Dance, physical theatre & circus Review: Moscow Boys

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When we picture a string quartet, it’s usually a fairly static affair.

Star rating: ****

Venue: ZOO Southside (82)

But although the four musicians of The Independent Theatre Project have chairs at their disposal, their bottoms rarely make contact with them.

Instead, they pick up their violins, viola and cello (the latter being strapped on) and get busy. By the end of 75 minutes (15 of which could be happily shaved off, but it’s a small complaint) we’re almost as exhausted as they are, having watched such vigorous movement delivered without dropping a note.

A classical music concert filled with such happy foolishness isn’t for everyone, but it’s hard not to get caught up in the performers’ sheer enthusiasm. All four are clearly musicians of merit, but not satisfied with merely plying their craft, the Moscow Boys have created a mayhemic show that never slows. Aside from a few brief moments of chastisement from their imposing conductor, which sends the men scurrying back to their chairs, their buffoonery is indefatigable.

Disappearing behind a curtain, they burst back on to the stage wearing roller skates, wheeling around the stage as they play. Or reappear dressed in an array of silly hats or costumes. In short, you never know what to expect.

The musical repertoire is equally varied, ranging from Russian standards such as The Nutcracker through to musical theatre numbers (Phantom of the Opera) and pop tunes (Justin Timberlake). All of which, remarkably given their physical high jinks, is clear and sharp.

Swapping his violin for a guitar, one of the Boys heads into the audience to serenade a young woman – who later finds herself borne aloft by four sets of arms. Elsewhere in the show, they use each other’s bodies as a climbing frame – but, as always, the music remains note-perfect.

Until 29 August. Today 8:35pm.