To say that Peter Schickele’s presentation of PDQ Bach’s music was a tongue in cheek show, really rings true, as that was the only way he could make those particular mouth noises. This show, a farce, or more, a parody of classical music review has a broad appeal. From the slightly vaudevillian intro, a theme held throughout the first act, to the second act where the professor character is tossed aside to get down to a pleasant, humorous and critically excellent musical review of Schickele’s lifelong passion for slightly odd music, a vastly enjoyable evening was to be had at the Long Center last night.
Schickele is clearly a man comfortable with an audience as he plays them (us) every bit as well as he does the piano. The rapport between Shickele and the audience is built with every segue between the blatantly light hearted psuedo-classical pieces. His team of singers, Brian Dougherty and Michele Eaton are consummate at their tasks as well as good exhibitionists bringing the laughs right along with their leader. Dougherty performs with comic timing and exuberance that well compliments his delightful tenor pieces. Particularly, in the German-English hybrid language, an invention of Schickele, that Dougherty performs, he must be commended on the ability to maintain his singing grace and poise as the words are so ridiculously funny, it has to be a challenge to keep a straight face, let alone sing it! Eaton’s fabulous singing ability is a sweet joy to hear between the tenor of Dougherty and the raspy funk sound of Schickele. All in all, PDQ Bach and Peter Schickele was a fabulous evening that pushes out the sour workaday world and encourages a slight bit of silly in everyone.
by john medberry