“Funny, impressive and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before”
My early front-runner for most bonkers show of the year is this one: an all-male tap-dancing string quartet from Russia with a penchant for wearing funky hats. Oh, and that’s before they change into rollerblades and charge around the stage while still playing their instruments. You have to see it to believe it.
I’m no classical music aficionado (though I did have a rather painful year learning to play the violin at the age of 7), but to me the musicianship was spot on. I paid very close attention to check whether the boys were actually playing the instruments (just to be sure), and can confirm that yes, it’s all live, and all note-perfect.
This is far from being your average string quartet concert: right from the off it is set up as a comedy piece too, as the boys begin to play around as soon as their maestro has left the stage. It starts small – standing up, sitting, down and swapping seats – but before you know it they’ve burst into a full-blown tap routine (while still playing), without any effect on the quality of the sound. And that’s just the beginning of the madness.
Musically we get everything from Tchaikovsky to Timberlake, and on the whole it just flows seamlessly together as if originally written that way. There’s not a sheet of music or music stand in sight, so extra kudos to the quartet for merging so many pieces of music together and learning it all so well they can perform it while dancing – this really is impressive stuff.
This is very close to being a five star show, it is just a little disappointing that the troupe seem to pull out all of their best tricks in the first half of the performance, so the second half is spent wondering what will happen next, given that most of their cards are already on the table. Later on they also rely on recorded sound to support their playing, when the wow-factor in the first half comes from just the four performers and their instruments.
It’s funny, impressive and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I would definitely recommend it for those looking for something a little different this Fringe.
Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 14 August)