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The Canterbury Festival is now in full swing, with daily theatre, music, comedy and cultural events across the city until 4th November. Following my coverage of Luxmuralis: Renaissance last month, I headed to The Great Hall at Kent College for my first cabaret act of the festival in the form of Graffiti Classics: a string quartet who combine their musical talents with comedy in a musical revue-style performance. They performed in Canterbury for one night only, having last performed at the festival in 2020. When choosing what to cover as part of the festival, I was particularly intrigued by the group, keen to see how they would make something as serious as classical music funny.
Classical music with a twist
Graffiti Classics travel internationally with their musical comedy show, which features legendary classical pieces including Bach and Strauss, physical comedy and lots of audience interaction. It’s a combination that I honestly thought would never work, but when you have such fun personalities on stage, the possibilities are endless.
The show involves a lot of cheesy humour, with references to cruising and the fact that nobody buys CDs anymore. The first couple of times the comments are funny, but unfortunately it gets overdone in places.There are lots of moments of interaction with the audience, where different corners of the room get to clap along or join in with the singing. Lots of banter follows when the audience evidently gets their part wrong and this slightly tiresome theme actually runs throughout the whole show, with lead performer Cathal Ó Dúill constantly poking fun.
Combining movement and music
I was impressed by how movement and choreography is intertwined into the material. The dance moves are simplistic, but it makes for a far more dynamic show than having the musicians stand still. There is a specific moment where the entire company ends up playing their instruments whilst lying on the floor and it is just brilliant! Even more so when Ó Dúill joins them on the huge double bass, with the audience howling with laughter at the large instrument on the floor.
Strength in strings
Of all of the components within the show, for me the combination of strings is where the strength lies. The singing sections aren’t up to the same standard, but at least they are presented in a fun and comical way, not taking the vocals too seriously. I would have liked to have seen more tricks with the instruments instead, as this is what really makes the group stand out.
A fun ending
The show includes a few Celtic numbers and at times the dancing musicians made me think of the performers in Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. Funnily enough they end the performance with the song of the same name, even attempting the arm movements in a line that are synonymous with the show. This is such a fun and clever way to close the performance, simplifying the classic choreography and making it work with the motions used to play string instruments.
Graffiti Classics provide a light hearted variety show, which is full of famous classical pieces and entertaining choreography. The comedy sections are slightly polarising given their panto vibe, but overall I really enjoyed the diverse musical programme with a comedy twist. Tickets to future Canterbury Festival performances can be purchased via the event’s website.
Thanks for reading my blog today.
Love Kat xxxx
*My ticket for Graffiti Classics was gifted in exchange for a review.