The Philharmonic of Wit (2 stars)

This article is from 2014.

The Philharmonic of Wit

Polish symphonic comedy troupe leave a lot to be desired in uneven and stilted show

There is more whimsy than wit in this uneven show from Poland's leading/only symphonic comedy troupe. While I can't deny the exceptional talent of the nineteen-piece orchestra, their hokey comedy shtick leaves a lot to be desired.

It's a pity, as their fluid marriage of classical, pop and traditional European music is occasionally quite infectious. But everything else about the show is curiously stilted. Even allowing for the fact that pianist and compère Waldemar Malicki is performing in a second language, his patience-testing monologues suck the energy from the room. He's deadpan and droll to the point of torpor.

Their humour is also far too reliant on incongruous juxtaposition, e.g. a white-haired conductor rocking out on electric bass, and an operatic tenor singing Real 2 Real's I Like to Move It. And what's with the casual sexism? While the men are dressed in semi-formal attire, the female string section wear glamorous outfits while being treated as a sexy novelty.

This dubious element reaches its nadir when a demure violinist strips down to a leather bodice and hot-pants to roar through AC/DC's Highway to Hell, leaving an acrid odeur de 1980s holiday camp in her wake. Embarrassing.

Venue 150 @ EICC, 0844 847 1639, until 24 Aug (not 21), 6:30pm, £12--£14.

Philharmonic of Wit

  • 2 stars

Filharmonia Dowcipu Philharmonic of Wit turns the classics you know and love upside down in this wacky, witty, sexy show created by the most talented instrumentalists and vocalists. The greatest operatic and symphonic hits sound as if they had been composed today, 'drowned in an unusual arrangement of ideas, sounds…


1. Rorus12 Aug 2014, 12:01pm Report


This is a fun and light-hearted show which is exactly what the festival is all about - clearly Paul Whitelaw is a grumpy little man.

2. Richard Feynman15 Aug 2014, 7:41pm Report


I agree with you, this review is not a good one in my opinion! This group are brilliant :)

3. Cathie Grandison16 Aug 2014, 4:45pm Report

I totally disagree with Paul Whitelaws revue. We thoroughly enjoyed this show which was meant as a taster of the talent and versatility of the Orchestra . It was fresh, different and highly entertaining. We left feeling really uplifted.
We hope this will not be their only visit to Edinburgh.
I would urge as many as possible to buy tickets for what is a jewel in the Fringe's crown. An experience not to be missed.

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