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Spaghetti Western Orchestra
Published on Tuesday, 13 October 2009

It's really exciting to see something this original during an event with the size and scope of the Brighton Comedy Festival - and the Spaghetti Western Orchestra do not disappoint, with their interesting mixture of comedy, music and Ennio Morricone. It's a slick and entertaining act, and the talent on display from the five-member orchestra is impressive. The comedy is gentle and sweet - which, combined with the musical finesse, makes for an entertaining evening. The show's only real issue is its lack of variety; tracks seem to get repeated, and a lot of Spaghetti Western music sounds horribly familiar. That being said, the evening is an enjoyable diversion, and the quality of the talent is undeniable.

The most intriguing thing about this show is its undeniable uniqueness. It's not your average comedy show, nor a typical Friday-evening act, but something new and different; in itself, an exciting prospect. Along with its originality, this show truly showcases some exceptional musical ability: alongside their traditional instruments (piano, drums, trumpet, double-bass), the Orchestra plays the oboe, the mandolin, the packing tape, the shoe and Cornflakes, and even the theremin (making it produce actual musical notes) - and that's to name but a few!  The ingenuity and ability on display is truly inspiring.

However, Spaghetti Western music doesn't seem to be enough of a metier to focus an entire show around - let alone an ongoing show concept. While each of the elements is well-produced, and the complete package is watchable, the concept is a little weak under scrutiny.

Spaghetti Western music often sounds similar, and the genre doesn't deliver a large enough back-catalogue. At least one piece of music was repeated in the show, and a lot of it sounded rather too familiar. Many of the musical tricks seemed to be in place not only for their comic effect, but also to create more variance in the pieces on display, which is a shame. Expanding the musical horizons of these talented musicians might help create a much more rounded and exciting show - especially when it starts hitting the hour/hour-and-a-half mark.

The Spaghetti Western Orchestra are well worth seeing for the originality and musicianship, but could do with a little more variety to live up to their excellent stage show. Having now toured the world - and being featured on radio and TV - it's worth catching this show before it takes the country by storm. Just don't expect anything beyond the limitations of Spaghetti Westerns and Ennio Morricone.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2009.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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