St James Theatre, Wellington, September 23
Reviewed by Colin Morris
Spoiler alert! No cats were hurt in this show (I think). In what can only be described as two hours of merriment, laugh-out-loud, astounding musical ability, mayhem and pure theatre the Mnozil Brass ensemble tore through a repertoire that included German folk songs, a medley of James Bond tunes, the Superman theme and a pure jazz version of Joe Zawinul's Birdland which had the entire audience clicking their fingers in time.
This seven-piece Austrian band, made up of three trombones, three trumpets, a tuba and occasionally (I was informed) a bass trumpet that looked uncannily like a mini tuba, reduced the near-capacity audience to tears and gasps of incredulity, such was the dexterous ability with which they served us a smorgasbord of musical delights mixed with deadpan humour.
I have no idea of the number of pieces of music played in the space of 10 minutes or so. We were subjected to musicians playing to an empty music stand, another piece of music that took the entire number to be assembled (noisily), another musician throwing the sheet music across the stage before it was recovered by the seemingly incompetent trombone player - who lost the plot when a rolled-up piece of sheet music was thrown into the audience (and returned) and eventually burnt.
While that was going on, one of the trumpet players started taking photos on his cellphone of various members, the audience and himself. That the number finished up with a copy of The Dominion Post on the music stand came as no surprise. This was the Marx Brothers let loose on a grand scale.
Oh, and did I mention the blow- up doll, the sawed violin and an Olympic tribute that included synchronised swimming? A flat- out two hours of excellence that hopefully will return soon.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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