A sold out show on it’s opening night at The Butterfly Club; Siblings starring brother and sister duo Mikelangelo and Anushka is a performative insight into the family life of two very charismatic musical performers.
Mikelangelo’s musical talent presents itself early on as the show opens in the intimacy of the Butterfly Club. Anushka’s elegant dress’s alongside Mikeangelo’s striped suit and perfectly coiffed hair doesn’t quite transport the audience back in time but welcomes us into this world. A world which proves to combine family truths with fantastical stories and lace them with dark humour. With simple spot lights accompanied by a disco ball and nothing but instruments and microphones on stage, all in front of a classic red curtain; I felt as though I was watching a kind of cabaret show, but in which time or place I didn’t quite know.
Having been born to an English mother and Croatian father the sibling’s European roots become apparent through their musical styling. A piano, accordion, acoustic guitar and clarinet were used throughout the piece but with never more than two being played at the same time, which made for a stripped back and honest performance. At points if I closed my eyes I could have easily been enjoying a beer in a traditional Croatian tavern listening to locals performing folk songs. Although Siblings highlighted the duo’s shared experiences as a family it also incorporated their differences, even down to their performance style – Mikelangelo ad libs and converses with the audience throughout his songs, whereas Anushka tended to leave hers slightly more open to the audiences imagination. This show has brilliantly combined realism with fantasy in a way that the audience can both relate to the diverse range of themes being presented but also be immersed in a mythical world where things like ‘Nymphs and immaculate conception’ make perfect sense.
However I do feel that the show could have been slightly deeper; there was room in places for more touching and sincere moments which could possibly have come from more specific family stories. I would personally have liked to see some more detail in the performance to really feel as an audience member that the siblings had shared significant parts of their lives with us. That’s also not to say that I didn’t enjoy the quirky dark humour and energy that dominated the show, an energy that I believe can only come from truly playing and thoroughly enjoying the devising of a performance.
I definitely left this show wanting more; great energy from the performers and brilliantly written songs infused with Eastern European culture and mythology make for an interesting and entertaining show. Siblings is running at The Butterfly Club until Sunday 18th Feb, I would recommend checking out this infusion of storytelling, song and alternative comedy.