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Igudesman and Joo! - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
Igudesman and Joo!
Building upon our unbelievably dense-packed theater calendar (note to self: Ask Omaha how we ended up with two shows a week during goddamned caucus season?), we went out last night to watch Igudesman and Joo, a pair of classical musicians known for a combination of sketch, physical comedy, and relentless in-jokes about classical composers and classical training, both of whom also have solo careers and reputations as quicksilver performers with pyrotechnic skills. Especially Igudesman who takes to the violin with the kind of verve usually reserved for heavy metal guitar solos.

They're best known for their YouTube channel, where they post routines from their original show, A Little Nightmare Music, such as Rachmaninoff Had Big Hands, a hilarious sketch about what it takes to play music composed by a huge German guy when you're a skinny little Korean kid.

Most of the work they did tonight was from their current sketch portfolio, And Now Mozart, which had some flatter parts, but was for the most part funny enough. They're talented, and it's sketch humor that builds on their working relationship. Both are in their forties, and they've been performing together since they were twelve (!), so there's a lot of material to mine. It's schmaltzy in places and touching in others, adorable from end to end. They're completely comfortable making fun of themselves and each other in public, and it all hangs together.

They make good use of the orchestra, both as a musical accompaniment to their routines, as a foil with which to show off the orchestra's own technical virtuosity, the lightning-fast changes in key, pace, and style when multiple pieces are mashed together in a classic "It's my turn to conduct" routine, for example, or another where the performers are asked to "do the wave" while continuing to play. The Seattle Symphony is one of the best, and we forget sometimes that they're not just musicians, they're performers with all the additional hours of training that goes into being comfortable on-stage, performing both drama and comedy.

The ending, a performance of "I Will Survive, as Mozart originally wrote it," was both amazing and rousing, and let the audience leave with a smile.

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Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: Rachmaninoff Had Big Hands

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