'Gumbo Jumbo'

Performed by the gogmagogs at the Unity Theatre

Review by Colin Serjent

The gogmagogs, comprising seven classically trained young musicians, produced an evening to remember at the Unity Theatre. Not only did they perform stirring and evocative music, using violins, viola, cello and double bass, but they had other strings to their bow in the form of outrageous comedy, tragic farce, poetry, opera singing and inventive theatre.

'Gumbo' is the name of a classic stew - where all available ingredients are thrown into the mix - perfectly encapsulating the way this show was devised and directed by the co-founder of the company Lucy Bailey, along with one of violinists, Neil Catchpole.

The show opened with a surreal performance of classical music played in total darkness, except for the fluorescent shoes and masks worn by the seven musicians.

The surreal quality then continued throughout the rest of the show, with a series of quirky and often spectacular acts.

The music was very diverse, encompassing classical to Madagascan dance rhythms, big band blues, and pieces by ambient musician Roger Eno and jazz player Mike Westbrook.

They played their instruments sometimes while lying flat-out on the floor, standing on chairs, in their underwear, and in other bizarre situations!

There was a transfixing end to the show amid a revolving glitter ball, with white flower petals and white balloons floating down from the ceiling, with the performers dressed in glittering costumes.

In the final sequence they moved among the audience while playing music, with my friend being serenaded by a violinist. She did not expect that to happen when she arrived at the theatre!