30 October 2006

Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen: From Here To There

MIAF 2006
From Here To There
Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen

26 October 2006
The Famous Speigeltent, Melbourne

In 2001 I noticed a dubious group of be-suited gentlemen roaming the Saturday markets in the far land of Canberra. For their musical antics I threw them some spare coins. They continue to be led around the globe by the enigmatic Mikelangelo. Last night I saw the Gentlemen in their true home - the Speigeltent. No longer begging for change, their sold out performance was greeted with well deserved cheering, foot stamping and hollering.

Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen’s new show, From Here to There, proved a hit at the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe. Their original music, unique characters and nefarious comedy makes for some damn fine cabaret.

If you are familiar with the Gentlemen’s antics, this show is full of new material, without forsaking the old favourites. Watching members of the audience mouthing, “sodomy is not just for animals” was a highlight. Nearly as high as Mikelangelo’s pants and his newly acquired bathing costume.

The increased theatricality of this show, allows each gentlemen to display their own unusual talents. The Great Muldavio’s taxidermy monologue is not easily forgotten and Guido Libido will have you yearning for the simple delights of the silent cinema.

But do not fear - Mikelangelo does not let the greatness of his gentlemen detract from his own greatness. Mikelangelo is pure charm, mixed with mystery, a dash of macabre and a hint of obscene. He also writes the music, which you will find yourself humming for days after - if you don’t immediately buy a CD.

I have seen no one comparable to the Black Sea Gentlemen, but they do remind me of The Tiger Lillies. Even if Mikelangleo and Martyn Jacques do sing at opposing ends of the vocal spectrum, and the Gentlemen are slightly more gentlemanly with their choice of subject matter. 'Formidable Marinade' is a veritable romantic song next to 'Masturbating Jimmy'. (I have a Mikelangelo song chosen if I ever have a wedding and a Tiger Lillies’ track if I ever have a funeral.)

Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen really do get better and better each time I see them. From Here to There has struck an ideal balance between structure and improvisation, with stunning music and eye-wiping comedy.

There are few opportunities to see the show in Australia this year, but 2007 promises more visits around the country. If you haven’t spent a night of pleasure with the Gentlemen, don’t miss them.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com

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