told he can no longer click his fingers as he performs due to repititive strain injury. In pic are other members Brother paul And cousins bim and richard. CREDIT: Ferini Art Gallery For: Tony Carroll

What a great new addition to Great Yarmouth's offering of Christmas music the Lowestoft-based Testostatones proved to be on Saturday (December 5), with their own brand of 1950s-inspired doo-wap style singing. The quartet makes acapella look and sound so easy, yet it hides an incredible array of vocal talent.

Little wonder their close harmony is so close, since they are all related and grew up together with a love of music. They are brothers Stephen and Paul Amer and their cousins, two more brothers Richard and Bim Ainslie.

Almost 25 years ago they were all members of the Dusmagrik Young People’s Theatre Company and appeared together at St George’s Theatre in a production of Bugsy Malone. Since then they have all pursued music and performing in a variety of ways including forming the Testostatones ,which has taken them all over the UK with concerts, major corporate events, social functions and an appearance on BBC Radio Two.

On Valentine’s Day this year, they returned to St George’s for the first time for a sell-out, which proved one of the most successful concerts staged at the venue. A follow up with a Christmas programme was a natural progression.

Their range and harmony is so varied and excellently executed and there are, of course, so many seasonal songs to include. We were treated to plenty of them from Elvis to Bing Crosby, from Louis Armstrong to Michael Bublé and the inevitable finale of White Christmas complete with a shower of artificial snow.

They added plenty of costume changes and other touches, not least the occasional use of dancers Michaelaa Grimes and Asha Notarianni choreographed by Jennifer Dunnell of Nabjab Dance and Performing Arts based in Yarmouth.

The whole evening was linked with a typical yuletide fireside where Grandad (played by Paul Ashby who also doubled up as Santa Claus) and his grandson (Tom Scoggins) shared memories and old LPs. After a slightly hesitant start, this quickly gelled and led us into each sequence. This was never better than the way it took us to the First World War and the famous Christmas truce between the British and Germans – Richard singing Silent Night high above from the theatre’s balcony was so moving. And young Tom at just 12 also surprised us with his amazing confident voice in a solo rendering of It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas which brought the house down.

This perfect serving of festive entertainment deserves to be an annual event. Meanwhile the guys are back on February 13 at St George’s with another programme of musical pleasure.

Review by TONY MALLION

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