The  Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is possibly the strangest gig I've ever been to, even by Steampunk standards. Meet Erik, Bengt, and Svante Drake: three shamelessly nerdy Swedes. It’s obvious from the beginning that we are not going to hear the 'virtuos [sic] music for the glowing bow' that we are promised but instead, something gloriously eclectic and quite possibly fantastic– how many virtuosos look like they might pillage your city if you don't applaud, then down a barrel of grog and sing a shanty? The concert that follows is an illustrative exemplar of Edward Lawrence's scientific Butterfly Effect theory, which acts as a thread running through the performance. We start with a butterfly in the Amazon and undertake an intercontinental journey that becomes increasingly unrealistic and eventually we get lost. The need for central focus recedes as we build a rapport with the performers and together become increasingly engrossed in the unfolding musical experimentation.Between Bengt's overwrought enthusiasm and Svante's monosyllabism, we might be put off by the dreadfully hammy theatrics, but this is music and not theatre. The 'plot' may be tenuous, but, given the set, attire and disposition of the performers (who are so perfectly socially inept that they become terribly endearing), it's fairly apt.A whole host of instruments feature in the show, from the more familiar accordion to ones I've never encountered before and ones that probably lack names. Particularly noteworthy were the wine-glass symphonies and the human voice box: beatboxing on demand was impressive, the audience input for genres astonishingly delivered. Interaction with the audience was well integrated – no barriers of any kind here. The phrase 'Jack of all trades, master of none' came to mind briefly, but that was a little harsh, since many of these are more noise-making devices than instruments, with no formal way of playing them or methods of certifiable mastery.By the time Erik lost his trousers, I thought the next thing to be removed would be him, and that would be that. Instead, the final flourish was the long-awaited performance of Vittorio Monti's Csárdás for strings ... on a pair of long johns. To find out how, go see it. Make no bones about it: to award this particular classical rendition four stars would be somewhat outrageous, but the overall experience of the show itself was a thoroughly feel-good one and I challenge anyone not to leave with a smile on their face.

Reviews by Fen Greatley

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The Blurb

Herald Angel Award 2010. 'Innovative beat-boxing, amplified bicycle, heavenly glass music ... truly virtuoso music-making' (Herald), 'Storytelling, dance, clowning, comedy with a sprinkling of chaos theory ... the most fun you can have in Edinburgh' (EdinburghSpotlight.com).

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