Taking Their Bows

Get thee fast to the Miller Theater and the Gogmagogs' show, Gobbledygook (a title that insults the group's range and talent). The Gogs, as they're best known at home in London, got together in 1995; violinist Nell Catchpoll and director Lucy Bailey wanted to develop stage skills to go along with their musical techniques. Gobbledygook, the newest of their several shows, uses words for the first time. The pieces' authors are Caryl Churchill, Rupert Sheldrake, Patrick Barlow, and Neil Innes; the composers—who evoke pop, jazz, Bartók, and Shostakovich—are Roddy Skeaping, Orlando Gough, Django Bates, and Innes.

The show's four acts interrupt one another, as in a TV channel surf. In the first, a violin bow, the violin, and violinist slowly emerge from a cello-case-as-womb—then life erupts. The evening's most sustained act is a Requiem mass that counterpoints bass player Lucy Shaw's jilting of David Lasserson (peppery comedians both) and their rocky reunion. At the end, after romance and farce are exhausted, poetic stagecraft takes over. The scene blacks out and the seven string players' bows light up like amused stars, one of them twitching slightly to pluck the musical close. —Leighton Kerner

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