Misha’s Gang, The Russian Sting Orchestra directed by Misha Rachlevsky performing at theSpace @ Surgeons’ Hall is one of the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe and one of its big success stories. For anyone out there that still clings to the outdated concept that the official Edinburgh International Festival is somehow culturally superior to the far larger and more anarchistic Edinburgh Festival Fringe, then this show will make you reconsider your cultural parameters.
Misha’s Gang is a show designed for the Edinburgh Fringe which sees Misha Rachlevsky take “Misha’s Gang” into the sheer performance energy that is the heart of the Fringe and explore with The Russian String Orchestra performance formats that might not be possible in other venues or festivals. Part of this freedom is what would be a daunting task to many – “A different performance every day”. Add into that that all musicians are expected to be able to perform as a part of the orchestra or “on audience demand at times” as solo performers. There is even a special show this Saturday that takes the format of all 14 musicians competing against one another in a competition style format.
The Russian String orchestra was founded in 1991 and is composed of some of Russia’s finest young string players. If anyone has any doubt to the depth of musical ability in this group just do a few basic Google searches on them and Mischa Rachlevsky himself. To even get into Misha’s gang you have to be very very good and someone very special musically.
The performances are changing every day, and there is in their programme an impressively large selection of music in their repertoire, so reviewing what was played today at this show will simply be out of date by the time you read this review. Misha’s Gang is simply a 14 piece string orchestra of the highest musical talents level and if there are any tickets left for any of their remaining shows, try and get one.
Review by Tom King