X-Factors' G4 Thrill Their Fans


Theatre Severn

7 September 2018

It was so long ago 2004 in fact when G4 burst onto our screens coming second on series two of X-Factor. In that time G4 have been busy splitting, reforming and sorting out new personnel. However having done that they brought us a new genre, that of Cross-over, offering up classic pop songs as classical music and classical music was given  the contemporary twist . The formula works and what they have created a kind of Neuvo-Classique that is not only intriguing but also highly entertaining.

For those who pride themselves in exclaiming they have never watched the X-Factor. Initially I would say it can’t be avoided given the fact that apart from reality TV. it has given us most of our pop singers for the last fifteen years. However we might have thanked the X-Factor for not doing that but they ignored us and keep pumping out over emotional female singers and boys, who the day after they stopped looking cute and 20, vanish faster that a bottle of Scotch on Hogmanay. Not so G4.

They offer up a sound so rich and so powerful. But some of the songs they sang might have been better left in their original genre, however some transposed beautifully and the four lads  belted out some real classics.

So the boys held court and the packed house suggested they were amongst friends. They were occasionally flanked by a huge children’s choir. They were from the new academy that is appearing throughout the UK, The Pauline Quirk Academy. As the lads tour the U.K. they are joined by what they called, PQAs. Tonight’s came from Telford and Wrekin, Wolverhampton and Bridgnorth and it was obvious they had been working very hard for their appearance. I hoped they enjoyed the experience, it must have been such fun. Technically I might have been inclined to mike the children up better than they were but they had a good sing, regardless.

They do seem to be a very unselfish band as they listen to each other and are happy to share their stage. Consequently they were joined by Mary Jess, the winner of the Chinese X Factor. That seemed like a random fact but she was a very credible soprano and sang beautifully.

It was all beautifully sung. There wasn’t a single note out of place if there had have been it would have stuck out like a crooked picture in an art gallery. But no, these lads can really sing extremely well. All trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and one could really tell. Excellent voices each...

Offering up tracks from the likes of Bowie, Radio Head, Boys Own and Queen, the show rocked along nicely with a good balance between classical track and the pop songs. Some pop songs however are a little vacuous and when given the powerful classic G4 treatment the prosaic nature of the lyrics seem to be strongly highlighted.  Why can’t they sing just opera then? You may be asking yourself. The answer is, just because they can doesn’t mean they have to perpetually. It is obvious they have immense fun putting this crossover music together as the arrangements have the ability to be simply breath taking.

There was a danger however that they were doing the thinking for the audience and when they offered up an overly mushy song about heroes, they launched it by telling everybody the Army and The Navy and Air Force are heroes that keep the world safe. They waited for the cheer and in fact, none came. The subject was way too controversial for the evening but they expected a cheer. It was an awkward moment and it fell flat. Half the world, the half we are always fighting, might have something to say about that. But it really is far too much a moral maze to be introduced in a simple concert. Had they been raising funds for the services it might have been appropriate but it wasn’t and the audience were befuddled. The song wasn’t a particularly memorable one either.

The first half was amazing it went from strong song to strong song, not too much messing about they got on with and delivered a very exciting first half. But as the pundits often say, it was a game of two halves. Whether it was because one’s ears had got used to their golden style and tired a little of it by the second half, is hard to judge; but there was an energy drop from the stage. Iit seemed the second half wasn’t nearly as good as the first. Strange, but is crossover better in small doses?

The answer to that however to the crowd, would have been a resounding NO. They were extremely popular, especially with the ladies. But these singers should always be known as the Cool Kings of the Crossover and as a consequence their style was appreciated by both genders in the house.

For that reason alone one could recommend a G4 show. They do deliver note after perfect note. It isn’t a cerebral exercise any thoughts of high or low brow art are forgotten it is four affable lads with a magical Music Director (Rich Jones)  singing songs. Nothing highly sophisticated, no clever theatre tricks, just four seriously good entertainers holding the attention of a packed house for nigh on two hours. It suggests to one they have a winning formula and must exploit it. One believes G4 will be with us for a long time yet. Good on them!

This is a Four Star Review

Owen J.Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to loveshrewsbury.com for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

Read More from Sofia Lewis