Antonio Forcione Group

Assembly George Square

From 16 August 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: *****

Review by David Chadderton

Italian guitar virtuoso Antonio Forcione has been a Fringe regular for quite a few years now, although his line-up of accompanying musicians has often changed.

This year's show is billed as a journey through his biggest hits, although some of the crowd-pleasers he always used to include, such as "Touch Wood" and his version of Marvyn Gaye's hit "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" are absent.

There are a few numbers from last year's Sketche of Africa, but there are a few from earlier albums such as the wonderfully energetic "Tarantella", featuring a show-stopping performance from Forcione's long-time collaborator cellist Jenny Adejayan. He ends (as long as you shout him back for an encore, but who wouldn't?) with a very funny piece called "Slap and Tickle" with percussionist Anselmo Netto, in tribute to Forcione's favourite Italian film-maker Federico Fellini.

Diminutive Brazilian percussionist Netto, who all-but disappears behind his huge kit supplemented with things that were never intended to be musical instruments, provides some comic relief elsewhere in the show as he is forced, with a sheepish look on his face like a teenager being forced to perform his party piece for relatives, to dance in order to play the bells on his ankles.

The foursome is completed by Matheus Nova, also from Brazil on acoustic bass, between them creating a great sound with its roots in jazz but with influences from around the world. On top of this is Forcione's unique sound, blending many different ways of creating music from his instrument that enable him to play lead, bass and percussion simultaneously, even when playing solo.

As always, Forcione has superb technical accompaniment on lighting and sound, making this a slick and impressive show as well as a thoroughly entertaining one.