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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2011 arrow Worbey and Farrell: Well Strung!
Worbey and Farrell: Well Strung!
Published on Sunday, 14 August 2011

5 stars

Udderbelly's Pasture (venue website)
3-14, 16-28 Aug, 3:00pm-4:00pm
Reviewed by Lee Zhao

 Parental Guidance. Parents or guardians should consider the content of this show if children are attending.

I'm going to be a little smug here and say I heard of Worbey and Farrell before they were famous, or at least This Morning famous. Before Phil and Holly, when they were still known as Katzenjammer, I heard one of their piano duet arrangements of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture and thought it brilliantly inventive and wonderfully executed. Happily, the same can be said of their new Fringe show.

This comes as no shock, since the duo of Worbey and Farrell: Well Strung! are both graduates of the Royal College of Music, and probably could both have had accomplished careers as concert pianists. Instead, they turned to comedy and the show they've brought up is listed as such. In case you were not aware, they are a piano duo - meaning two pianists, one piano. Much of the fun Worbey and Farrell have is weaving the four hands together, and indeed, a key part of their show is a projection of a camera filming their hands on the piano so everyone can see their handy pas de deux.

True, there are probably funnier shows out there. That's not to say they aren't funny - both have good delivery and charisma, and there's a cheeky, 1960s comedy duo vibe. It's just by today's standards, their brand of comedy is quite tame, and I've heard some of their classical music based jokes before. I actually believe that in their heart of hearts, Worbey and Farrell are musicians before they are comedians, and they do something quite a lot of classical music comedians don't do: play pieces seriously and in full. On one occasion, during their film music medley, I was actually moved by the music, and I don't think that has ever happened to me before in a supposed comedy show.

Worbey and Farrell take rightful pride in some of their arrangements, and a complete version of their piano duet arrangement of Carnival of the Animals could probably fill a concert hall without any jokes. The comedy is a nice addition, a bit of harmless fun: something the non-classical fan can hook on to. But most importantly, it shows classical music doesn't have to be stuffy to keep its integrity.

Worbey and Farrell: Well Strung! is a rare thing on the Fringe: a show I can recommend to my friends who aren't huge classical music fans, but where I still enjoy the music myself. In my opinion, describing any of their particular gags would spoil the joy... but I will say if you're looking for a free drink, sit in the front row and look keen.

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