Mikelangelo & The Black Sea Gentlemen
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Mikelangelo & The Black Sea Gentlemen

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The gypsy cabaret troupe returns to the Fringe once more to assault audiences with their riotous mix of songs, storytelling and sinful behaviour. This year, the Balkan-styled, Australia-based five-piece have pitched up to promote their new album, Dead Men Tell a Thousand Tales, a collection of typically blackly comic songs that swing between gallows humour and wanton lust and passion.
It’s on stage, however, that the band really comes alive. They’re a motley crew of finely realised characters fronted by louse lothario Mikelangelo (baritone vocals and guitar) and featuring ratty Rufino the Catalan Casanova (violin), the Sphinx-like Great Muldavio (clarinet), handsome homicidal maniac Ivan (double bass) and solemn, Golem-like Guido Libido (piano accordion). An incorrigible braggart, Mikelangelo dominates the show with his booming voice, hulking presence and penchant for leaping into the audience to satiate his much-advertised sexual desires. But the rest of the band members all get their individual moments in the spotlight, too, telling their variously tragic tales and singing their songs of woe.
The energy and humour that drives the performance is highly infectious and constantly amusing, but beyond that Mikeangelo and his black-clad gents are seriously superb musicians. Regularly switching vocal duties and instrumentation (one balmy tune is performed on recorder, pennywhistle and marching drum), they play ballads and barnstormers with fine finesse and great gusto as required — and as exemplified during the opening number, ‘Dancing at the Devil’s Wedding’, and the closing one, ‘Sodomy is Not Just for Animals’. During the hour or so in between we’re treated to all kinds of odd diversions both musical (the spaghetti western soundtrack ‘Ten Long Years in the Saddle (Waiting for Death to Come)’) and comic (Mikelangelo’s discourse on the use of hair pomade in different continents around the world). Long may these deliciously dark gentlemen continue to stage their devilish cabaret.
- The List


The incorrigible Mikelangelo is back from his own personal Transylvania to show that being a Black Sea gentleman is a state of mind. He and his troupe may come over as the spookiest funeral band in the Balkans but they can just as easily be Tombstone's answer to the Keystone Cops, stars of their own polenta western.

Not so much High Noon as High 4pm, no, make that 3pm - Guido Libido, the accordionist, can't count - this latest extravaganza continues Mikelangelo's fascination with death, body parts and the devil, with much dark hilarity and knowingly preposterous posturing.

To the strains of a Death Valley harmonica, an eerie voice warns of dangerous strangers. A fife and drum band marches through corpses and the wounded. Skeletons dance a mambo and our hero is refused a beer because he has forgotten to dismount on entering Rufino's cantina after 10 long years in the saddle.
Their best show yet, it's superbly staged and well worth the risk of being clambered over by a man wearing anything-for-a-dare swimming trunks.
- The Herald


I set off for Mikelangelo & the Black Sea Gentlemen and emerged, a sweaty hour later, with a newfound appreciation of moobs. If that’s not a five star achievement, what is? I worried that the five Australian musicians pretending to be Balkan minstrels would prove to be a sub-par Gogol Bordello act. Was I ever wrong!
Barrel-shaped ringleader, Mikel Simic, has a voice of operatic grandeur, capable of moving in many directions to suit the material. And that material’s hilariously over the top – all sex and death and death and sex. Achingly beautiful tunes are paired to the most bonkers lyrics. One song appears to be about skeletons languishing on a beach beside a sea of blood that’s washing up internal organs.Each of the accomplished musicians – who play everything from wind instruments to the standing bass – gets a solo turn, and each in his own way charms and excels.
But the star is surely Mikel, who regularly leaps into the audience to caress and kiss them. And Mikel returned for their rousing finale wearing an old-fashioned, belted swimming costume, jiggling his moobs with pride and not a little glee. It was dead sexy. They’re divine!
- The Scotsman


Discography

Albums:
Mikelangelo & The Black Sea Gentlemen,
Journey Through The Land Of Shadows'
Dead MenTell A Thousand Tales.

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Bio

Mikelangelo & The Black Sea Gentlemen have pushed the boundaries of cabaret and music theatre throughout their career, creating a rich and compelling world on stage and in recorded works.
The group features Mikelangelo on lead vocals and guitar, Rufino the Catalan Casanova on violin, The Great Muldavio on clarinet, Guido Libido on piano accordion and Little Ivan on double bass. As an ensemble they create layered musical arrangements, sharp on stage choreography and engaging characters.
Over a ten year career M&BSG have written and toured 3 albums and 5 different shows receiving rave reviews from Edinbugh to Alice Springs.