On The Box!

Fri 1st – Sat 23rd August 2014

reviews

Fay Watson

at 09:33 on 10th Aug 2014

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I have never seen anything like this before. The quirky Bowjangles quartet have chemistry and professionalism that comes from spending six years together. Yet, their new show "On The Box!" couples this with enthusiasm, energy and a good dose of 'punny' silliness. This is pure, indulgent fun that I want to relive again and again. The show is an amalgam of singing, dancing, and playing tennis all whilst achieving the small feat of playing instruments superbly.

Attempting to narrow the show down to highlights is an impossibility as the sheer delight of the sketches is universal. It takes us through a day of television in Bowtopia on the Bowjangles Broadcasting Corporation (BSBC) from the opera soap Bow Street to the mixed doubles event in the Bowlympics. The innovative presentations and remarkable methods of making music inspire both laughter and awe. The personal highlight for me, however, was the Strictly Come Dancing parody - the athleticism of this moment means that watching a Charleston will never be quite so impressive again without the integration of a cello. Remarkably, they even made daytime TV seem somewhat bearable.

By the end of the show, you begin to forget where the performers end and their instruments begin. They move with them so entirely that even watching them tune them is mesmerizing. The sharply dressed quartet in their bow ties, waistcoats and dresses have no weaknesses. Their acting, singing, dancing, comedic timing and instrument playing are faultless. If there was ever such a thing as a quintuple threat, then Ed Bruggemeyer, Ezme Gaze, Bertie Anderson and Mitch McGugan are the epitome of it. They charmed their way around the stage and brought out smiles and awe on the faces of adults and children alike.

If pushed for a slight criticism, it would be over my confusion of what the intended age range was. Whilst the majority feels perfect for children, there are moments when the adult comedy dominates.

More than simple fun, this is also a slick, aesthetic performance. It has an effective yet simple set of four chairs that were manipulated better than some stages in West-End Shows. Andy Webb's lighting is also a treat and at its best when fading in and out at breakneck speed in time with the instruments.

I am envious of anyone who gets to see it for the first time and experience, with child-like wonderment, the amazing talent of these four. It is bow-mazing and you'd be stupid to miss it.

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Patrick Galbraith

at 10:38 on 10th Aug 2014

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“Bowjangles on the Box!” is brought to the Fringe by the hugely accomplished Bowjangles string quartet and follows a day of BBJC Broadcast (the Bowjangles Broadcasting Company). The sketches or rather, the programmes, are an amalgam of performing arts talent, combining physical drama with comedy, singing and dancing.

I have fallen in love and I refuse to temper my gushiness one little bit. Bowjangles are sublime. The idea is impressively original and the music wonderful. The whole thing is just so stylish. “Bowjangles On the Box” is certainly easy viewing but in the best way possible, for it makes very good music so accessible. Despite the show’s intelligence there’s nothing difficult about it, it’s all just such a pleasure. The choreography of the show is impressively sharp. The athleticism of the “matinee film”, Zoro, is hugely impressive, featuring a swash-buckling bow fight - the quartet leaping across the stage with their instruments.

Bowjangles satirical take on daytime is particularly amusing - the operatic “soap opera” follows the lives of a philandering string quartet. Never have I imagined that I would ever see something so close to a cello having sex with a violin. The cellist, Ezme Gaze’s performance as a devious seductress is excellent. Her use of facial expressions is very impressive and hugely funny. It is enjoyable to hear the William Tell overture during the Bowlympics programme or even Rhianna’s Umbrella during the weather forecast but it is really amazing to hear the quartet playing music they have written themselves for the creation of sound effects.

The “orgasm”, played by Gaze on the cello and Mitch Mcgugan on the violin is so poignant and the movement of the ball in the Bowlympics tennis match is equally good. Whilst these scenes are good fun they are also fascinating displays of the way in which music can so perfectly convey meaning.

Bowjangles was completely charming, sexy and so much fun. The man at the box-office told me that some people were back for their fifth time this Fringe. I told him that I would never really go to see something twice. I now take that back entirely; I want to go again this afternoon and perhaps tomorrow too.

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