Decomposed! My Brother's Turning into a Zombie (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

Decomposed! My Brother's Turning into a Zombie

Photo: Steve Ullathorne

Funny, horror-themed kids' classical music show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Finding a way in to classical music for children is an endless challenge. The misconception that it’s boring and meant exclusively for old people is a genuine hurdle the genre has to leap.

So it’s refreshing to find the Classical Mayhem company taking a new and innovative approach to introducing younger audiences to this style of music. And despite the odd well-placed fart gag and numerous zombie references, the show never dumbs down or patronises.

Returning from a rehearsal one night, a pompous and arrogant conductor finds himself locked out of his own house. Forced to return to his former family home, and the bedroom he used to share with his brother, the conductor re-connects with his sibling and learns a little humility along the way.

Which sounds like a heart-warming story – and it is – but there are plenty of laughs dotted along his journey of discovery. Much is made of the brothers’ polar opposite personalities, clothing and ideas about tidiness (helped in no small part by the fact Classical Mayhem are themselves identical twins).

Some of this is acted out, other sections are sung, with witty lyrics stitched to famous pieces of classical music and delivered in fine operetta style.

There’s also a real, and infectious, love of music at play here, cleverly disguised beneath the brothers’ supposed contempt for it. As the show progresses, the audience is reminded just how much of this music creeps into our everyday lives, effecting our emotions along the way.

Well-written, well-performed and with a perfect balance of smart dialogue that grown-ups will love, and enough silly, zombie chat for the kids, Decomposed is what classical music has been waiting for.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 11.15am, £7–£8.50 (£6–£7.50).

Decomposed! My Brother's Turning into a Zombie

  • 4 stars

The Pleasance and Classical Mayhem Decomposed is a brilliantly moving play, told in a very silly way! This is miraculous musical mayhem at its most marvellous! Identical twins, a zombie and a soundtrack of the world's greatest classical music recorded by the world-class London Symphony Orchestra. Fate has deemed fit to…