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pluck
3 October, 2010
New Straits Times
MANIACAL SIDE OF MUSIC
The award-winning trio Pluck, who combine classical music and comedy in their musical silliness showcase, is back.
By Dennis Chua

THE world’s funniest string trio will play with our heartstrings from Wednesday to Oct 23 with a new line-up and a raucous revamp of their original hit Musical Arson. Pluck, the hilariously incompetent musical pyromaniacs, will combine music, comedy and theatre as they weave havoc on popular music spanning the centuries in Musical Arson — Reignited.

Since its inception in 2002, Pluck has created a sub-genre of its own, described as “Mozart meets the Marx Brothers”. Mastering the theatre, cabaret and festival stages, the “musical idiots” spoof musicians from Bach to The Beatles, and challenge the decorum of classical performances.

Pluck has won four international awards and performed at festivals, stadiums, fields and even interviewed the president of Slovenia in a boxing ring. They completed their sixth Edinburgh Fringe Festival last month, and are gearing up for their new show at PJ Live Arts, Jaya One, Petaling Jaya.

Pluck’s current line-up comprises original member Jon Regan (viola) and newcomers Flora Allison (cello/vocals) and Kit Massey (violin). Allison and Massey replace original cellist-vocalist Sian Kadifachi and violinist Adrian Garratt. Pluck was discovered by award-winning director and choreographer Toby Sedgewick whose wife witnessed one of the group’s earlier shows in a London theatre.

Comedian John Fealey also helped the group improvise and devise new materials, and, along the way, they unified different skits and mimes in their shows. The violinist’s character is usually arrogant, while the viola player is dumb and the cellist, sulky and sultry.

Regan says: “Being childish whilst performing classical music is something every member has experienced. Playing for Pluck is just remembering how to be a child.” Allison says: “When we started, someone told us to write material that made us laugh. Generally, we achieved this by drinking a lot of tea. “Once an idea is formed, it’s a matter of adjusting the timing of both the comedic elements and the music.” Massey says: “It’s generally a case of slowing the joke down and cutting the music. Playing an instrument involves quite a lot of the brain and body so there are a number of limitations. “If only our legs were funnier!” While developing new content is an ongoing effort, Regan says there are not many composers or works they consider beyond mockery. “Indeed the opposite — the better the piece of music, the easier it is to ruin!” Regan studied music at Exeter University and conducting at Trinity College of Music, London. He conducts the Dorking Philharmonia in Surrey.

Allison has been playing the cello since she was seven and studied at the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama, graduating in 2006. She has performed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Massey learnt to play the violin at six and studied at Trinity.

BELOW IS AN INTERVIEW WITH PLUCK.
Were you in any musical troupe before joining Pluck?
Jon: I played in a couple of orchestras but nothing serious. I was training to be a school teacher.
Kit: I played in Chile for a year with the Orchestra Philharmonia De Santiago.
Flora: I formed a duo with The Highgate Duo (pianist), and we performed sellout shows of tango music.

Why the name Pluck?
J: It’s a string instrument technique. In slightly dated English, it means courage.

Besides Pluck, do you have solo performances or star in films and television shows?
J: Kit and I have both appeared as body doubles on TV. Flora made her TV debut in a nappy commercial for Pampers!

Have you always wanted to do comedy?
J: No, I don’t think any of us thought much about doing comedy before Pluck. We’re all musicians first but enjoy a joke and being silly.

Who are your greatest comedic heroes?
F: Bill Bailey, because of the way he combines music and comedy.
K: Rowan Atkinson. He’s a complete comedian.
J: Stand-up comedian Daniel Kitson.

Kit and Flora, tell us how you made your way into the group.
F: When Sian decided she was going to have a baby, Pluck decided to hold auditions for someone to replace her. A few friends e-mailed me with the ad and thought it would be perfect for me.
K: During my audition with Pluck, I was asked to mime and dance to an Abba track.

Tickets: RM44, RM55, RM66 and RM77. Time: 10am and 8pm (Monday to Friday) and 11am, 2pm and 8pm (Saturday). Call 012-269 0375.