Excalibow features a String quartet consisting of Mitch McGugan (first violin), Ollie Izod (violin), Bertie Anderson (viola), and Ezme Gaze ('cello) who are all talented musicians on their respective instruments and they’ve got a lot more to offer than Pachelbel’s Canon. As Bowjangles, they use choreography, song, comedy and a healthy dollop of self-awareness that completely alters your idea of what a string quartet can be. These quadruple-threat performers present a show that starts out simple enough – a series of stories based around the myths and folktales of the UK that quickly becomes a fourth-wall breaking Faustian quest to save one member of the group from an eternity of torment.
All perfectly orchestrated to entertain
It’s a completely original format for a show that never drags. The cast have an abundance of charisma and chemistry with each other that makes an hour in their company a delight. Each gets a chance to shine and to be funny. As collaborative writers, they clearly understand the importance of character, pacing, and a witty aside. Anderson’s excellent musical arrangements deserve particular mention as we experience covers of everything from AC/DC to ABBA and quite a few ingenious mash-ups along the way. The music throughout the show is a fantastic selection of recognisable hits that would be entertaining enough without all the other incredible action and comedy going on.
The show is a whimsical and hilarious adventure through music and there’s plenty to delight. Some of the jokes are pitched at those who know a little about music but this isn’t elitist or snobbish and, even if you don’t know your pizzicato from your tremolo, you’ll still get the gag. Also, these guys aren’t afraid of a good pun and they absolutely embrace the bad ones but it’s all perfectly orchestrated to entertain. Make it your quest to gather a fellowship and set out to see this show; you’ll be greatly rewarded by these Lords of the Strings.