The Fabulous Bäckström Brothers

Week four of May and for the first time in a month I leave the theatre aching from laughter. Fair enough, I don’t target comedy shows in my viewing schedule but a few laughs would not go amiss. I was hopeful though that this Finnish trio would hit the mark, after all, this English language version of their hit show is directed by Toby Park and Aitor Basuri of Spymonkey, but not even that could have warned me of the pure, joyous silliness of this Skandi “Road Story” and the talent of these three extraordinary performers.

Jouni and Petri are opera singers and joined on stage by Junkanoo Nykänen who spends much of his time playing a very mobile upright piano. The brothers are on a road trip across America on Route 66 and he joins them. He is finishing his new opera “The God Particle”, Petri is rehearsing for the major role of Seigfried, which they deliver in an hilariously abridged version with Jouni playing most of the other parts, including Wagner himself. Along the way we get a fair slice of silly MOR Americana, physical comedy, musically academic gags and a show stopping take on the YouTube hit “Cup Song” – only this time it’s Stravinsky!

It’s a fabulously silly but complex and demanding idea that in the hands of lesser talents would be destined to fail, but here in the hands of skilled musicians, actors and comedians it triumphs. I left wanting more.

The Old Market

31 May

Andrew Kay


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