Edinburgh Fringe 2014
Describing themselves as "comedic musicians, Bowjangles bring us On the Box are Ezme Gaze, Bertie Anderson, Mitch McGugan and Ed Bruggemeyer. Here "Bowjangles present their TV parody On The Box! Non-stop humour, rousing songs and energetic dance routines from this rebellious string quartet."
On the Box invites to the day schedule of a new TV station. This scenario becomes the opportunity for a range of television programmes and films that span the genres and allow these hugely talented music and comedy performers to demonstrate their skills – individual and collective. It’s not for kids yet much of the comedyavoids harshness even if adult language and themes are covered. This is the comedy of music: routines are built around melodies and movement, with plenty of sight gags and physical interplay. Much of the humour arises from the dynamic between the performers and with the audience.
Violins, viola and cello are musical instruments, bows are swords and it would spoil it to tell you the inventive ways in which these instruments are used to evoke sports, dance, horror and so much more. It’s a diverse hour, the laughs never let up, with parody aplenty and a fair about of sketch style comedy.
What really delivers the quality here is a combination of factors. These musicians can really play. They are a tight team and the impressiveness of this togetherness forms a spectacle in its own right. The audience appreciate the core musical strength and accomplishement which formed a firm foundation for everything else. These musicians can also act and all have their own role in the comedy mix, creating a synergy where we have four two-legged comedians but also an eight-legged beast called entertaiment. Yes, they are all good individually- but collectively we have a synergy – and we delight in the four together as much as we enjoy the individual skills and performances.
Originating in street performance, Bowjangles are masters of the string comedy clown quartet. The show is at its peerless best when it is physical, supported by song and choreographed musical rendition. It’s a bit weaker when the troupe resort to spoken word comdy. Here the comedy is more uneven and too derivative in places. They are better physical comedy performers weaving in their inventive music routines than traditional sketch comedians. Yet it is all never less than good.
So much is offered, delivered so well, there were hoots and whoops of laughter from an audience ranging from child to octagenarian. All were amazed, delighted, tickled and entertained. A highly recommended hour of comedy-laced music.